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Article Contents

ABSTRACT

1.INTRODUCTION

2.OBSERVED PROPERTIES OF GMCs
2.1.GMCs and Star Formation
2.2.GMCs as a Component of the Interstellar Medium
2.3.Statistical Properties of GMCs
2.4.Dimensionless Numbers: Virial Parameter and Mass to Flux Ratio
2.5.GMC Lifetimes
2.6.Star Formation Rates and Efficiencies
2.7.GMCs in Varying Galactic Environments

3.GMC FORMATION
3.1.Localized Converging Flows
3.2.Spiral-Arm Induced Collisions
3.3.Gravitational Instability
3.4.Magneto-Jeans Instability
3.5.Parker Instability
3.6.Conversion of H to H2, and C+ to CO

4.STRUCTURE, EVOLUTION, AND DESTRUCTION
4.1.GMC Internal Structure
4.2.Origin of Nonthermal Motions
4.3.Mass Loss and Disruption

5.REGULATION OF STAR FORMATION IN GMCs
5.1.Regulation Mechanisms
5.2.Connection Between Local and Global Scales

6.LOOKING FORWARD
6.1.Observations
6.2.Simulations and theory

REFERENCES