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GEL 1009
HISTORICAL GEOLOGY

Study Guide
Mid-Term Exam | Final Exam

General Guidance

Exams: The exams are a combination of multiple choice and short answer questions. The short answer questions often ask you to explain or describe; this gives you the opportunity to show your knowledge of a concept even if you do not remember a specific term or description from the book. You will be required to write out all short answers as sentences.

Textbook

  • figures - these take key pieces of information and put them in an easy to remember form.
  • key terms and section headings - these words are in bold face type in the text; since the exams are part multiple choice, these words are often used as answers or as words to define.
  • review questions - these are found at the end of each chapter and often become exam questions (the discussion questions and problems are less important.

Lecture: The lecture follows the format and content of the text book. The questions provided in the study guide below highlight key points.

Seminar: Seminars are designed for in-depth discussions between the students and instructor. If you are confused by something, the seminar is an excellent place to ask.

Study guide: The following lists several areas in which to further focus your studies; it is not a list of exam questions, but key areas you should know.

MID-TERM EXAM
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final exam

Chapter 1: (Note: this material may be found in Chapter 1 and, in greater detail, in other chapters.)

  • What are physical and historical geology?
  • What are the two types of geological dating? (relative and absolute/actual)
  • What are the basic principles of relative dating? How are they used?
  • What is the Theory of Plate Tectonics?

Chapter 2

  • What are the three rock types, how do they form, and how do they relate to each other? (KNOW THE ROCK CYCLE!)
  • What are the different types of igneous rock? (intrusive vs extrusive and compositional) How can you tell them apart?
  • What are the different types of sedimentary rock? (clastic vs chemical vs biochemical) How can you tell them apart?
  • What are the different types of metamorphic rock? (foliated vs nonfoliated, regional vs contact vs other, grade) How can you tell them apart?

Chapter 3

  • What is a fossil?
  • How and where do fossils form? What types are common and how are they interpreted?
  • What are the taxonomic catagories?
  • What is a species and how is it designated?

Chapter 4

  • What are characterisitics of an ecosystem? (including: habitat, niche, limiting factors, communities, feeding relationships)
  • What are the characteristics of common terrestrial and aquatic biomes?
  • How are ancient ecologies studied and interpreted?

Chapter 5

  • What is the environment of deposition?
  • How does soil form and what are the characteristics of soils?
  • What are the characteristics of common terrestrial and aquatic depositional environments?
  • How are ancient environments of deposition interpreted?
  • Be able to explain transgressions and regressions, how you would recognize them in the rocks (what types of rocks and fossils would you see) and which is more likely to be missing from the rock record.

Chapter 6

  • What are the different types of stratigraphic units?
    • How are they used?
    • What do they represent? (among other things, know the table on page 156)
    • How are they defined?
    • How are they correlated?
  • What are transgressions and regressions?

Chapters 8 & 9

  • What is the evidence that supports plate tectonics?
  • What are the three types of plate boundaries?
    • What happens there?
    • What types of rocks are found there? (How can we identify past activity by looking at ancient rocks?)
  • Why do the plates move?
  • What is isostasy? How does it work, what are its effects?
  • What are the two types of crust? Where and how do they form?
  • Be able to explain what an orogeny is, what causes it, and the rocks and structures associated with one.

FINAL EXAM
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Chapter 11-18

  • Review the materials presented by your classmates during their presentations on these portions of geologic history and be prepared to answer questions on this material.

Chapters 18, 19, & 20

  • What were some of the effects of the Great Ice Age?
  • How old are the oldest Homo sapiens sapiens fossils and what is the oldest evidence found in the Americas.

Chapter 3

  • What is a fossil?
  • How and where do fossils form? What types are common and how are they interpreted?
  • What are the taxonomic catagories?
  • What is a species and how is it designated?
  • What is phylogeny and how is it determined?
  • What is cladistics?
  • What are the major groups of living things and what are there characteristics?
    • prokaryotes vs eukaryotes
    • the six kingdoms
    • the animal phyla and classes

Chapter 6

  • What is the geologic time scale and how was it developed?
  • Know the basic structure of the geologic time scale, especiallythe relative lengths of time represented by the eons and periods 9see p. 13)
  • How old is the Earth?  How do we know?
  • What methods have been used to determine the age of they earth?
  • How is radiometric dating used?
    • How does it work?
    • What isotopes are commonly used?
    • What rock types can be dated?

Chapter 7

  • What is organic evolution? What evidence supports it?
  • At what rates do evolutionary processes operate? (are they constant?)
  • What is natural selection?
    • What evidence supports it?
    • How does it work?
  • What are some of the patterns and trends observed in evolution? (radiation, extinction, convergence, divergence) What causes them?
  • What was the Earth like during the Cenozoic? (mountain ranges, plate locations, ocean basins) When did these things occur?
  • When did the plates get to their present locations?
  • What was life like during the Cenozoic? What life forms evolved? When? What were the effects?
  • What were some of the effects of the Great Ice Age?
  • How old are the oldest Homo sapiens sapiens fossils and what is the oldest evidence found in the Americas.

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last updated: 06/01/06