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Earth Science Regents Review Exam

January 1999

This exam measures your knowledge of Earth Science. It contains only part one of the exam,which covers most of the curriculum. When you are finished filling out the test press the "Submit" button.

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1) The graph below shows the relative amount of air pollution over a city for a period of several years.

Which statement about air pollution over this city is best supported by the graph?

  1. It is decreasing at a constant rate.
  2. It is increasing at a constant rate.
  3. It is a cyclic event.
  4. It has no pattern.

2) Which statement about a major hurricane is an inference?

  1. The windspeed is measured at 200 km./hr.
  2. The central air pressure is recorded at 946.0 Mb.
  3. A rain gauge records three inches of rain in less than one hour.
  4. Damage from the storm is expected to be extensive.

3) Which reference line passes through both the geographic North Pole and the geographic South Pole?

  1. 0 degrees latitude
  2. 0 degrees longitude
  3. Tropic of Cancer
  4. Tropic of Capricorn

4) The model below shows the apparent path of the sun on 3 days at a certain location in New York State

What would be the Sun's apparent path at this location on March 21?

  1. along path A-A'
  2. south of path A-A'
  3. along path B-B'
  4. north of path C-C'

5) Which diagram best represents the location of Polaris for an observer located at the Equator?

6) The diagrams below represent photographs of Venus at four different positions in its orbit, as taken from Earth.

At which position is Venus closest to Earth?

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D

7)The force of gravity between two objects is greatest when

  1. masses are small and the objects are close together.
  2. masses are small and the objects are far apart.
  3. Masses are large and the objects are close together.
  4. Masses are large and the objects are far apart.

8) Almost all of the water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere is contained in the

  1. mesosphere
  2. stratosphere
  3. troposphere
  4. thermosphere

9) When electromagnetic energy travel from air into water, the waves are bent due to the density differences between the air and water. This bending is called

  1. reflection
  2. refraction
  3. scattering
  4. absorption

10) Why are carbon dioxide and water vapor called the greenhouse gases?


  1. They are found in varying amounts in Earth's atmosphere.
  2. They are found in fixed amounts in Earth's bedrock.
  3. They are good reflectors of infrared radiation.
  4. They are good absorbers of infrared radiation.

11) The diagram below represents a Foucault pendulum swinging freely for 8 hours.

The pendulum appears to change its direction of swing because of Earth's

  1. tectonic plate movement.
  2. Force of gravity.
  3. Rotation.
  4. Revolution.

12) The diagram below shows four positions of a planet in its orbit around the Sun.

(The picture is not drawn to scale.)

At which position in the planet's orbital speed greatest?

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D

Base your answer to questions 13 and 14 on the diagram below. Soil and water were heated for 10 minutes from a starting temperature of 20 degrees Celsius.

13) What were the rates of heating for the soil and the water?

  1. soil: 1.8 Co /min; water: 0.4 Co /min
  2. soil: 9 Co /min; water: 2 Co /min
  3. soil: 20 Co /min; water: 20 Co /min
  4. soil: 38 Co /min; water: 24 Co /min

14) After the heat lamp is turned off and removed from the area, how will the cooling rates of the soil and water compare?

  1. The soil will cool faster because it is a good reflector.
  2. The soil will cool faster because it has a lower specific heat.
  3. The water will cool faster because it is a good absorber.
  4. The water will cool faster because it has a higher specific heat.

15) Insolation is often converted into potential energy by

  1. evaporation of water from the oceans.
  2. formation of fog in a valley.
  3. freezing of water droplets on a highway.
  4. precipitation of rain from a thunderstorm.

16) The diagram below shows Earth as viewed from space on December 21.

The longest duration of insolation on December will occur at

  1. 90o N
  2. 30o N
  3. 30o S
  4. 90o S

17) The latitude of an observer on Earth's surface can be determined by measuring the altitude of Polaris because Earth has a

  1. nearly spherical shape.
  2. nearly circular orbit around the Sun.
  3. variable length of day.
  4. fairly constant period of Revolution.

18) The highest air temperature ever recorded in Albany, New York, was 104 degrees F, which occurred on July 4, 1911. This temperature is equal to

  1. 35 oC
  2. 40 oC
  3. 45 oC
  4. 50 oC

19) The flowchart below shows one process by which moisture enters the atmosphere.

Soil --> Roots --> Stem --> Leaves --> Atmosphere

The last step of this process is known as

  1. condensation
  2. convection
  3. radiation
  4. transpiration

20) The primary cause of surface ocean currents is

  1. atmospheric winds.
  2. atmospheric precipitation.
  3. ocean water evaporation.
  4. Ocean floor earthquakes.

Base your answer to question 21 and 22 on the weather map below. The map shows a low-pressure system that is influencing the weather conditions in New York State.

21) Wind velocity is probably greatest at which city?

  1. Buffalo
  2. Rochester
  3. Syracuse
  4. Watertown

22) Surface air movements associated with this low-pressure system are best described as

  1. clockwise toward the center of the low-pressure system
  2. clockwise away from the center of the low pressure system
  3. counterclockwise toward the center of the low-pressure system
  4. counterclockwise away from the center of the low-pressure system

23) The air over the Equator generally rises because the air is


  1. dry and cool with low density.
  2. moist and hot with low density.
  3. Moist and cool with high density
  4. dry and hot with high density

24) Surface runoff is most likely to be greatest when rainfall lands on a soil surface that is

  1. porous and flat.
  2. porous and gently sloping
  3. impermeable and gently sloping
  4. unsaturated and flat

25) The map below shows the major climate zones on Earth.

The primary factor controlling these climate zones is

  1. elevation
  2. solar time
  3. latitude
  4. longitude

26) Which station model represents a location that is currently receiving some form of precipitation?

27) High concentrations of anaerobic bacteria (biologic water pollutants) are often caused by a decrease in the

  1. temperature of ground water.
  2. growth of aerobic bacteria in the water.
  3. amount of organic wastes in the water.
  4. Amount of oxygen dissolved in the water.

28) Which soil-property measurement usually is greater when particles are fine than when particles are coarse?

  1. infiltration
  2. capillarity
  3. porosity
  4. permeability rate

29)Which climatic conditions normally produce the greatest amount of chemical weathering?

  1. cool and dry
  2. cool and moist
  3. warm and dry
  4. warm and moist

30) Unsorted pile of angular sediments were most likely transported and deposited by

  1. wind.
  2. glaciers.
  3. Ocean waves.
  4. running water.

31) Which statement best describes the conditions existing at a stream location where the erosional-depositional system is in dynamic equilibrium?

  1. More erosion than deposition takes place.
  2. More deposition than erosion takes place.
  3. Equal amounts of erosion and deposition take place.
  4. No erosion or deposition takes place.

32) The graph below is incomplete because it does not identify the sediment characteristic (X) that would produce the line plotted on the graph.

Which label should be placed on the horizontal axis to accurately complete the graph?

  1. Particle Density Low --> High
  2. Particle size Small--> Large
  3. Particle Mass Light --> Heavy
  4. Particle Shape Round --> Flat

33) Which mineral can be found in granite, andesite, gneiss, and hornfels?

  1. quartz
  2. pyroxene
  3. olivine
  4. biotite mica

34) Which rock is made up of angular fragments of rock held together by natural cement?

  1. breccia
  2. scoria
  3. granite
  4. quartzite

35) Humus, which is formed by the decay of plant and animal matter, is important for the formation of most

  1. soils
  2. minerals
  3. sediment
  4. surface bedrock

36) Which property of the mineral diamond allows diamond powder to be used to shape gems for jewelry?

  1. crystal shape
  2. cleavage
  3. luster
  4. hardness

37) Which relative concentration of elements is found in mafic rock?

  1. A high concentration of silicon and a low concentration of iron.
  2. A high concentration of iron and a low concentration of aluminum.
  3. A high concentration of aluminum and a low concentration of iron.
  4. A high concentration of aluminum and a low concentration of magnesium.

38) A seismic station recorded the arrival of a P-wave at 10:00:00 a.m. The S-wave arrival was recorded at 10:04:20 a.m. What is the approximate distance between the earthquake epicenter and the seismic station?

  1. 1.1 x 103 km
  2. 2.2 x 103 km
  3. 2.9 x 103 km
  4. 7.2 x 103 km

39) Through which materials can P-waves travel?

  1. solid rock, only.
  2. magma and water, only
  3. magma, water and natural gas only
  4. solid rock, magma, water, and natural gas

40) Which observed feature would provide the best evidence of crustal stability?

  1. horizontal sedimentary layers.
  2. changed benchmark elevations
  3. folded, faulted, and tilted rock strata
  4. marine fossils at elevations high above sea level

41) Which cross sectional diagram of a portion of the crust and mantle best shows the pattern of mantle convection currents that are believed to cause the formation of a mid-ocean ridge?

42) New York State has no bedrock from which geologic time period?

  1. Cambrian
  2. Devonian
  3. Permian
  4. Cretaceous

43) An archeologist found an ancient skeleton estimated to be 10,000 to 25,000 years old. Which radioactive isotope would be most useful for finding the age of the skeleton?

  1. carbon-14
  2. potassium-40
  3. uranium-238
  4. rubidium-87

Base your answer to questions 44 and 45 on the map below. The map represents the movement of tectonic plates that resulted in the collision of India with Asia. Scientists believe that 71 million years ago, India was at position A.

44) Which present-day geologic feature in Nepal resulted from this collision?

  1. a rift valley
  2. a mountain range
  3. an oceanic ridge
  4. an oceanic trench

45) Which life-forms were living on Earth when India was at position A?

  1. humans
  2. dinosaurs
  3. trilobites
  4. armoured fishes

46) What is the estimated age of the Earth?

  1. 4.6 x 106 years
  2. 4.6 x 107 years
  3. 4.6 x 108 years
  4. 4.6x 109 years

Base your answer to questions 47 and 48 on the geologic cross section of the Grand Canyon. The numbers 1 through 10 represent Paleozoic sedimentary rock layers.

47) The unconformity between the Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and the Precambrian sedimentary rocks represents

  1. a gap in the geologic time record.
  2. an intrusion of igneous abundance of fossils.
  3. a region of metamorphic rock.

48) Which Paleozoic rock layer is oldest?

  1. 1
  2. 10
  3. 5
  4. 4

49) The primitive lobe-finned fish shown below is thought to be an ancestor of early amphibians.

This evolutionary development from fish to amphibian is believed to have occurred during the

  1. Triassic Period.
  2. Devonian Period.
  3. Tertiary Period.
  4. Permian Period.

50) Which evidence best indicates that a landscape has been eroded primarily by streams?

  1. Parallel sets of U-shaped valleys
  2. sand dunes
  3. thick residual soil
  4. sorted layers of cobbles and sand

51) Which New York State landscape region contains the oldest surface bedrock?

  1. Erie-Ontario Lowlands
  2. Allegheny Plateau
  3. Adirondack Mountains
  4. Tug Hill Plateau

52) The diagram below shows a cross section of a portion of Earth's crust. Altitude is shown in meters above sea level.

This landscape region is best classified as an eroded

  1. plain.
  2. plateau.
  3. domed mountain.
  4. folded lowland

53) The Erie-Ontario Lowlands of New York State are part of which larger landscape region?

  1. Interior Lowlands
  2. St. Lawrence Lowlands
  3. Allegheny Plateau
  4. Appalachian Plateau

54) The boundaries of landscape regions are generally well defined by changes in

  1. vegetation and soil type.
  2. stream size and drainage pattern.
  3. latitude and longitude.
  4. elevation and bedrock structure.

55) The block diagrams below show cross sections of the crust in a landscape that has undergone gradual change.

The hardened lava in this volcano's central pipe formed a mountain peak in the late stage because the lava plug was composed of

  1. soft igneous rock.
  2. soft metamorphic rock
  3. igneous rock that is resistant to erosion.
  4. metamorphic rock that is resistant to erosion.

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