Study Guide for Geology 150 Final Exam, Fall 2005, mll


As I’ve said in class, the final exam will be cumulative exam and will consist of essay questions (with some choice), diagram interpretation questions, and multiple choice questions.  To assist your studying, I have listed the topics we have studied since the last exam.  In addition, I have listed some essay style questions that would be good review for the exam.  The exam will emphasis material from the last exam, but will definitely draw on our studies from the whole semester.  To that end, you should use also use you past two exams and study guides to prepare for the final exam.  In addition, you are responsible for information and concepts related to lab.


Material covered since last exam:

-Mass wasting-Ch. 13 (types, controls, causes, identification, prevention, and western North Carolina)

-Interpreting the geologic record: examples for metamorphic terrain (p.220-223), sedimentary deposits (p. 199-201), and sequence & geometry of rock outcrops (235-246).

-Structure and properties (seismic, magnetism, gravity, isostasy) of the Earth interior (Ch. 11)

-Rock deformation and geologic maps (Ch. 9) :processes (stresses), controls (rock type, pressure, heat, rates), responses (folding and faulting), and outcrop patterns.

- Landscape evolution (isostasy, uplift and erosion, tectonic settings.  mountain building and erosion)



1)   If you were thinking of moving to a landslide-prone area, how would you determine whether your prospective home was located on a stable slope?


2)   Below is a quote from a 1986 magazine article discussing land development in the Adirondack Mountains of New York during the 1700's.

By that time, much of the land had been severely damaged through careless and wanton uses--forests vanished from uncontrolled lumbering, once bountiful fish and wildlife dwindled from loss of habitat, and soil eroded causing ruinous floods.

      Explain this passage in terms of principles and processes (i.e. specific causes) involved; be specific.


3)   Currently, the Atlantic Ocean is spreading and the continental margins of the Atlantic are mostly passive.  What sequence of events would be necessary for the Atlantic to close resulting in the collision of Africa and Europe with North and South America?  Include two cross-section sketches for this answer:  a) at a time when the Atlantic is beginning to close but before the continents have collided, and b) at a time after the collision of the continents.  The sketch must be clearly and completely labeled, and depict the crust, lithosphere,  rock types,  surface topography, and any rock deformation.


4)   In the first week of this course, and many times since, we’ve discussed how the Earth records its history in rocks and sediments.  Explain how the ‘rock record’ can be used to reconstruct past conditions.  Include an example from each of the three rock groups in your explanation.


5)   How would the east coast of North America change if ocean segments that make up the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast began to subduct?  Specify how the plate boundary type, the Atlantic Ocean size, and geologic processes/hazards along eastern North America would change in response to the change in tectonic setting.


6)   Although geologist have directly sampled only the upper several kilometers of the Earth, they have made inferences about rock types/states, temperatures, etc. at all depths within the Earth.

a)   Describe hypotheses/theories about the interior of the Earth, specifically addressing the asthenosphere, mantle, core (inner and outer).

b)   Describe the basis of understanding discussed in part a).


7)   Not all areas on Earth are equally sensitive to changes in land use.  For example, the same change in land use may result in a drastic change in geologic processes in one region and no significant change in geologic processes in the other region.  What area or type of area on the world is most geologically sensitive to changes in land use?  Effectively support your answer.


8)   If you were to go on a hike starting at the top-center of a mountain belt, created by a continental-continental collision, and ending 100's of kilometers  away from the center, what rocks would you expect to see?  Why?  How and why are these rocks exposed in mountain belts?


9)   How could you recognize an ancient plate boundary that is no longer in existence?  How could you determine what type of plate boundary the area used to be?  Include specific information in your answer.


10) What would the surface of the Earth be like if there were no plate tectonic activity?  Think first, then explain your answer and include specific examples.


11)  As land is developed in western North Carolina, in general, the percent of land area with forest cover decreases.  Explain HOW and WHY the change in land cover is likely to have affected the water budget (cycle) in the region, the flood characteristics of streams, and the channel characteristics of the streams.