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132 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

A typical source rockof oil, which started out as mud in which dead organic matter settled,

is shale

The oil window is therelatively narrow range of temperatures in which oil can form


Oil forms because algaeand plankton decomposed under conditions of

heat, pressure, andlow oxygen

Natural gas burnsmore cleanly than..

oil does

Coal develops in the following order:


lignite (low rank coal)

bituminous coal (mid-rank coal)

anthracite (high rank coal) - develops at a depth along mountain belt borders where temperatures reach300°C

Formation of Coal

Macroscopic organicmaterial (leaves, stems, trunks) of swampy areas undergoes heat and pressure inan oxygen-poor environment over a geologically long time.


Coal in the western United States is of Carboniferous age, and coal in the Midwest is of Cretaceous age.

Large oil fields contain such great quantities of oil because they’ve developed from the largest dinosaurs.

Green plants produce food through photosynthesis, which is the combination of oxygen and chlorophyll to yield carbon dioxide and water.

Tunnel collapse and methane gas explosion are still dangers of underground coal mining; fortunately, black lung disease has been eliminated by use of a vaccine.

Coal is considered a renewable resource because it’s currently forming in swamps.

Strip mining can bedone economically down to a depth of

about 100m

Coal couldn’t formuntil

vascular land plantsbecame abundant

Underground coal miningis dangerous because

of possible tunnel collapse and possible methane gas explosions.

Oil shale..

(False- wasn’t discovered until the 1980s, when the price of oil was very high.)

contains kerogen, which is a precursor to oil, when heated to 500°C yields liquid oil and gas

is currently not an economic fuel source due to the high costs of mining, reclamation, and producing energy to process the shale

can be burned directly and has been used as a fuel since ancient times.

Coal bed methane is atype of natural gas

(False- willhave to be mined from extremely deep mines.)

bonded to the carbonmolecules of coal poses a serious risk of explosion.

trapped in deep layersbelow current mining levels is a possible future energy resource.

is held inplace in deep strata by the natural water pressure there.

Acquiring and usingenergy resources can damage the environment.

For example, coalburning produces carbon dioxide gas, which contributes to the greenhouse effectand global warming.

coal burning produces sulfur dioxide, which combines withatmospheric water to produce sulfuric acid, which leads to acid rain.

oildrilling can damage land, and oil spills have polluted land, groundwater, andsurface water.

nuclear power requires disturbing land and using energy in orderto extract uranium from soil or rock ore.

The largest oilreserves in the world are in

countries around the Persian Gulf.

Drag lines are usedin strip mining operations both to

remove overlying soiland rock from the coal seams and to replace topsoil after the mining is done.

Experts believe it ishighly probable that humans will have exhausted all usable quantities of oil by

the year 2150.

The search for anenergy source to replace oil is complicated by

a fear of nuclearenergy and the desire that new sources be economical, environmentally friendly,and clean

The Oil Age we livein has a limited future because

known reserves are diminishing fast andcurrent consumption exceeds the rate of discovery of new oil by a factor of 3

Withdrawal ofgroundwater faster than natural recharge occurs has caused

extreme landsubsidence in the San Joaquin Valley, California.

Groundwater typicallymoves

slowly within theground through porous rock layers like sandstone.

Groundwatercontaminants such as...

may originate..

sulfur, iron, calciumcarbonate, and methane

originatewithin rock or sediment through which groundwater flows.

In an area of rolling hills..

(not- sometimes parallel to the slope of the water table and sometimes straight down, but never upward.)

groundwater moves from where the water table is at a high elevation to where the water table is at a low elevation.

from regions under hills to regions under valleys.

along a curved path.

under the influence of both gravity and pressure differences.


(not- when rockdevelop joints or faults)

with increasing depth of the rock layer.

as sediment is changed to sedimentary rock.

with increasing compaction of sediments or rock.

with the cementing of sediments by mineral grains from groundwater.



transmitwater easily

transmit water poorly or not at all.

The permeability of arock depends on

the number, size, andstraightness of available conduits.

Cork is

very porous but veryimpermeable

Water moves upward inthe capillary fringe due to

electrostatic attraction between its moleculesand mineral surfaces.

The water table

may be defined by the surface of a permanent stream, lake, or marsh.

becomes a downward-pointing, cone-shaped surface around the bottom of a well.

lies within a few meters of the surface in humid areas.

mimics the topography of the land it underlies.

The chief source ofgroundwater is


The water table of an area goes down as

more wells are established there

The slope of thewater table is called

the hydraulicgradient.

The water tablefluctuates as

the amount of precipitation changes.

The rate ofgroundwater flow depends on

thepermeability of the material it flows through and on the hydraulic gradient.

Darcy’s law is..

(not- is amethod to determine the degree of saturation of water at any specified depth.)

an equation used byhydrologists.

states that discharge equals the hydraulic conductivitycoefficient times the hydraulic gradient times the area involved.

takes intoaccount the permeability of the rock and the viscosity of the fluid.

can beused to decide practical issues, such as whether sufficient groundwater existsto supply a city’s needs.

Dissolved ions ingroundwater

(not- aremore abundant in young groundwater than in old groundwater, which has precipitatedout most of its ions over time.)

can create hard water, rich in calcium andmagnesium.

can precipitate out as carbonate minerals and clog plumbing pipes.

include iron, which leaves a rusty stain on materials it touches.

can makewater too salty to be used for irrigating crops.

Likely locations ofsprings

interconnectedfractures that open onto a hillside

an impermeable rock layer intersectinga hillside

The lowering of watertables has been a growing problem in the..

U.S. desert southwest

In coastal areas,salt water can

enter an aquifer,float on the fresh water there, and be drawn up in wells

The U.S. federalgovernment once planned to dispose of nuclear wastes in the ground at

Yucca Mountain,Nevada

Naturally occurring clays can slow the spread of groundwater contamination by

eitherchemically trapping them, or because of the low permeability of clays.

Causes for formationof springs?

(not- theintersection of the water table with a recharge area)

where groundwaterflows against a steep impermeable area (such as a healed fault) and hassufficient head to reach the ground surface.

wherea perched water table intersects a land surface.

where a network ofinterconnected fractures transmitting water under sufficient head intersectsthe ground surface.

the intersection of the water table and the ground surfacein a discharge area.

What is the name ofthe thin zone at the top of the water table

capillary fringe

-which may “suck”water molecules upward a few millimeters or centimeters into the unsaturatedzone?

Water underground

(not-usually moves in vast underground rivers called aquifers.)

is subdivided into three categories: soilmoisture, vadose-zone water, and groundwater.

can adhere to soil particles andeventually evaporate back into the atmosphere or be absorbed by plant roots.

partially fills pores in the unsaturated zone (vadose-zone water).

completelyfills pores in the saturated zone (groundwater).

Which of thefollowing does not affect permeability?

the slope of the water table

Affects Permeability?

the degree to which pore spaces are connected to one another.

the number/spacing of connected conduits.

the width (effective diameter) of pore spaces/fracture openings.

the actual length of flow pathways

Hydraulic head is..

Hydraulic gradient is..

is a measure of the potential energy available to drive the flow of groundwater

the change of hydraulic head between two points.

Groundwater may fully saturate the pore spaces of a rock yet
be effectively unable to flow through it.


Primary porosity refers to the largest 10% of pore spaces; secondary porosity refers to the remaining 90% of smaller pores.

A perched water table is one that sits high on a hill rather than low in a valley.

Pore collapse and other effects of a lowered water table can be fixed by several years of rising groundwater.

Soil moisture is precipitation that sinks deep, fills the zone of saturation, and resides there for many decades.

Because sand grains are larger than mud grains, primary porosity is greater in sand than it is in mud.

Groundwater flows upward in a recharge area and downward in a discharge area.

In terms of human usage and availability, groundwater is a renewable resource.

All deserts are


A basin or waterway that sometimes contains water:




(not- bajada)

Deserts reradiate much of their heat back into space at night..

(not- but even then the temperature never goes below freezing.)

because dry desert air doesn’t retain heat well.

because they lack cloud cover, which would act as a blanket and reradiate heat back to Earth.

and thus may have daily ground surface temperature changes of as much as 80°C.

even if they are the hottest of deserts.

Which of the following is a characteristic feature of deserts?

flash floods

Which of the following is a characteristic of all deserts?

little or no vegetation

The subtropics host the world’s largest deserts, including
the Sahara and the Kalahari.
Because of typical convection cell movement in the atmosphere,

(Not- air from the equator spreads north and south, and moisture moisture condenses out of it in latitudes from 20° to 30° north and south of the equator.)

hot, moist air close to the equator rises.

rising air expands and cools.

the cooled dry air sinks and warms.

cooled sinking air absorbs moisture from the area below.

Desert varnish
is a product of chemicalweathering over time.

is a dark, rust-brown surface coatingof iron oxide, manganese oxide, and clay.

happens when bacteria chemicallyalter wind-deposited surface dust.

can be chipped away to createlight-colored petroglyphs

Moderate winds can

(not- raise sand grains several kilometers high and carry them downwind hundreds of kilometers.)

move sand grains by saltation.

create vortices that lift fine sediment as dust devils.

carry sediment as both suspended and bed load.

round and frost sand grains by knocking them together.

Moderate wind can produce faceted rocks called


Which feature might result where wind erosion acts on a resistant rock layer overlying a softer rock layer?


Which term has nothing to do with temporary desert lakes?

(do- halite playas gypsum borax)


Flat-lying sedimentary strata or volcanic rock layers may erode to form isolated structures called
mesas, buttes, and chimneys.
What type of sand dune is shown in the figure below?


The light blue area that stretches between the two black arrows in the photo below is

a bajada

Which type of sand dunes would form where there is abundant sand totally covering the ground surface, and only moderate winds?


Which would be the steepest hike?

up the slip face of a dune

Sand dunes
can migrate downwind more than 25 m in a year.

may be stabilized if they are covered with vegetation.

in cross-sectional view show cross beds of sand.

commonly have ripples on their surfaces.

What ofthese characteristics enhances desert survival?

(not- verysmall ears)

a pattern of nocturnal (night) activity,

minimal sweating

deep tap roots

fleshy stems and leaves

What do the Sahel and the U.S.-Canadian Great Plains of the 1930s have in common?
natural and anthropogenic (human-induced) desertification

A19th-century explorer crossing a desert has run out of water.

He has the best chance of surviving if he can find an ephemeral stream.

Which of thefollowing is a desert LEAST likely tohave?

a location at 10° north latitude

In which ofthe following desert environments would you find the most sand?


Which of thefollowing is NOT the result of winderosion?


Deserts inthe interior of Asia developed as a result of..

distance from oceans

(not- is a natural phenomenon; if left alone, Earth’s climate fluctuations are minor, and deserts and nondeserts remain constant.)

is the process of transforming nondesert areas to desert.

increases with increasing human population.

can be reversed, but huge amounts of water and money are required to do so.

is geologically quick; it can happen within a few decades.

Which of thefollowing has NOTHING to do with the Dust Bowl?

1940s and the wartime water shortage

Continental-interiordeserts exist because..

air masses have traveled so far in getting there that they’ve precipitated most of their moisture along the way, even if they didn’t cross mountains.

Colored rocklayers of Painted Desert, Arizona, result from..

oxidized iron.

Two chemicalcomponents of desert varnish are..

manganese and iron.

It would beeasier to climb to the top of a hogback than to

the top of a chimney.

Uluru(formerly Ayers Rock) in Australia is an

Which of the following events or processes would likely remove a lag deposit?
A flash flood

If you drinklake water from an interior basin, you’ll probably be drinking..

If you drink from a stream thatfeeds the lake, you’ll probably be drinking..

salty water

fresh water

If you’re hiking across an alluvial fan..

If you’re hiking across an entire bajada..

there will be a stream emerging from the mountains on one side of you and plains on the other.

your scenery will be the same, but you’re in for a longer hike.

Which pair of rivers listed below flow through deserts and discharge to seas or oceans?
The Nile & Colorado
Talus aprons are..

and can..

which are triangular accumulations of broken-up rock along the base of cliffs

gradually become coated with desert varnish.


By definition, deserts are areas with 25 cm (10 in.) or less annual rainfall.

The hottest verified Earth temperature was 166°F in Death Valley, California.

Rain-shadow deserts are located on the upwind, coastal sides of mountain ranges because air rises over the mountains and absorbs moisture as it rises.

Most sand dunes migrate upwind.

Desert pavement is a generic term meaning any hard-packed sandy surface.

Glacial ice is ______ in appearance.


Continental glaciers...

(not- never reach seas or oceans.)

move because of the pull of gravity.

spread across the landscape laterally in response to their own weight.

move by gravitational spreading.

move because their basal ice can’t support the weight of their overlying ice.

Erosive glacial features are?

(not- drumlin)


chatter marks

truncated spur

roche moutonnée.

The depth ofa crevasse is limited by the

pressure at which ice begins to deform plastically.
According to Milankovitch, which of the following is a contributing factor to ice-age cycles?
variations in the shape of Earth's orbit
Continental ice sheets today are found only in
Antarctica and Greenland.
Snow that has lost much of its air and has turned into packed, granular material is called
Varieties of moraines..




Large boulders carried long distances by glaciers and dumped where they obviously don’t belong are called..
Glaciers grind down the rock they move over, producing a fine material called rock

Which termhas nothing to do with glaciers?

lag deposits

Glaciers canmove by..

basal sliding on water underneath them.

A medialmoraine forms when

two glaciers join and their lateral moraines merge.

TheAntarctic ice sheet has been calving off..

huge icebergs over the last few decades.

The meltingof ice sheets at the end of the Pleistocene caused

glacial rebound in northern Canada.
Which of the following climate conditions would most likely allow glaciers to form?
a heavy snowfall in winter coupled with relatively cool summers
Glaciers can grow smaller by
melting, sublimation, or calving.
Which statement below explains why the ‘conveyor belt’ analogy of a glacier is misleading?
The conveyor belt shown above receives material at only point, whereas the glacier receives additional material along its entire length.
Contributing factors to the onset of major ice ages?

(not- a high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.)

many continents located at high latitudes.

most continents sitting well above sea level.

a disruption of warm-water ocean currents flowing northward.

mountain ranges that promote cold temperatures and heavy precipitation in large areas.


predicted climate cycles that have since been confirmed and named in his honor.

stated that there are cyclical changes in Earth’s orbit and axial tilt.

stated that there are changes in the amount and distribution of insolation received on Earth.

offered ideas that explain the timing of ice age events but not the severity of temperature change associated with ice ages.

The snowline is higher at the equator than

it is at 45° N latitude.
Louis Agassiz correctly interpreted the presence of
erratics as evidence that great ice sheets once covered much of Europe.

Yosemiteowes its spectacular scenery to..

glacial carving of a granite batholith.
GPS readings confirm that regions of North America north of the Great Lakes are..

Regions south of this line are..

rising due to glacial rebound.

sinking to compensate for the rebound.


Regions covered by glacial ice are termed periglacial environments.

Valley glaciers whose terminuses extend into the sea are called fjord glaciers.

Which of the following changes is NOT a unidirectional change?
Small continents merged to become a supercontinent.

Which of the following elements is released into the atmosphere by all of these processes: volcanic outgassing, animal respiration and flatulence, burning of fossil fuels, and metamorphism of limestone?


Earth'satmosphere is becoming more acidic because of

the sulfur-containing aerosols from fossil-fuel power plants.
Sea-level changes
are reflected by blankets of sediment called sedimentary sequences.

have been recorded on the sedimentary cycle chart.

are termed eustatic if they are worldwide changes.

have been as great as 300 m during the Phanerozoic eon.

The hydrologic cycle is a..
biogeochemical cycle- involving both physical and biological phenomena.


(not- Nitrogenisotopes within air bubbles in old ice can be studied to determine pasttemperatures.)

The oxygen-isotope ratios of ancient glacial ice indicate the atmospheric temperature of the snowfall that created the ice.

The sunspot cycle is a cyclical rise and fall of the number of magnetic storms on the Sun and is associated with increased and decreased solar radiation received by Earth.

Ice-house periods are long periods of time when Earth’s atmosphere was significantly cooler than it is now.

Ice ages were times during ice-house periods when Earth was cold enough to allow ice sheets to cover much land surface.

Mass extinction

(not- of dinosaurs occurred at the Permian-Triassic boundary.)

events are times in Earth’s history when large numbers of species abruptly vanished.

events may reflect catastrophic changes in Earth’s climate.

may happen when a comet or asteroid impact starts a chain of events that block sunlight for weeks or even years.

happened 65 million years ago and was probably caused by an asteroid impact.

Anthropogenic (human-induced) changes in the Earth system

(not- are decreasing as technology leads to more environmentally friendly practices.)

include landscape modifications resulting from construction, mining, and farming.

include the pollution of air and water.

include global warming, which is greatly enhanced by society’s production of greenhouse gases.

have affected the ecosystems of regions by deforestation, overgrazing, agriculture, and urbanization.

Human population
has become a significant agent of global change.

reached one billion in 1850.

is currently a little over six billion.

is doubling every forty-four years.


(not - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has ruled that all future research use the one computer climate model they have concluded is the best.)
The worst-case scenario predicts that if global warming continues at its present rate, by 2050 the average annual temperature will have increased by 1.5 to 2°C.

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased in the last century.

Few climate scientists believe that current temperature rises are entirely due to natural cycles of short-term climate change.

Global warming issues are emotional topics that are pitting corporations against environmentalists.


(not - Shallow seas cannot ever again cover continental interiors because there has been enough sediment deposition to raise the average land surface high enough to prevent this)
The near-term future of the world depends heavily on human activities.

Plate tectonics movements will alter the global map significantly over the coming millions of years.

Scientists believe that five billion years from now, the Sun will begin to collapse, then swell to encompass the Earth.

Asteroid and comet collisions have happened in Earth’s past; no doubt they’ll happen again and have devastating effects.


(not- The two major factors determining Earth’s temperature are the Earth-Sun distance and the concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere.)
The Goldilocks Effect compares the Earth’s temperature to Baby Bear’s porridge; it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, it’s just right.

Liquid water serves as a reservoir to hold carbon dioxide that’s been removed from the atmosphere.

Natural processes on Earth cause carbon dioxide to cycle through limestone, coal, several chemical-weathering reactions, and the atmosphere.

Too much carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere could make us as hot as Venus; greater Earth-Sun distance might make us as cold and lifeless as Mars

If significant global warming happens, the consequence would be

(not- a shift in climate belts, with temperate climates moving to lower latitudes.)
stronger storms and increased flooding.

a rise in sea level due to melting ice.

an increase in the frequency of wildfires because vegetation would be so dry.

an interruption of ocean currents and the heat transfer they accomplish.

Ozone depletionhappens in

high-latitude regions, particularly the Antarctic
Useful in determining paleoclimates..
Studies of air bubbles and oxygen-isotope ratios in glacial ice

fossil pollen

tree rings

the stratigraphic record

Another ice age would change sea level far more than..
global warming would change it.
Earth’s early atmosphere contained
far more CO2 and far less nitrogen

compared to its modern composition.

One effectof global warming may be a

halt to the global thermohaline circulation of ocean currents.


large ice shelves are breaking up,

the Greenland ice sheet is melting,

sea ice has decreased substantially,

valley glaciers worldwide are retreating,

and the area of permafrost has substantially decreased.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states unarguably in its 2007 report that
Earth’s climate system is warming, and it states with very high confidence that human activities have contributed significantly to the warming.


Methane, carbon dioxide, and several trace gases (including water) are all greenhouse gases that cause the atmosphere to cool by reflecting large amounts of solar energy back into space.
Volcanic eruptions typically contribute to global warming by increasing the aerosol content of the atmosphere.