Geology 12 - Historical Geology
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Potential Final Questions

For the final, any questions from the previous quiz guides that have not already appeared on an exam are fair game.

Potential Short Answer Questions

  1. What is natural selection? What are the conditions necessary for natural selection to operate? Illustrate with an example.
  2. Our view of dinosaurs has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. What is the evidence that supports our current view of dinosaurs as well-adapted, fast-moving social animals that may have been warm-blooded?
  3. How did the Franciscan Formation and the Great Valley Sequence of California form?
  4. Describe (that means more than just naming) four important consequences of glaciation in North America.
  5. Describe (that means more than just naming) four lines of evidence for a global glaciation in the Pleistocene.
  6. What is the plate setting of Western North America from the late Paleozoic to the Mesozoic? What is the evidence?
  7. Why are cyclothems important in Late Paleozoic history? What are cyclothems, and what do they tell us about environmental conditions in the Late Paleozoic?
  8. How did the San Andreas Fault form? What other changes accompanied the formation of the fault?
  9. There are three models for where and how life originally formed on earth. Describe each of the models, and cite at least one line of evidence that supports each one.

Potential Essay Questions

1. The Western Cordillera of North America has a terribly complicated tectonic history throught the Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Describe the change in plate configurations in this part of the world from the Jurassic to the Eocene to the present. What is the evidence for each step of the history you are describing?

2. The East Coast of North America (Appalachian region) had a violent history throughout the Paleozoic. Describe the evolution of the East Coast from the Cambrian to the Permian. Feel free to use a chart if that helps your organization.  Your answer must:

3. Although the continents are well spaced around the globe today, geologists say that in the Late Paleozoic all the world's continents were assembled into a single supercontinent, Pangaea. What is the evidence 1) that this continent existed, 2) that it finished forming in the Late Paleozoic, and 3) that it broke up again in the Triassic?

4. Marine life undergoes two major changes in the Phanerozoic: from the Cambrian to the rest of the Paleozoic, and from the Paleozoic to the Mesozoic, with a minor change going into the Cenozoic. Describe the big patterns of life in each of these periods and the organisms that dominated in each of these times (Cambrian, Middle and Late Paleozoic, Mesozoic)

5. What is the evidence for the impact hypothesis and for the volcanic hypothesis for the Cretaceous extinctions?

6. Multicellular life barely survived the Permian extinction event. Describe in detail at least three possible causes of the extinction, and the evidence supporting each.