Potential Exam Questions, Exam #2
Potential Short Answer Questions
- Explain how the gradient, velocity, discharge and sediment load of a stream
are related. Be sure to define each term in your answer
- In the diagram of the stream (provided at the exam),
- Label where you would
expect to find sediment being deposited, and where you would expect the
stream to erode. Explain all your answers.
- Label each of the landforms indicated.
- Describe four factors that impact flooding, and give specific
examples of floods associated with at least two factors.
- Describe at least five ways people increase the risk from
- Explain two methods of controlling damage from floods by
- Explain where the sand on the beach comes from, how it moves, and how the
beach changes over the year.
- Examine the picture you are given. How have the structures shown changed
the coastline? What caused the change? What further changes might you expect
in the future?
- What is the difference between conventional petroleum and tar sands/oil
shales in a) the nature of the petroleum and the tar, b) how the resource
is extracted and c) how expensive it is to produce?
- Explain how groundwater is stored, and how pumping water from a well can
potentially cause the well to become contaminated. Be sure to use and define
these words: water table, aquifer.
- In the picture (to be shown at the exam), what kind of landslide has occurred?
How have humans helped to cause this landslide?
- Explain the difference between the driving forces and resisting forces in
landslides. Describe two ways people increase the driving forces, and two
ways people reduce the resisting forces.
Potential Essay Questions
1. Developing adequate water supplies for drinking, irrigation and comercial
use has always been a challenge in the American West.
- Why will maintaining sufficient water supplies for California be more challenging
in the future?
- What are the political and environmental challenges of maintaining an adequate
- What can California and Californian cities do to help meet this challenge?
Please use information and examples from at least three of
these presentations or reading assignments in answering this question:
- Toilet to tap
- California water and climate change
- Colorado River water
- Water and Salmon
- Removing Old Dams
- Water marketing in California
- Water Supply Topic Guide (interview with Peter Gleick)
2. In class, we considered the idea that a natural disaster is the result of
society's response to natural hazards. We cannot stop earthquakes from happening,
volcanoes from erupting, or rivers from overflowing. There are a variety of
things we can do to help lower the risk of a disaster resulting from these hazards,
and to help reduce the damage when a disaster occurs.
Choose two of the following natural hazards:
- volcanic eruption
- beach & cliff erosion
For each of the hazards you have chosen:
- Describe some methods for lowering the risk from that hazard, or reducing
the damage from that hazard
- Give an example of where these methods have been successful in decreasing
the risk or damage from that hazard
- Give an example of where the risk or damage from the hazard was not successfully
reduced, and explain why.
3. You are a consultant to the new White House Task Force
on Energy. The goal of the task force is to recommend new funding priorities
to the Congress in developing a sustainable energy policy. The policy must include
some conventional and some alternative energy sources.
- Compare two sources of energy: one
conventional (petroleum, coal, nuclear), and one alternative (solar, wind,
geothermal). In your comparison, consider:
- potential costs of all kinds (economic, environmental,
- any limits on the resource, or potential for expansion
- Be sure to explain the costs and limits thoroughly.
- Recommend future action with respect to these two