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Physical Geography Exam 2
Exam March 2012
What are the 4 most common atmospheric lifting mechanisms?
Convergent (low pressure), Convectional (local), Orographic, Frontal
What are air masses, & where do they form?
Large body of air with similar properties throughout, forming over the Gulf of Mexico or Canada
Naming convention for air masses, & 6 general air masses?
c(ontinental) P(olar), m(arine), T(ropical), A(rctic), AA (antarctic)
What are Cold Fronts?
Cold Fronts are cold air masses rapidly pushing warm air out of the way
What are Warm Fronts?
Warm Fronts are warm air flowing in where the cold air used to be.
What are Jet Streams? Why are they important?
High altitude winds, P(olar) orT(ropical) that interact over the US, causing more tornados here than anywhere else on Earth.
What is a mid-latitude cyclone?
The large scale weather patterns twisting in a counter-clockwise pattern over the US.
How is hail formed?
Rapid up-down drafts.
What country has the majority of tornadoes on earth, & why?
The U.S.: Supercells, especially with rotation, form them in the midwest from the interaction of major air masses.
What is the enhanced Fujita Scale?
A scale for measuring tornadoes, developed by Ted Fujita.
Where do hurricanes get their energy?
Warm moist air from hot water, the more so, the greater the power.
What factors produce storm surge, and where is it greatest?
Hurricanes produce storm surge & it is greatest on the counter-clockwise right side of a hurricane (in the northern hemisphere). Also, low pressure at the eye creates a pressure surge.
How is water on earth distributed?
Oceans 96%, Glaciers 3%, Underground 1%, Surface Water .009% [95.96%, 2.97%, 1.05%]
What is groundwater & why is it valuable?
Groundwater is water in the ground, valuable because there is 70x more of it.
What are the basic components of the Hydrological cycle?
Evaporation, Evapotranspiration, Transpiration, Sublimation, Precipitation, Infiltration, Percolation, Groundwater, Effluence, Runoff, Ocean, Evaporation...
What is transpiration?
When transexuals breathe. (ha ha) But seriously, check the plants.
What is potential evapotranspiration
How much water could be evapotranspirated if everything was saturated; Phoenix is the highest in the US because everything is hot & dry.
What contributes to runoff?
Precipitation levels, porosity, & permeability.
What is above and below the water table?
Zone of Aeration, Zone of Saturation
What determines absorption of groundwater?
Porosity & permeability
What is soaking in at the surface, & soaking in below the surface?
Infiltration, & below is percolation (like for coffee)
What are springs?
Effluent from aquifers
What is a perched water table?
An aquifer on top of an aquiclude
How does groundwater pumping affect the groundwater table? In coastal communities?
Lowers the groundwater table, encourages saltwater intrusion, creates a cone of depression, fissures due to uneven sinking
What is a cone of depression
My sadness about the water supply goes very deep near the well.
Is groundwater a renewable or non-renewable resource?
It depends on the renewal rate.
Where does Phoenix water come from?
Colorado River 40%, CAP Canal 21.3%
What is the importance of the Colorado River Compact of 1922?
Divides up Colorado River, with AZ mainly in the lower river below Lee's Ferry just below Glen River Dam.
How old is the Earth?
4.5 Billion years old, Billion with a B for the Blue Marble.
What are the important eras for life on Earth?
Paleozoic (Cambrian explosion to 90% die off), Mesozoic (dinosaurs 80% die off) &
What are Pleistocene & Holocene?
Pleistocene ("Most-Recent") icey time when people evolved, and Holocene ("Wholey-New"), current mostly stable warm period.
How do we know how old things are?
1) Relative dating (fossils, structure) & 2) Absolute Dating (isotopes, tree rings, etc.)
What is, "Half-Life"?
The time it take for half the parents to decay into daughters, & the relative proportion is used to date things.
Structure of the Earth?
Lithosphere, Asthenosphere (.1%), Mantle (42%), Outer Core (38%), Inner Core (20%)
Why do we have 2 classification schemes of Crust-Mantle-Core, & Lithosphere-Asthenosphere ?
Crust-Mantle-Core is based on seismic waves, & Lithosphere-Asthenosphere is based on plate tectonics
What is the relative prevalence of elements in the core vs. the crust?
Core 1) Iron, 2) Oxygen, 3) Silicon Crust 1) Oxygen, 2) Silicon 3) Aluminum
What is the difference between oceanic crust & continental crust?
What is Isostasy?
Lighter stuff floats above.
Which transfers heat more efficiently? Conduction or Convection?
Convection, heat being carried away physically, rather than Convection, heat moving in contact between two things.
What is a chemical element?
A chemical element is the smallest uniform substance indivisible by chemical means.
What is a mineral?
A solid inorganic chemical composition having an ordered atomic structure.
What's a rock?
A rock is a solid mass, not necessarily uniform in any way.
How much of the crust is made of the 2 most common elements?
47% Oxygen, 28% Silicon, but silicates are 90%
Ionic vs. Covalent Bonds?
Ionic is attraction (NaCL) with high melting points, Covalent is shared (H2O, diamonds) (& stronger) with VERY high melting points
Mafic vs. Felsic?
Magnesium-Ferous (silicates with much heavy metals) [More Marine Mafic] vs. [Floating] Feldspar-Silica (silicates without much heavy metals)
What is a silicate mineral? Why are these important?
Minerals with Silicon & Oxygen in them, which compose 90% of the Earth's crust.
What is the significance of Silicon Tetrahedrons?
SiO4 is in all Silicates, which compose 90% of the Earth's crust.
Quartz, Feldspars, Clays, Salts, Carbonates
The major types of rock?
Igneous, Sedimentary, Metamorphic
What is the top of "A" Mountain made of?
Intrusive vs. Extrusive Igneous
Intrusive forms its chrystals slowly & big deep in the Earth, Extrusive forms its chrystals fast & small in the atmosphere.
3 types of plate boundary?
1) Divergent, 2) Convergent 3) Transform (sliding past)
How fast do plates move?
How old is the oldest ocean floor?
200 million years old, relatively young because of subduction.
What is a Continental Arc?
Subduction of a oceanic plate under a continental plate to create an arc shaped mountain belt.
Warm moist Pacific Sloshback against Coriolis
Continental Glaciation affects sea levels how?
Sea levels lower
Milankovich Cycles are linked to climate change how?
Eccentricity, Precession, & Obliquity affect the seasons & days so the intensity & duration of sunlight changes
O18 is heavier, harder to vaporize, which can be detected in Glacial ice.