Introductory Geology


Test # 1 Study Guide


Test # 1 will be on Monday, 11 February 2019, from 8:00 to 9:20 AM in Founders Hall room 2168.  Everything in lecture and assigned readings from “Basics of Science” to “Chalk” will be fair game for test questions.  The test will be a mix of multiple choice, true-or-false, short answer, and fill-in-the-blank questions.





Test questions will cover (but are not necessarily limited to) the following:

What is science?  What are the features of science?  How is science done?

What is an hypothesis?  What is a theory?

What is geology?  What does it involve?

Be familiar with some of the common fields of study within geology.

How & why is geology important?

What is catastrophism?  Is it still accepted?

What is uniformitarianism?  Who proposed it?  When?

What is actualism?



Know the overall structure of the Earth.

What is the core?  What's it made of?  What are its characteristics?  What is the inner core?  What is the outer core?  What's the difference?

What is the mantle?  What's it made of?

What is the crust?  What are the two types of crust?  What rock type is most common in each of the two types of crust?

What is the Moho?

How large is the Earth?  What is the average thickness of continental crust & oceanic crust?

Do geologists know the crust & mantle & core equally well?

Are mantle rock samples available for study?



Know the basics of plate tectonics.

What is the continental drift hypothesis?  Who proposed it?  When?  What was the evidence?  What is Pangaea?  Was continental drift hypothesis accepted by scientists at the time?  What idea replaces it now?  When did it become a viable theory?

What is lithosphere?  What are its properties? What are the two types of lithosphere?

What is asthenosphere?  What are its properties?

What are the 9 largest plates on Earth?  Which is the largest plate at present?

When did the Pangaea supercontinent exist?

What force causes plates to move?

Where do almost all earthquakes occur?

What is divergence?  What is a mid-ocean ridge (MOR)?  What is seafloor spreading?  What happens at a mid-ocean ridge?  What's the age & temperature of rocks near & far away from a MOR?

What is convergence?  What happens?  What is subduction?  What is collision?

Do volcanoes always occur along subduction zones?

Examples of subduction zones?

Examples of collision zones?

What is transform plate movement?  What happens?  Example?

What is the average speed of tectonic plates?

How did Pangaea break apart - how does any continent break apart?

What are hotspots?  Examples?

What is the rift geometry formed when hotspots tear apart continents?

Do all hotspots break apart plates?  Examples?



How old is the universe, in years?  How old is Earth, in years?  How old are the oldest known fossils?  How old are the oldest known fossils of modern humans?

How do we know the Earth is 4.55 billion years old?

Does this number come from Earth rocks?  If not, where does the number come from?

What are the oldest known Earth rocks & minerals?

What are the youngest Earth rocks?

Know the geologic time scale (all eons, eras, periods, epochs).

Know the following dates on the time scale: age of the Earth (= beginning of the Archean), the Archean-Proterozoic boundary, the Precambrian-Cambrian boundary, the Permian-Triassic boundary (= Paleozoic-Mesozoic boundary), the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary (= Mesozoic-Cenozoic boundary), and the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary.

What is the Pleistocene?



What 8 elements are most common in the crust?  Which 2 elements top the list?

What are crystals?  What are minerals?  Is coal a mineral?  Is oil a mineral?  Are there minerals in breakfast cereal?

How many minerals have been named?

What are the origins of minerals?  What is the most common origin of minerals?

Know the basics of physical properties.

What are some crystal shapes that mineral can take?

What is cleavage?  What is fracture?  What is conchoidal fracture?

Is color a reliable identification feature for minerals?

What is streak?  What is hardness?  How is it measured?  What's the softest mineral?  What's the hardest mineral?

What is luster?  What are the two common types of luster?

What is specific gravity?  Example of a very heavy mineral?

What is an example of a mineral that has a salty taste?

What is double refraction?  Example of a mineral that shows this?

Example of a mineral that is magnetic?

Example of a mineral that bubbles in acid?

How are minerals classified?

Be familiar with the names & characteristics of the common minerals.

Examples of minerals that are elements?

Examples of minerals that are oxides?

Examples of minerals that are carbonates?  Sulfides?

What is “fool's gold”?

Plaster & wallboard are made using what sulfate mineral?

Examples of halide minerals?

Does Ohio have any halite?

Examples of minerals that are silicates?

Which mineral group is the largest, most abundant, and most complex?

What's the # 1 most common mineral in the crust?

What is silica?

What are the two types of feldspar?

How is mica best identified?  What are the two common mica varieties?



What's a rock?  How many groups of rocks are there?  How are rocks grouped, or classified?  What are the three groups of rocks?

What is texture?  What is crystalline texture?  What is clastic texture?  What is foliated texture?  What is glassy texture?  What is vesicular/frothy texture?

What do microcrystalline and cryptocrystalline mean?

How do igneous rocks form?

How do sedimentary rocks form?

How do metamorphic rocks form?

Are these 3 groups of rocks evenly distributed in the crust?  Which group is most abundant in the crust?  Which group is least abundant in the crust?



What is magma?  What is lava?  What's the difference?

Most igneous rocks have what texture?

What is the relationship between cooling rate & crystal size in igneous rocks?

What is aphanitic texture?  What is phaneritic texture?  What is porphyritic texture?  What is pegmatitic texture?  What do these mean in terms of cooling rate?

What is glassy texture?  What does it mean in terms of cooling rate?

How do clastic-textured igneous rocks form?

Why does vesicular/frothy texture occur in some igneous rocks?

What is felsic?  How do you tell if a rock is felsic?

What is mafic?  How do you tell if a rock is mafic?

What is ultramafic?

What is an extrusive igneous rock?  What is an intrusive igneous rock?

What is a pluton?  What is a batholith?  What is an igneous dike?

Be familiar with the characteristics & features of the common igneous rocks: granite, rhyolite, obsidian, pumice, andesite, diorite, basalt, gabbro, scoria, peridotite, volcanic breccia.

What are the three ways by which magma forms?



How do sedimentary rocks form?

How do siliciclastic sedimentary rocks form?  What is their texture?  What are they commonly composed of?

Know the characteristics of conglomerate, breccia, sandstone, siltstone, shale, and arkose.

How do biogenic sedimentary rocks form?  What is their texture?

Know the characteristics of coal, limestone (fossiliferous limestone), and chalk.





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