The modem geological sciences are characterized by extraordinarily rapid prog ress, as well as by the development and application of numerous new and refined methods, most of them handling an enormous amount of data available from all the continents and oceans. Given this state of affairs, it searns inevitable that rnany students and profes sionals tend to become experts in relatively narrow fields and thereby are in danger of losing a broad view of current knowledge. The abundance of new books and symposium volumes testifies to this trend toward specialization. However, many geologie processes are complex and result from the interaction of many, seemingly unrelated, individual factors. This signifies that we still need generalists who have the broad overview and are able to evaluate the great variety of factors and pro ces ses controlling a geologie system, such as a sedimentary basin. In addition, this also means that cooperation with other disciplines in the natural sciences and engi neering is increasingly important. Modem text books providing this broad overview of the earth sciences are rare.