Geology 140 - Environmental Geology
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Potential Exam Questions, Exam #1

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Potential Short Answer Questions

  1. Slovic identified two groups of factors that influence how people think about risk : the 'knowability" group, and the "dread" group. For each of these two groups, identify and explain at least five factors that make up the group (that means you need a total of ten factors. They should be ten distinct factors, not just a factor and its opposite. For example "red" and "not red" are two extremes of one factor, "redness").
  2. What is the doubling time of a population? How is it calculated?
  3. How are population growth, economic growth, and energy use related? Give examples to support your explanation.
  4. List and explain in detail three lines of evidence that global temperatures are increasing.
  5. List and describe in detail at least three global consequences of increasing global temperatures.
  6. Choose one region (Alaska, California, Gulf Coast) and discuss the likely consequences of rising atmospheric temperatures for that region.
  7. Contrast the four main types of plate boundaries (diverging, converging-subduction, converging-suture, and transform) with respect to how plates interact there, what geologic features occur there, and what natural hazards are associated with each.
  8. Contrast the three main types of lava (basalt, andesite, rhyolite) by their behavior and the type of volcano associated with each.
  9. Describe each of these volcanic hazards and the type of volcano each is associated with: lava, pyroclastics, lahars, gases.
  10. Contrast these four kinds of volcanoes, including the appearance, the plate setting, the type of lava, and the hazards associated with each: shield, stratovolcano, dome, cinder cone.
  11. Explain how earthquakes occur using elastic rebound theory.
  12. Describe the earthquake patterns associated with each of these plate boundaries: diverging, subduction, suture, transform.
  13. Compare the magnitude and intensity of an earthquake. For each, be sure to include a definition, how it is measured, and what factors affect it.
  14. You have been hired to write a public service brochure on earthquake preparedness. Write a list of the most important things to do to prepare for an earthquake. Include details.
  15. You are an earthquake safety consultant writing a brochure on safe and unsafe structures. Provide an annotated list of unsafe and safe building types, and a brief description of how to retrofit an older house to be earthquake-resistant.

Potential Essay Questions

1.Consider the Doonesbury cartoon below, where reporters are asking questions of an imaginary character called Fear Itself, who is defending the war in Iraq.

Ignore for a moment your personal political leanings and your positions on the war in Iraq, on gun violence, or on automobile use. Apply Slovic’s analysis of risk perception to this situation. Why might people regard the risk of terrorism as greater than the risk posed by guns or cars, even though there have been more deaths from either of those two sources than from terrorism? Be very specific in analyzing the question, referring to specific factors that play a part in people’s perception of risk.

2.You are a member of the International Volcanic Hazard Task Force. Your team is called out to evaluate the potential hazard from a specific volcano near a large urban area (you will be given a map and picture of the volcano at the time)

3. The Widget Company wants to establish the warehouse for their new Internet business in the San Francisco Bay Area in Alviso, at the south end of San Francisco Bay (see map). You are the consulting geologist hired to evaluate the site for earthquake hazards. Write a brief report to the company (it can be in the form of a list or chart if you prefer) detailing all possible hazards from earthquakes and their likelihood of occurring here. You should also include a recommendation of the safest kind of construction to use for the warehouse, and particularly dangerous kinds of construction that should be avoided.