Earth Science August 2010

Earth Science August 2010 Questions Answers Keys.

The University of the State of New York
Wednesday, August 18, 2010 — 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., only

Directions : For each statement or question, write in your answer booklet the number of the word or expression that, of those given, best completes the statement or answers the question. Some questions may require the use of the 2010 Edition Reference Tables for Physical Setting/Earth Science.

1. Evidence of mass extinctions of life-forms is preserved in the fossil record. It is inferred that some of these extinctions occurred because of

  • (1) earthquakes
  • (2) asteroid impacts
  • (3) solar eclipses
  • (4) tsunamis
Answer: (2) asteroid impacts 

2. By which process do stars convert mass into great amounts of energy?

  • (1) nuclear fusion
  • (2) heat transfer
  • (3) gravitational pull
  • (4) radioactive decay
Answer: (1) nuclear fusion 

3. The diagram below represents the development of our universe from the time of the Big Bang until the present. Letter A indicates two celestial objects.

The present-day celestial objects labeled A are best identified as

  • (1) asteroid belts
  • (2) terrestrial planets
  • (3) spiral galaxies
  • (4) eccentric comets
Answer: (3) spiral galaxies 

4. The constellation Pisces changes position during a night, as shown in the diagram below.

Which motion is mainly responsible for this change in position?

  • (1) revolution of Earth around the Sun
  • (2) rotation of Earth on its axis
  • (3) revolution of Pisces around the Sun
  • (4) rotation of Pisces on its axis
Answer: (2) rotation of Earth on its axis 

5. The diagram below represents the bright-line spectrum for an element.

The spectrum of the same element observed in the light from a distant star is shown below.

The shift in the spectral lines indicates that the star is moving

  • (1) toward Earth
  • (2) away from Earth
  • (3) in an elliptical orbit around the Sun
  • (4) in a circular orbit around the Sun
Answer: (2) away from Earth 

6. Compared to the other planets in our solar system, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune have

  • (1) shorter periods of rotation
  • (2) shorter periods of revolution
  • (3) greater eccentricities
  • (4) greater densities
Answer: (1) shorter periods of rotation 

7. Air pressure is usually highest when the air is

  • (1) cool and humid
  • (2) cool and dry
  • (3) warm and humid
  • (4) warm and dry
Answer: (2) cool and dry 

8. Weather data is normally recorded at positions A, B, C, and D on the weather station model shown below.

At which position should the measurements from a rain gauge be recorded?

  • (1) A
  • (2) B
  • (3) C
  • (4) D
Answer: (4) D 

9. Heat energy from the lower latitudes is transferred to colder Earth regions by planetary wind circulation mainly through the process of

  • (1) conduction
  • (2) radiation
  • (3) convection
  • (4) reflection
Answer: (3) convection 

10. The Coriolis effect is a result of Earth’s

  • (1) tilted axis
  • (2) orbital shape
  • (3) revolution
  • (4) rotation
Answer: (4) rotation 

11. For weeks after a series of major volcanic eruptions, Earth’s surface air temperatures are often

  • (1) warmer because ash and dust decrease atmospheric transparency
  • (2) warmer because ash and dust increase atmospheric transparency
  • (3) cooler because ash and dust decrease atmospheric transparency
  • (4) cooler because ash and dust increase atmospheric transparency
Answer: (3) cooler because ash and dust decrease atmospheric transparency 

12. The table below shows how the radioactive decay of potassium-40 can be used to determine the age of a rock.

How old is a sample of granite that contains 8 grams of radioactive potassium-40 and 56 grams of its nonradioactive decay products?

  • (1) 1.3 109 years old
  • (2) 2.6 109 years old
  • (3) 3.9 109 years old
  • (4) 5.2 109 years old
Answer: (3) 3.9 109 years old 

13. Which gas became part of Earth’s atmosphere mainly as a result of the evolution of life-forms?

  • (1) oxygen
  • (2) nitrogen
  • (3) helium
  • (4) hydrogen
Answer: (1) oxygen 

14. Devonian-age fossils found in New York State bedrock, such as Manticoceras and Mucrospirifer, provide evidence that parts of New York State were once

  • (1) under a shallow sea containing tropical waters
  • (2) higher in elevation and eroded extensively by glaciers
  • (3) covered by extensive lava flows
  • (4) impacted by comets and asteroids
Answer: (1) under a shallow sea containing tropical waters 

15. Which two types of organisms both survived the mass extinction that occurred at the end of the Permian Period?

  • (1) trilobites and nautiloids
  • (2) corals and vascular plants
  • (3) placoderm fish and graptolites
  • (4) gastropods and eurypterids
Answer: (2) corals and vascular plants 

16. Antarctica’s location and climate changed over the last 200 million years because Antarctica moved

  • (1) southward, resulting in a warmer climate
  • (2) southward, resulting in a colder climate
  • (3) northward, resulting in a warmer climate
  • (4) northward, resulting in a colder climate
Answer: (2) southward, resulting in a colder climate 

17. The cross section below shows a portion of Earth’s crust.

Which observation provides the most direct evidence that crustal plate collision has occurred near this region?

  • (1) alternating layers of shale and limestone bedrock
  • (2) absence of an igneous intrusive rock
  • (3) different thicknesses of the sedimentary layers
  • (4) folding of the sedimentary layers
Answer: (4) folding of the sedimentary layers 

18. In New York State, both the Delaware River and the Susquehanna River flow over landscapes classified as

  • (1) mountain regions
  • (2) coastal plains
  • (3) lowlands
  • (4) plateaus
Answer: (4) plateaus 

19. A river’s velocity slows from 100 to 50 centimeters per second at a point in its channel. Which statement best describes the transport and deposition of particles at this point?

  • (1) Clay, silt, sand, pebbles, and smaller cobbles stay in transport; some cobbles are deposited.
  • (2) Clay, silt, sand, and smaller pebbles stay in transport; some pebbles are deposited.
  • (3) Clay, silt, and smaller sand stay in transport; some sand is deposited.
  • (4) Clay and smaller silt stay in transport; some silt is deposited.
Answer: (2) Clay, silt, sand, and smaller pebbles stay in transport; some pebbles are deposited. 

20. The photograph below shows farm buildings partially buried in silt.

Which erosional agent most likely piled the silt against these buildings?

  • (1) glacial ice
  • (2) ocean waves
  • (3) wind
  • (4) mass movement
Answer: (3) wind 

21. The generalized cross section below shows the sedimentary rock layers at Niagara Falls in western New York State.

Which rock layer appears to be most resistant to weathering and erosion?

  • (1) Lockport dolostone
  • (2) Rochester shale
  • (3) Grimsby sandstone
  • (4) Queenston shale
Answer: (1) Lockport dolostone 

22. The flowchart below illustrates the change from melted rock to basalt.

The solidification of the melted rock occurred

  • (1) slowly, resulting in fine-grained minerals
  • (2) slowly, resulting in coarse-grained minerals
  • (3) rapidly, resulting in coarse-grained minerals
  • (4) rapidly, resulting in fine-grained minerals
Answer: (4) rapidly, resulting in fine-grained minerals 

23. Soil that contains large quantities of calcium was most likely formed by the weathering of

  • (1) rock salt
  • (2) quartzite
  • (3) coal
  • (4) limestone
Answer: (4) limestone 

24. Which mineral is commonly used as a food additive?

  • (1) calcite
  • (2) talc
  • (3) halite
  • (4) fluorite
Answer: (3) halite 

25. Which graph best shows the length of a shadow cast from sunrise to sunset by a flagpole in New York State?

Answer: (4)  

26. The diagram below represents possible stages in the life cycle of stars.

Which star has the greatest probability of producing a supernova explosion?

  • (1) Barnard’s Star
  • (2) Betelgeuse
  • (3) Procyon B
  • (4) Sun
Answer: (2) Betelgeuse 

27. The diagram below shows three identical plastic tubes filled to the same level with spherical beads of different diameters. Each tube was filled with water to the top of the beads. The clamps were then opened to allow water to drain into the beakers.

Which graph best represents the relative amount of water retained by the beads in each tube?

Answer: (3)  

28. Data from two weather instruments have been recorded on the graph below. Line A on the graph represents air-temperature data. Line B was plotted using the scale for variable B.

Line B on the graph represents data from which weather instrument?

  • (1) thermometer
  • (2) barometer
  • (3) psychrometer
  • (4) anemometer
Answer: (2) barometer 

29. The map below shows four coastal locations labeled A, B, C, and D

The climate of which location is warmed by a nearby major ocean current?

  • (1) A
  • (2) B
  • (3) C
  • (4) D
Answer: (3) C 

30. Which fossil sequence is in order from oldest to youngest?

Answer: (4)  

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