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Earth Sciences Guide


About the guide

This guide provides links to resources for Earth Sciences students and is designed to make navigation quick and efficient.  Quality navigation is critical! It does save you time and effort. If you need help finding information or would like to suggest resources that need to be included in this guide, please contact one of the librarians listed on the side.

Off-campus access to library electronic resources: use UNB proxy server or UNB VPN Client

Off-campus access to Google Scholar: use the link or go to Google Scholar and follow the steps below:

  • click the three lines in the top left corner
  • click Settings
  • click Library Links
  • Search for 'University of New Brunswick', check the box next to the results, and save your settings.

Information sources

Adapted from UC San Diego guide


The primary sources are where original research is reported. A primary source gives you direct access to the subject of your research. Over time, this information makes its way into secondary sources, while the tertiary sources are the resources used to search for primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are more credible as evidence, however, good research practice is to use both primary and secondary sources. 



When searching for journal articles, an indexing and abstracting database is usually the best place to begin. Below are some recommended databases for research in Geology. For other databases, check the Article Databases tab of the library website.

Key Resources

  • Scopus
    Scopus, a multidisciplinary online resource, will be invaluable to students and faculty in various fields of study within the sciences, health sciences and the social sciences. Scopus offers full-text linking, abstracting-and-indexing information including peer-reviewed titles from international publishers, Open Access journals, conference proceedings, trade publications, quality web sources.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Earth, Atmospheric, & Aquatic Science Database (ProQuest)
    The Earth, Atmospheric, & Aquatic Science Database is an interdisciplinary resource of quality, curated A&I combined with full-text content from scholarly journals, trade journals, conference proceedings, and other sources. The coverage extends Meteorological & Geoastrophysical Abstracts (MGA) by providing a sizable element of full-text access along with comprehensive discovery through the extensive abstracts and indexes structured using controlled vocabulary managed by expert editorial teams. For coverage of aquatic science, the collection features the entire range of bibliographic records from Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA).

    Content Types: Scholarly Journals, Trade Journals, Books, Conference Papers and Proceedings, Government & Official Publications, Magazines, Newspapers, Other Sources, Reports, Tables, Wire Feeds, Working Papers, Video and Audio.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • GeoRef
    GeoRef "covers worldwide technical literature on geology and geophysics."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Academic Search Premier (EBSCO)
    Academic Search Premier is a multidisciplinary resource that "provides journal coverage for most academic areas of studies."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • GeoScan
  • Inspec (Engineering Village)
    "Inspec is the world’s leading bibliographic database, providing comprehensive access to the world's scientific and technical literature in physics, electrical engineering, electronics, communications, control engineering, computers, computing, information technology, manufacturing, production and mechanical engineering. First published in 1898 as the Scientific Abstracts, Inspec now contains close to 10 million bibliographic records taken from more than 3850 scientific and technical journals and 2200 conference proceedings, as well as numerous books, reports, dissertations and patents, many with full-text linking."
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • IEEE Xplore Digital Library (Current & Archive)
    The IEEE Xplore Digital Library is a powerful resource for discovery and access to both current and archival scientific and technical content published by IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and its publishing partners. This resource provides Web access to almost 3-million full-text documents from some of the world's most highly cited publications in electrical engineering, computer science and electronics, including:
    IEEE journals, transactions, and magazines, including early access documents
    IEEE conference proceedings
    IET journals
    IET conference proceedings
    IEEE published standards
    IEEE Standards Dictionary Online
    Note: limited to 10 simultaneous users.

    10 simultaneous users.
  • Science Direct
    Science Direct offers comprehensive coverage of literature across all fields of science, medicine and technology. All previous ScienceDirect journal collections have been merged into this single collection, along with select purchased eBook titles.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.
  • Google Scholar
    Google Scholar searches a subset of the Web that Google has classified as "scholarly literature". They do not publish a list of chosen sites, and they do not state how often sites are checked. Some important sources are not covered at all. Thus, Google Scholar alone should not be relied on for comprehensive research.
    Unlimited simultaneous users.

Selected Journal Collections

Journal Abbreviations

Sometimes when working with journal articles and citations you will need to know either the full title for an abbreviation or having the full title, you will need to provide a recognized authoritative abbreviation.

Books and Reports

Searching for books at UNB Libraries

To search for materials not held by UNB Libraries, try World Cat or select from our list of other library catalogues. Books and other materials not available at UNB may be available for loan from another institution through our document delivery service. See the document delivery page for electronic request forms and more details.

Search UNB WorldCat:
Limit to: 


Browse the shelves for books in Forestry at the Science & Forestry Library (Fredericton) or Hans W. Klohn Commons (Saint John), using these ranges:

QE 1-350 General, including geographical divisions
QE 351-399.2 Mineralogy
QE 420-499 Petrology
QE 500-639.5 Dynamic and structural geology
QE 521-545 Volcanoes and earthquakes
QE 601-613.5 Structural geology
QE 640-699 Stratigraphy
QE 701-760 Paleontology
QE 760.8-899.2 Paleozoology
QE 901-996.5 Paleontology

Searching for government documents

For those government documents which are available online, try using Google Custom Search (follow the link below).



Looking for more? Try the Government Resources by Jurisdiction link (once you are on the webpage, scroll down to see links to all resources), or contact the Government Documents staff for assistance. 

Searching for reports, departmental publications, etc. 

Try the Federal Science Library (FSL) information hub. The Federal Science Library (FSL) is a one-stop, self-serve portal where you can access library services and search the print collections and repositories of seven science-based departments and agencies from a single place. Wherever possible, departmental publications, reports, data sets, and other content are freely available for anyone to access or download.

Geology Survey & Other Resources

When researching a new topic it is often helpful to get an overview, explanations of unfamiliar terms, or brief factual information. The print and electronic resources listed below include selected reference materials (dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, guides, and standards) for the field of Earth Sciences. To find additional reference materials, check UNB WorldCat (the library catalogue) or our Reference Materials database.

Key Resources

  • Dictionary of earth sciences, A
    "Oxford's fully up-to-date Dictionary of Earth Sciences is authoritative and wide-ranging with coverage of topics including climatology, economic geology, geochemistry, oceanography, palaeontology, petrology, and volcanology. There are entries on planetary science, remote sensing, statistics, and sequence stratigraphy, wind strength scales, material, temporal, and chronostratigraphic units, geologic, lunar, and Martian time scales."
    5 simultaneous users.
  • Encyclopedia of Earth Science Research

    This book presents current research in the study of earth science. Topics discussed include the formation of the lithosphere; the fate of subducted oceanic crust and the origin of intraplate volcanism; deformable lithospheric plates; cosmogenic nuclides and geomorphology; geomorphic adjustment, geographic context and disturbances; erosion and sediment yield; paleomagnetic evidence for Siberian plate tectonics; dune ecosystems; the geology of sand dunes and improving water regimes of loamy sand for wheat cultivation by adding silt loam.

  • Dictionary of Geophysics, Astrophysics and Astronomy

    The Dictionary of Geophysics, Astrophysics, and Astronomy provides a lexicon of terminology covering fields such as astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, relativity, geophysics, meteorology, Newtonian physics, and oceanography. Authors and editors often assume - incorrectly - that readers are familiar with all the terms in professional literature. With over 4,000 definitions and 50 contributing authors, this unique comprehensive dictionary helps scientists to use terminology correctly and to understand papers, articles, and books in which physics-related terms appear.

  • Encyclopedia of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism

    Consisting of more than 300 articles written by ca 200 leading experts, this authoritative reference encompasses the entire fields of Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism in a single volume. It describes in fine detail at an assessable level the state of the current knowledge and provides an up-to-date synthesis of the most basic concepts. As such, it will be an indispensable working tool not only for geophysicists and geophysics students but also for geologists, physicists, atmospheric and environmental scientists, and engineers.

  • Cambridge Handbook of Earth Science Data

    "This handbook presents an indispensable compilation of fundamental facts and figures about the Earth. It brings together reliable physical, chemical, biological and historical data in a series of 145 easy to read tables, supplemented by maps, charts and color plates. Eleven sections cover topics spanning the Earth's geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere, with one section focusing on other bodies in the Solar System. Full references for the original data sources are provided to enable users to access further detail, and the appendix provides practical information on units and conversion factors. Compact and easy to use, this handy book provides a time-saving first point of reference for researchers, students and practitioners in the Earth and Environmental Sciences. It allows scientists easy access to basic information on topics outside their specialization, and is also a convenient resource for non-scientists such as economists, policy makers and journalists."--Jacket. 

  • Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science

    Quaternary science is a multidisciplinary subject focused on the nature and causes of changes to Earth's environment over the last approximately 2.6 million years. Subjects include archaeology, the atmosphere, biology, botany, climatology, ecology, entomology, geochronology, geography, geology, geomorphology, geophysics, glaciology, hydrogeology, isotope geochemistry, limnology, oceanology, molecular genetics, paleoceanography, paleoecology, paleontology, palynology, planetary geology, soil science/pedology, structural geology/neotectonics, volcanology, and zoology. Scientists in the discipline attempt to understand past environmental changes in order to more accurately predict future changes that may have a profound effect on society. The goals of the editor of this four-volume encyclopedia--to provide authoritative and comprehensive coverage of the subject, to emphasize the interconnectedness of the science, and to make the information of value to all levels--are admirably fulfilled.

    The work totals 3,365 pages, and each major topic is edited by an authority in the field. Articles are written by more than 380 authorities from around the world. The encyclopedia is well structured with an introductory section followed by alphabetically arranged subjects. Points of reference include a contents list by subject, an alphabetical contents list at the front of each volume, and an index at the end of volume 4. The "Contents List by Subject" has some page number errors. A full list of contributors is included at the beginning of each volume. The numerous illustrations, most in color, are clear and support the text. Entries are cross-referenced and accompanied by impressive lists of references, most of which are very current. Summing Up: Essential. All levels. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Two-year Technical Program Students; Professionals/Practitioners. Reviewed by L. Joseph. From: Syndetics Solutions, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Treatise on Geochemistry

    Encompassing 10 volumes, 32 centimeters of shelf space, and 5,596 pages, this massive reference set provides a comprehensive overview of the science of geochemistry. Individual volumes are edited by respected authorities, and the authors of individual chapters are reputable as well. What results is a set describing a wide range of subdisciplines in this important science--everything from the solar system to biogeochemistry. Topics treated in each volume are meteorites comets, and planets (v. 1); the mantle and core (v. 2); the crust (v. 3); the atmosphere (v. 4); surface and groundwater, weathering, and soils(v. 5); the oceans and marine geochemistry (v. 6); sediments, diagenesis, and sedimentary rocks (v. 7); biogeochemistry (v. 8); and environmental geochemistry (v. 9). Volume 10 is a comprehensive index. Also, each individual volume has its own index and a detailed table of contents. The layout is very functional. Illustrations (grayscale as well as full color) are plentiful and of fine quality. The overall price will probably limit the set to academic libraries, where it will serve usefully for both students seeking an entree to the subject and established workers seeking a summary of the state of knowledge. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. Upper-division Undergraduates; Graduate Students; Researchers/Faculty; Professionals/Practitioners. Reviewed by I. D. Sasowsky. From: Syndetics Solutions, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.

  • Geotechnical engineering investigation handbook

    "The Geotechnical Engineering Investigation Handbook provides the tools necessary for fusing geological characterization and investigation with critical analysis for obtaining engineering design criteria. Updating this pioneering reference for the 21st century, this second edition reflects the technological developments that have occurred in the 20 years since the first edition was published. By using a practical approach to problem solving, this book helps engineers consider geological phenomena in terms of the degree of their hazard and the potential risk of their occurrence."--Jacket.

  • GEOLEX Geological Names Lexicon (USGS)
  • Lexicon of Canadian Geological Names

    This site provides information about over 16,000 published geological names used in Canada. The names are from several sources, now stored in a single database. The names are of two types: lithological units and chronological units. The lexicon is a "living" database; some names remain to be added, others are incompletely described, and many descriptions require updating.

  • Materials Handbook: A Concise Desktop Reference

    The unique and practical Materials Handbook (second edition) provides quick and easy access to data on the physical and chemical properties of all classes of materials. The second edition has been much expanded to include whole new families of materials while many of the existing families are broadened and refined with new material and up-to-date information. Particular emphasis is placed on the properties of common industrial materials in each class.

  • Modern biological and earth sciences
    This volume looks at the history of the life and earth sciences since 1800. It provides comprehensive surveys of historical thinking on major developments in these areas of science, on the social and cultural milieus in which the knowledge was generated, and on the wider impact of the major theoretical and practical innovations.
    Unlimited simultaneous users
  • Handbook of Natural Zeolites

    Handbook of Natural Zeolites provides a comprehensive and updated summary of all important aspects of natural zeolites science and technology. The e-book contains four sections covering the relevant scientific background, established technologies, recent discoveries and future perspectives. All 28 chapters in this handbook are presented by highly respected scientists and leaders in natural zeolites science and include extensive references.

Additional Resources

Government Survey Sites

The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) is part of the Earth Sciences Sector of Natural Resources Canada. The GSC is Canada’s oldest scientific agency and one of its first government organizations. It was founded in 1842 to help develop a viable Canadian mineral industry by establishing the general geological base on which the industry could plan detailed investigations. 

GeoGratis - free maps, data, tools, as well as publications from the Government of Canada. 

Toporama - the Atlas of Canada   toporama

While there is a wealth of information freely available on the internet, not all sites are created equal. Careful evaluation is a critical part of doing research on the Internet. Below are some recommended sites:

Theses and Dissertations

What is a thesis?

A thesis or dissertation is an original document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. (International Standard ISO 7144: Documentation-Presentation of theses and similar documents

In Canada and the US, a thesis is a project that marks the end of a Master's (MSc) program, while the dissertation is produced at the end of a doctoral (Ph.D.) program. In some universities, however, a dissertation and a thesis are seen as the same thing. 

Finding a thesis and dissertation 






Use the following sites to browse theses and dissertations from around the world: 

Citing Sources

Accurate, properly formatted footnotes, reading lists, and bibliographies are hallmarks of good academic research. Through citing, you acknowledge the source of any ideas you mention in your writing, document the "pedigree" of your research, and provide the information your readers need to track down your sources.

Numerous citation styles exist, and each specifies what elements are required (title, author, journal name, etc.) and how the citation should be formatted. The standard citation style for Earth Sciences is American Geophysical Union (AGU) Style, but others are often used as well, including APA, a standard citation style that originated in the social sciences (initially psychology), but is now used widely, across disciplines, including within the sciences. Your instructor may require or recommend that you use a style other than AGU or APA.

Consult your course syllabus or check with your instructor to be sure of using the correct citation style for your assignment.

Also note that most of the library's article and book databases (eg., Scopus, WorldCat, Academic Search Premier, etc.) automatically produce individual citations or lists of references in many standard styles, such as APA. Look for the "cite" option each database. (But note as well that these, like other non-library automatic citation methods never get citations 100% correct!)

Zotero and  Mendeley are popular citation management programs that can help you manage your references and can produce bibliographies in hundreds of styles. Watch the video on How to Use Mendeley Desktop (UNB users only) or explore the Mendeley Reference Manager guide to learn how to use the program.  

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Subject Specialties:
physics, chemistry, biology, biophysics, biochemistry, medical biophysics, engineering, mathematics, computer science, geology, forestry