Geology 1121

Physical Geology


Test # 2 Study Guide


Test # 2 will be on Monday, 14 November 2022, from 12:45 to 2:05 PM in the Alford Science Building, room 205.  Everything in lecture & readings from “Tectonite” in the metamorphic rocks lecture to the end of the streams topic will be fair game for test questions.  The test will be a mixture of multiple choice questions, true-or-false, short answer, and fill-in-the-blank.








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


Be familiar with the basic characteristics and precursors of the following metamorphic rocks: tectonite, quartzite, marble, greenstone, hornfels, skarn, soapstone, eclogite, granulite, anthracite coal, serpentinite, amphibolite, metaconglomerate.


What’s the difference between the hypocenter (focus) and the epicenter of an earthquake?

Know the characteristics & names of the four types of seismic waves (Body waves: P-waves & S-waves) (Surface waves: Love waves & Rayleigh waves).  Which kind travels most quickly?  Which kind travels slowly?  Which kinds are more destructive?  Which kind is less destructive?

What is the minimum number of seismic stations needed to accurately locate the epicenter of an earthquake?

Be familiar with the Mercalli Scale (= intensity scale) & the Richter Scale (= magnitude scale).  What does each step on the Richter Scale represent?

In terms of ground motion during earthquakes, does solid bedrock amplify or subdue seismic waves?  Does loose material amplify or subdue seismic waves?

What are tsunamis?  

What precursors (warning signs) are known to occur before major earthquakes?

What are foreshocks?

Where do earthquakes occur, in plate tectonics terms?

Know what the following mean: subduction zones & Benioff zones, collision zones, spreading centers, transform plate boundaries, hotspots.

Where do the most powerful earthquakes occur?





What is pahoehoe lava?  What is aa lava?

What are pillow basalts & where do they erupt?

What are flood basalts?  What is the largest example of a flood basalt deposit on Earth?

What is tephra?

Do explosive volcanic eruptions cause climate change?  If so, what kind of climate change?

What are lahars?

What are shield volcanoes?  What is their size and shape?  Do they have effusive or explosive eruptions?  What type/chemistry/composition of igneous rock is usually associated with shield volcanoes?  Examples of shield volcanoes (where)?

What are stratovolcanoes (composite volcanoes)?  Where do they form (what plate tectonic setting)?  Do they usually have effusive or explosive eruptions?  What type / chemistry / composition of igneous rock is usually associated with stratovolcanoes?  Examples?

Do cinder cones usually erupt scoria and vesicular basalt?

What are calderas?  How do they form?

What is a maar volcano?  How does it form?

What gases do volcanoes emit?

What are some known precursors that occur before major volcanic eruptions?




Structural Geology

What kind of stress (compressional or extensional or shear) produces folds?

What are anticlines?  What are synclines?  Be familiar with their shapes, as seen in cross-section.

How do rounded vs. chevron vs. isoclinal vs. box folds differ in shape?

What are monoclines?

What are faults?  What are joints?

How does one distinguish a hanging wall from a footwall?

Know how to identify normal faults versus reverse faults.

What are thrust faults?

Do normal faults form by extensional stress?

Do reverse faults and thrust faults form by compressional stress?





Be familiar with basic terminology: weathering, erosion, transportation.

What is differential weathering?

What is mechanical weathering ( = disintegration)?

Be familiar with “pressure release” as a mechanical weathering process.

What is chemical weathering ( = decomposition)?

What is oxidation?  What happens when an iron-bearing mineral such as pyrite oxidizes?

What are some important naturally-occurring acids to chemically weather rocks and minerals?

What is hydrolysis?

What rocks dissolve in water or acids?

Where is weathering most intense, specifically?  In what types of climates is weathering most intense?  In what climates is weathering less intense?

What is regolith?  What is soil?

What parts of a typical soil profile (O horizon, A horizon, E horizon B horizon, C horizon) are the “Zone of Loss” ( = “Zone of Leaching”)?  Which parts are the “Zone of Gain” ( = “Zone of Accumulation”)?

What are pedalfer soils?  Where are they common in America?

What are pedocal soils?  Where are they common in America?

What are laterite soils?  Is laterite soil good for farming for many, many years?




Mass Wasting

What is creep?  What is solifluction?

Be familiar with the different types of rapid movements (“landslides”): flows, slides, falls.

What is an earthflow?  What is a debris flow?  What is a mudflow?  What is a rockslide?

What is a rockfall?  What is slump?




Streams & Water Cycle

What are high-energy streams vs. low-energy streams?  What valley shapes do they make?  What is the erosive potential of each?

What is base level?

Be familiar with the map-view geometry of straight streams and meandering streams.

What are oxbow lakes?  How do they form?

Be familiar with how streams erode and transport materials.  In terms of stream transportation, what is suspension?  What is saltation?  What is traction?

What kind of sedimentary deposit typically forms in floodplains?

Be familiar with the common stream patterns: dendritic, parallel, radial, centripetal, trellis, rectangular, braided.




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