Geology 2205




Test # 1 will be on Thursday, 18 February 2021, from 3:55 to 5:15 PM, in Founders Hall room 2168.  Everything covered in the course, from the beginning to the end of the Venus topic  There will be a mix of multiple choice, true-and-false, short answer, and fill-in-the-blank.







Test questions may include (but are not necessarily limited to):


What is the age of the Solar System?

What are the four categories of planets?

Know the order (the sequence) of planets in the Solar System.

Where is the Asteroid Belt located?

What are the characteristics of a planet?

What are the characteristics of terrestrial planets?  Examples?

What are the characteristics of giant planets?  What are the gas giants?  What are the ice giants?  Examples of each?

Which has more hydrogen and helium, the gas giant planets or the ice giant planets?

Examples of giant planets?

What are the characteristics of a dwarf planet?

Examples of dwarf planets?

What are moons/satellites?  What shapes do they have?  Are all moons geologically inactive?

Are some moons geologically active?

What’s the compositional difference between asteroids and comets?

What is albedo?

What is high albedo?  What is low albedo?




What is a mineral?

What are the three principal origins of minerals?

Are olivine and pyroxene common in the mantles of terrestrial planets?

Be familiar with quartz, feldspar, and other common silicate minerals.

What are the two common iron-nickel alloy minerals?

Be familiar with sulfur.

What world (planet or moon) is mostly yellowish colored from sulfur?

Where are water ice (H2O) and dry ice (CO2) common in the Solar System?

The ice caps on Mars are dominated by what two minerals?

Be familiar with hematite - on what two worlds is it common?

What are the characteristics of the following textures: crystalline, clastic, foliated, glassy, and vesicular/frothy?

What are the three categories of rocks?

How do igneous rocks form?  What are intrusive igneous rocks?  What are extrusive igneous rocks?

Be familiar with the following igneous chemistries: felsic, intermediate, mafic, ultramafic.

How do sedimentary rocks form?

On what two worlds are sedimentary rocks especially common?

What is the difference between siliciclastic, biogenic, and chemical sedimentary rocks?

How do metamorphic rocks form?


What are magma and lava?  What is the difference between magma and lava?

How does magma form?

Which is hotter, felsic of mafic lava?

Does wetter magma or dry magma result in more explosive volcanic eruptions?

What is the difference between effusive eruptions and explosive eruptions?

What is volcanic ash?

What are flood lavas?

What are the characteristics of shield volcanoes?

Cinder cones?

Composite volcanoes (stratovolcanoes)?

What is a caldera?

Be generally familiar with silicate volcanism, cryovolcanism, and sulfur volcanism.


What is mechanical weathering?

What is chemical weathering?

What fundamental processes move sediment grains?

What is mass wasting?

What does “fluvial” mean?

What does “eolian” mean?

What is the relationship betwen the age of a world’s surface and the relative abundance of impact craters?

Is a heavily cratered surface old or young?

Is a lightly cratered surface old or young?

What are the characteristics of simple impact craters?  Complex impact craters?  Multiring impact basins?

Which type is smallest?  Which is largest?

What are secondary craters?  How are they recognized?

At what collision angles do elongated impact craters form?

What are microimpacts and giant impacts?

What are the characteristics of shattercones?

The pointed end (= apex) of a shattercone points toward what?

What are the features of impact breccias and impactites?

What are tektites?  What texture do they have?  How do they form?

What is impact pseudotachylite?

What is shocked quartz?  What is shock metamorphism?


What is the plane of the ecliptic?

What is prograde?  What is retrograde?

What is an astronomical unit (A.U.)?

What is a light year?

What is a nebula?

What are the 3 principal sources of heat that resulted in protoplanets being differentiated into planets having cores, mantles, and crusts?

The cores of terrestrial planets are rich in what materials?

The mantles & crusts of terrestrial planets are rich in what materials?

The atmospheres of terrestrial planets are rich in what materials?

What are siderophile elements?  Are they common in the cores of terrestrial planets?

What are lithophile elements?  Are they common in the mantles and crusts of terrestrial planets?

What are atmophile elements?

What are refractory substances?

What are volatile substances?


The Sun is what type of star?

The two most common elements in the Sun are what?

What parts of the Sun are the hottest and the least hot: core, surface, corona (Sun’s atmosphere)?

Is the Sun a low-density object (= light-weight for its size) or a high-density object (= heavy for its size)?

How quickly does the Sun rotate?

What is the energy source (= fuel source) for the Sun?

The most active body in the entire Solar System is what?

What are sunspots?

What are solar flares?

What are coronal mass ejections?

What is the Solar Wind?

What is solar radiation?


Be familiar with the basic features, parameters, and characteristics of Planet Mercury.

What Solar System object has the greatest range in surface temperatures?

Is Mercury’s core relatively large or small, compared with the size of the planet?

What are Mercury’s mantle and crust composed of?

Mercury’s surface rocks are subjected to what type of weathering?

Is Mercury’s surface heavily cratered or lightly cratered?  Is Mercury’s surface geologically old or geologically young?

What is the # 1 largest feature on Planet Mercury?

What is the Caloris Basin?

What is Pantheon Fossae (“The Spider”)?

What does “antipodal” mean?

What’s special about Mercury’s landscape antipodal to the Caloris Basin?

What are hollows?  Do they only occur on Mercury?

Does Mercury have actually volcanic buildups (= mounds, hills, mountains, etc.)?

Does Mercury have lots of flood lavas (flood volcanism)?

Mercury’s volcanic lavas are thought be what type of rock?

Mercury has both effusive and explosive volcanic deposits.  Which type is more common?  Which type is less common?

What are rupes?  Does Mercury have any?  If so, are they common?  What is a fault?  What is a fault scarp?

Know hanging wall & footwall (= basic fault terminology).

What are reverse faults and thrust faults?

What type of stress produces reverse faults and thrust faults - compression or extension?

How did Mercury get so many rupes/fault scarps?

Does water ice occur on Mercury?  If so, where?  How does it stay cold and frozen?




Be familiar with the basic features, parameters, and characteristics of Planet Venus.

Is Venus’ orbit around the Sun prograde?  Is Venus’ rotation (spin) prograde?

Is Venus close to the size of Planet Earth?

Does Venus rotate quickly or slowly? [Note that Venus’ has the longest rotation rate (= slowest spin rate) of any planet.]

Does Venus have high albedo, low albedo, or moderate albedo?

What world has the hottest surface temperatures in the entire Solar System?

What is the atmospheric pressure of Venus?

What gas is the most common in the Venus atmosphere?

Venus’ clouds are composed of what chemical?

Be familiar with Venus winds & their velocities, both high up in the atmosphere and at the ground.

Venus’ skies and landscapes have what general color(s)?

Does Venus have a core, mantle, and crust?

Is wind the dominant erosional  and sediment transport agent at the surface of Venus?

The largest highland on Venus is what?

The highest highland on Venus is what?

Do mountaintops on Venus have cooler temperatures?

What is the radar-reflective (“bright”) material that caps the highest mountains on Venus?

Does Venus currently have plate tectonics?

What are tessera terrains?

Are wind-blown features common or rare on Venus?

Does Venus have abundant, few, or no volcanoes?  Does Venus have actual volcanic buildups (hills, mountains, etc.)? Which world has the highest number of individual volcanoes in the entire Solar System?

The most common type of volcano on Venus is what?

Most volcanic lavas on Venus are likely what type of rock?

Be generally familiar with the different types of volcanoes and volcanic features on Venus.

Does Venus have active volcanoes?

Does the Venus surface have abundant impact craters or relatively few impact craters or no impact craters?

Is the Venus surface geologically young or old?

Does Venus have small impact craters?

Are impact craters with flower petal-like lobes of ejecta common on Venus?  If so, why?

What is the largest impact crater on Venus?

How well known is most of the geologic history of Venus?




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