Geol 305-01: Soils and Hydrology
Review Questions
Spring 2006, Mark Lord

Exam I Review Questions (Updated 1 February 2006)
Exam II Review Questions (Updated 22 March 2006)
Final Exam Review Questions (Updated 19 April 2006)

This is not a comprehensive list of questions, but rather is a series of questions that reflect the type of understanding that you should have about most of the material we have covered thus far in the course.  Be sure you can answer and EXPLAIN each of the questions.

Exam I Review Questions : (updated 1 February 2006)
In addition to reviewing for the questions below, review your quizzes, assignments, and old S&H exam.

**Old Soils&Hydro Exam**

1. What is soil?  What is its general origin from rock to soil?
2. What do plants need to live?  Which soil characteristics are most important to plants?
3. What are the primary properties used to describe soils?  What are the general controls on these properties?  Why are these properties important?
4. What water-related properties are important to soil?  Why?  What are the controls on the development of the water properties?
5. How are soil drainage/water transmissibility characteristics of soils most easily recognized in the field?
6. What are the 4 horizon forming processes and how do they work? How are these processes reflected in soil properties?
7. What are the basic soil horizons (ex. A, B, C …) and their characteristics?  Why do these characteristics exist?
8. What are the 5 primary soil forming factors?  Describe their influence on soil properties and processes.
9. What are the primary chemical weathering processes?  Which types of minerals are most affected by these processes?  How do they affect soils? How do they affect water chemistry?
10. What are the primary physical weathering processes?  What is the importance of physical weathering?
11. In the same natural setting, except for underlying rock types, how would you expect the soils developed on granite or gneiss to differ from those developed on Dunite?
12. How could an analysis of stream water chemistry (pH, and conductivity) be used to infer properties and processes of soils in the watershed?
13. What are the geologic/topographic settings associated with alluvial, residual, and colluvial parent materials?  What is saprolite?
14. How do these parent materials (above) differ?  How would you expect soils developed on these parent materials to differ?
15. What is the basic anatomy of the Earth?  What is plate tectonics?  What geologic and topographic conditions are associated with the different types of plate boundaries?
16. What is the geologic setting of western North Carolina?  What rock types are most common?
17. You are responsible for lab material (e.g. approach to problems, data interpretation, study/experiment.
design, critical analysis of methods, sampling schemes. etc.)
18. What are geologic/topographic settings associated with the different soil types present in Jackson County?

Exam II Review Questions : (updated 22 March 2006)
19. Clays are important to characterizing soils.  Why are they so important?  What are the controls on the types and amounts of clay in soil?
20. How do the percent clay and the type of clay mineral vary with time/degree of weathering?
21. Compare/contrast 1:1 clays with 2:1 clays with respect to structure, swelling, cation exchange capacity, and climatic association.
22. Which soil orders are present in Jackson County?  Explain why this region contains soil orders of very different maturity.
23. What soil orders are present in western North Carolina?  What are their characteristics and why are they present in this region?
24. What is the Soil Taxonomy?  What is the basis of the classification?  What information is included in a Family name?  Be able to determine the "meaning" of the taxonomic classification of a soil.
25. What is the basis of the Unified classification?  What is the difference between a solid, plastic, and liquid with respect to soil deformation/strength properties? What is a sensitive clay?
26. With respect to agricultural crops,  why (in general) do eastern soils require fertilization but not irrigation, but western soils require irrigation but not fertilization?
27. What is mineralization (N-cycle)?
28. Most commonly, what is the limiting nutrient for land plants?
29. What is the nitrogen cycle?  What variables control the cycle?
30. What are the different forms of nitrogen commonly present within soil?
31. Which forms of N do plants most readily use?
32. Which forms of N move most readily through soil?
33. How do redox conditions influence the N cycle?
34. What environmental issues/problems are related to the nitrogen?
35. Explain detrimental affects of soil erosion on soil nutrition, soil thickness, and watersheds. What measures can be taken to minimize the effects of soil erosion for housing development, for crops, for logging?
36. Describe the pathways water can take upon falling from a cloud?  What are artificial and natural variables that control these possible pathways?
37. Which pathways (above) are most responsible for soil erosion? flash flooding? groundwater recharge?
38. Which pathways are most likely to provide phosphorus inputs into a stream?  Nitrogen?
39. What are important chemical and physical properties of water?  Why are they important to hydrology?
40. What are causes of temporal and spatial variation in evaporation rates? 
41. If two lakes in the same region have different evaporation rates, what might explain this difference?
42. What are causes of temporal and spatial variation in transpiration rates?  How may these variations be reflected in other parts of the water cycle (for example, stream flow)?  In different regions of the country?
43. What are causes of temporal and spatial variation in precipitation rates?
44. How are probabilities calculated for different magnitude rain storms?  How does the partial duration series differ from the annual maximum series?
45. How and why do field capacity, wilting point, porosity, and available water capacity vary with soil texture?
46. What is the hydrologic budget?  What is the general annual hydrologic budget for watersheds in western North Carolina?  How does this compare to the rest of North Carolina?

Final Exam Related Questions (in addition to above) (Updated 19 April 2006)
1. What is a storm hydrograph?  What  three characteristics are commonly used to describe stream storm hydrographs.  What are natural and artificial controls on storm hydrographs?
2. How does land development influence flood frequencies and magnitude
3. How are flood probabilities calculated?
4. How can proper land-use planning minimize adverse affects of stream flooding?
5. How would you go about sampling a watershed to assess the water quality and the controls on the water chemistry?  Explain.
6. What two forms of energy are most important to groundwater?  
7. What is Darcy’s Law?
8. What is hydraulic head? Elevation head?  Pressure head?  How are they determined?  What are their characteristics at and below the groundwater table?
9. What information can be obtained from a water table well (observation well) versus a piezometer?
10. How can h, hp, and z be determined in the field?  (What information is needed about the well construction and what measurements must be made at the well?)
11. What is the effect of geology and topography on groundwater flow systems? In what setting are local versus regional groundwater flow systems likely?
12. How does groundwater flow through bedrock differ from flow through sediments?
13. What are groundwater recharge and discharge areas?  How can they be identified?
14. What is the importance of understanding the location of recharge and discharge areas?
15. What is the difference between a gaining and losing stream?  How can they be determined?  How do their characteristics differ?
16. What are potential negative effects of over pumping of groundwater?
17. What are groundwater equipotentials and flowlines?  Groundwater table maps?  How can they be used?
18. In an eastern U.S. climate, when does most groundwater recharge occur?
19. What are the phases of contamination associated with hydrocarbons?  How do remediation efforts account for these phases?  What characteristics of a pollutant and setting are important to understanding a contamination problem?
20. How and why do streams and groundwater interact chemically and physically?  How do people sometimes alter this natural interaction?
21. What are the hydrogeologic characteristics typical of mountainous and riverine settings?
22. What is the basic hydrogeologic setting of the western North Carolina region?
23. Be able to solve groundwater related problems similar to those we have done in class and lab.
24. Given some field problem in soils/hydrology, understand how to approach the problem, what methods to use, where/when to sample, and how to analyze/interpret the data.

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