Research Activities




Courses Taught




Recommended Textbook:   
Tarbuck, E.J. and Lutgens, F.K. (2014). Earth: An Introduction to Physical Geology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 11th Edition


This course identifies and describes the geologic materials that make up the earth’s crust and explains the role of past and present geologic processes in changing the character of the earth surface over geologic time.

In this course students should be able to:

  • identify and describe the three main types of rocks that make up Earth's lithosphere,
  • understand the theory of plate tectonics and how it has revolutionized the field of geology
  • understand how the Earth works
  • understand the geologic time scale and how it is constructed
  • increase their physical landscape awareness and appreciation
  • understand human impacts on out physical environment


1 Introduction to Geology  ch. 1
2 Interior of the Earth  ch. 1 & 12
3 Introduction to Plate Tectonics ch. 2, 13 &14
ch. 2, 13 & 14
4 Matter and Minerals ch. 3
5 Magma, Igneous Activity and Igneous Rocks ch. 4 & 5
6 Weathering and Sedimentary Rocks ch. 6 and 7
7 Metamorphism & Metamorphic Rocks ch. 8
8 The Geologic Time Scale ch. 9
9 Earth Surface Processes: Mass Wasting ch. 15
10 Earth Surface Processes: Running Water ch. 16
11 Earth Surface Processes: Glacier and Glaciation ch. 18
12 Groundwater Systems ch. 17




INSTRUCTIONS:     Answer TWO questions.  Each answer MUST NOT exceed
typed pages. Read the class textbook, class notes and other sources before attempting the questions.


1.         (a)        Draw a diagram of the internal structure of the Earth and briefly
                        describe its core,  mantle and core.

(b)        What is paleomagnetic anomaly of the ocean floor rocks?

2.         Write all you know about the following:

(a)        silicate minerals (diagrams required)                 
            (b)        chemical bonds

3.         Describe the concept of continental drift and outline its major weaknesses

4.         Describe the major landform features and processes associated with:

(a)        subduction plate boundaries  (b)        Divergent plate boundaries

5.         Describe Mount St. Helen and explain how its volcano is related to plate tectonics (Diagrams are required).




1.         Physical geology is the science of the earth focusing on:

A.         The chronology of geologic events
B.         The structural materials of the earth
C.         Geologic processes 
D.         Asking and answering when questions about the earth 
E.         B and C

2.         The earth's moon and the planet mercury are described as primitive bodies because:

A.         Their basic surface features have remained unchanged shortly after their
B.         Of the lack of internal heat to drive any major internal geologic processes early in
            their history
C.         Of the lack of the hydrological cycle and effective atmosphere to drive external
            geologic processes early in their history
D.         Of the rotation of the bodies
E.         A, B, and C

3.         The most dominant gas in the earth's atmosphere by percentage volume is:

A.         Oxygen     B.     Helium     C.     Nitrogen     D.     Hydrogen

4.         Internal layers of the earth based on composition consist of:

A.         Asthenosphere, core, crust, mesosphere
B.         Crust, mantle, core
C.         Lithosphere, crust, mantle, mesosphere
D.         Mesosphere, core, asthenosphere, lithosphere
E.         Crust, shield, mantle, asthenosphere

5.         Submarine canyons are most numerous and best developed on the:

A.         Continental slopes        B.        Continental rise     C.     Abyssal region
D.         Continental shelf             E.        Oceanic ridge

6.         The thermal layers of the earth's atmosphere consist of the following, except:

A.         Troposphere     B.     Mesosphere     C.     Ionosphere    D.    Thermosphere 
E.         Stratosphere

7.         The zone of soft plastic rock beneath the lithosphere is called the:

A.         Magnetosphere     B.     Thermosphere     C.     Mantle    D.    Outer core 
E.         Asthenosphere

8.         Most of our knowledge of the interior of the earth comes from

A.         information derived from deep oil wells
B.         Density measurements
C.         Deep mines
D.         Behavior of seismic waves passing through the Earth

9.         Which of the following is the most appropriate path of water from the ocean to the
            continent in the hydrological cycle?

A.         Evaporation, precipitation, condensation, runoff
B.         Precipitation, evaporation, runoff, condensation
C.         Evaporation, condensation, precipitation, runoff
D.         Runoff, precipitation, evaporation

10.        The term "maria" is currently used to describe which of the following features on the
            earth's lunar surface?

A.         Impact craters     B.     Lava plains     C.     Luna volcanoes    D.    Dry river valleys 
E.         Plateau surfaces

11.        The rock forming the mantle layer of the earth's interior is:

A.         Granite     B.     Basalt     C.     Gabbro    D.    Quartzite     E.     Peridotite

12.        Most of the earth's continental landscape was formed by

A.         Glacial processes    B.    Stream erosion    C.    Volcanism    D.    Wind erosion
E.         Ground water actions

13.        Which of the following is Not true about the asthenosphere?

A.         It is close to its melting point
B.         It occurs within the upper mantle
C.         It is part of the crust
D.         It is a "weak" layer below the lithosphere
E.         Seismic wave velocity is drastically reduced in this layer

14.        The density of the earth's core is:

A.         About the same as that of the crust
B.         More than that of the crust
C.         Less than that of the crust
D.         Less than that of the mantle
E.         About the same as that of the mantle

15.        The lithosphere is:

A.         The outermost solid layer of the earth
B.         A layer above the asthenosphere
C.         A rigid layer that is about 100 km thick
D.         In continuous motion
E.         All of these answers

16.        The major wind system operating between latitude 30oN and 60o N is:

A.         Northeast trade winds     B.        Southeast trade winds    C.    Westerlies 
D.         Polar Easterlies

17.        Continental shields are composed of:

A.         Younger rocks associated with mid-oceanic ridge
B.         Horizontal sedimentary rock
C.         Intensely deformed metamorphic rocks and igneous intrusions
D.         Mainly basaltic rocks
E.         Folded lava overlain by sedimentary rocks

18.        A stable platform is a region characterized by

A.         No vertical crustal movement until recent times
B.         A complete lack of deformed rocks at any depth
C.         Numerous folds and faults
D.         Horizontal sedimentary rocks overlying the crystalline Basement Complex rocks
E.         Extensive exposures of igneous and metamorphic rocks

19.        Which of the following statements concerning the oceanic ridge is NOT true?

A.         It has a series of parallel folds like the Appalachian Mountains
B.         It has a rift valley along its central axis
C.         It extends continuously into all major oceans of the world
D.         It is cut by numerous fracture zones (transform faults)
E.         It is a broad, up-arched region of the ocean basin

20.        The deepest portion of the ocean basin is in the Mariana Trench with a depth of about:

A.         -2.32 km     B.     -8.84 km     C.     -11.03 km     D.     -840 m

21.        Which of the following statements is NOT correct?

A.         Equatorial diameter of the earth is longer than the polar diameter by about 27 miles
B.         P-waves can pass through liquid outer core of the earth while S-waves cannot
C.         Oceanic crust is referred to as SIMA rocks while continental crust are referred to as
D.         Africa is the largest continent while North America is the smallest continent on earth
E.         95% of total land is said to the opposite water bodies on the globe thereby exhibiting an
            antipodal relationship


1.         The three most abundant elements in the earth crust by percentage weight are:
A.        Chlorine, sodium, hydrogen
B.        Oxygen, silicon, aluminum
C.        Aluminum, hydrogen, carbon
D.        Silicon, magnesium, sodium
E.         Aluminum, chlorine, helium

2.         Which of the following is a silicate complex ion?
A.        (CO3)2-             B.         (SO4)2-             C.        (NO3)-             D.        (SiO4)4-
E.         (PO4)3-
3.        The color of a mineral in its powdered form is called
A.        Luster       B.     Cleavage     C.     Streak    D.    Crystal form    
E.        Mineraloid

4.         According to Moh's hardness scale, which of the following minerals is the softest?
A.    Gypsum     B.     Quartz     C.     Diamond     D.     Apatite    E.    Orthoclase

5.         The sum of protons and neutrons present in an atom is called
A.    Atomic number     B.     Atomic mass number     C.     Isotope   
D.     Anion                  E.     Nucleus

6.         Which of the following compounds exhibits covalent bonding?
A.    Halite     B.     Diamond     C.     Graphite    D.    Water     E. B and D

7.         Which of the following features develop where plates converge and one descends
            into the mantle?
A.        a mid-oceanic ridge
B.        a seamount chain
C.        an abyssal plain
D.        a trench
E.        a fracture system

8.         At a convergent boundary, tectonic plates
A.        slide past each other
B.        move away from each other
C.        move toward each other
D.        move over spreading centers
E.        do not move

9.         Which of the following represents the earliest stages of continental rifting?
A.        the Atlantic Ocean
B.        the rift valleys of East Africa
C.        the Red Sea
D.        the Aleutian Trench
E.        the North Sea

10.       The movement of lithospheric plates is believed to be driven primarily by
A.        solar energy                  B.         Earth's rotation             C.        isostacy
D.        mantle convection         E.         geomagnetism

11.       Which of the following was not used as evidence to support Wegner's continental
            drift hypothesis but used to support the theory of plate tectonics?
A.        geometric fit of the shorelines of South America and Africa
B.         fossils of the same land animals and plants are found on widely separated
C.        ice sheets that covered portions of India and the southern continents 250 million
            years ago
D.        coalfields of United States, Europe, Antarctica and Asia
E.         paleomagnetic stratigraphy

12.       Which of the following plates is composed entirely of oceanic crust?
A.        African plate         B.     Nazca plate            C.     North American plate
D.        Australian plate     E. South American plate

13.       Which of the following pairs of minerals are polymorphs of FeS2?
A.        pyrite and calcite         B.     quartz and aragonite    C.     graphite and opal
D.        pyrite and marcasite    E. aragonite and opal

14.       Which of the following statements is not correct?
A.        A mineral is naturally occurring inorganic solid with specific composition and
            crystal structure
B.         A chemical bond in which ions are closely packed because electron sharing
            occurs in the inner electron shell is a common feature of metallic bonding
C.        earthquake activity is commonly associated with transform faults
D.        Plates containing continental crust move down into the asthenosphere at deep-sea
            trenches and are consumed.

E.         Silicate complex ions are the most important in the formation of rock minerals

15.       Crystallization of a mineral from a solution
A.        requires a proper pressure
B.        requires a proper concentration of specific atoms or ions
C.        occurs by the addition of atoms to a crystal face
D.        requires a proper temperature
E.         all of these answers

16.       Which of the following common minerals is NOT a silicate mineral?
A.        muscovite (mica)     B.    potassium feldspar     C.    garnet
D.        gypsum                   E.    hornblende

17.       Which of the following statements about silicates is NOT TRUE?
A.        95% of the earth crust is made of silicate minerals
B.        All silicate minerals have a common building block or backbone called silicon-
           oxygen tetrahedron or the (SiO4)4- complex ion
C.        Feldspars are the most abundant of all silicate minerals
D.        Ferromagnesian silicate minerals are dark in color because of the presence of iron
           and magnesium in their chemical composition
E.        White mica is a ferromagnesian silicate

18.       Black mica is:
A.        Olivine     B.     Muscovite     C.     Augite     D.     Biotite    E.     Quartz

19.       Carbon with atomic mass number of 13 has:
A.        6 protons and 7 neutrons
B.        7 protons and 6 neutrons
C.        8 protons and 5 neutrons
D.        9 protons and 4 neutrons
E.        All of the above

20.       Which of the following is not a correct statement about minerals:
A.        They are naturally occurring
B.         They are inorganic solids
C.        Most have a regular internal crystal structure
D.        They have definite chemical composition
E.         They are inorganic liquids and gases

21.       At a transform boundary, tectonic plates
A.        slide past each other
B.         move away from each other
C.        move toward each other
D.        move over spreading centers
E.         move vertically

22.       In addition to continental Africa, the Africa plate includes the:
A.        eastern half of the south Atlantic ocean crust and western portion of Indian ocean

B.         western half of the south Atlantic ocean crust and eastern portion of the Indian
            ocean crust
C.        Cocos plate and Nazca plate
D.        eastern half of the Pacific Ocean crust
E.         the mid-oceanic ridge

23.       The strips of high-intensity magnetism represent zones where the paleomagnetism
            of the oceanic crust is of the
A.        reverse polarity                         B.         normal polarity        C.     neutral polarity
D.        polar wandering type                E.         A and B

24.       Ionic substitution is
A.        substitution of similar crystal structures in a mineral
B.         substitution of ions within the mineral without a change in a crystalline structure
C.        substitution of an ion for an electron
D.        a change from an atom to an ion
E.         a change in crystal structure

25.       Which of the following is an example of a single chain silicate mineral?
A.     Olivine     B.     Quartz     C.     Pyroxene    D.    Chlorite     E. Clay minerals



1.         Which list shows magmas in order of INCREASING viscosity?

A.        rhyolite, andesite, basalt

B.         andesite, basalt, rhyolite

C.        basalt, rhyolite, andesite           

D.        basalt, andesite, rhyolite

E.         rhyolite, basalt, andesite

2.         A rock with an aphanitic texture indicates the parent magma

A.        was generated at a divergent plate margin.

B.         cooled slowly.

C.        cooled rapidly.

D.        experienced two periods of cooling, first slow and then fast.

E.         formed at convergent plate margins.

3.         An igneous rock consisting of broken fragments of crystals, shards of quenched magma, and rock fragments has a

A.        pyroclastic texture.    B.         phaneritic texture.         C.        glassy texture.

D.        phanitic texture.            E.         porphyritic texture.

4.         Andesite volcanoes occur most frequently

A.        along continental margins.

B.         on stable platforms.      

C.        in linear chains of volcanic islands like Hawaii.

D.        along continental rift zones.

E.         along mid-oceanic ridges.

5.         Which of the following is NOT an igneous intrusion?

A.        laccolith            B.         dike      C.        sill                    D.        stock

E.         pressure ridge

6.         The surface of a lava flow, characterized by a jumbled mass of angular blocks, is referred to as:

A.        splatter joints.               B.         laccolith.           C.        pahoehoe.

D.        pressure ridges.            E.         aa.

7.         Silicic magma typically produces

A.        spatter cones.               B.        composite volcanoes.

C.        cinder cones.                D.        shield volcanoes.

E.         fissure eruptions.

8.         The cooling of basalt often produces vertical fractures due to shrinkage, and results in hexagonal prisms of rock. These fractures are called

A.        fissures.                        B.         faults.               C.        pahoehoes.

D.        pressure ridges.            E.         columnar joints.

9.         A narrow, tabular body of intrusive rock that cuts across the structures of the surrounding rock is termed a

A.        stock.               B.         sill.                   C.        dike.    D.        laccolith.

E.         batholith.

10.       Volcanic glass is produced by

A.                 slow cooling.                                                   

B.                 rapid cooling.   

C.        any two different rates of cooling.

D.        rapid cooling followed by slow cooling.

E.         slow cooling followed by rapid cooling.

11.       The rate of crystallization of an igneous rock will greatly influence its

A.        color.               B.        grain size.       C.        density.

D.        chemical composition.   E.         all of the above

12.       The texture of this igneous rock suggests that


A.                 it cooled rapidly.                                              

B.        it cooled in two different stages.

C.        it cooled slowly at a uniform rate.

D.        recrystallized in the solid state.

E.         formed from a pyroclastic flow.

13.       Sedimentary rocks

A.        form by compaction and cementation of loose sediment.

B.         are widespread on the continents and ocean floor.

C.        are common on the stable platforms of all continents.

D.        may be found in folded layers in mountain belts.

E.         all of the above

14.       The mineral calcite (CaCO3) is the major constituent of

A.        limestone.       B.         dolomite.          C.        shale.                D.        coal.

E.         sandstone.

15.       Which of the following is the most abundant nonclastic rock (deposited by chemical or organic means)?

A.        marine limestone        B.         rock salt           C.        dolostone

D.        gypsum                         E.         dripstone  

16.       Which of the following rocks is NON-CLASTIC Sedimentary rock?

A.        rock salt          B.         conglomerate    C.        siltstone           

D.        sandstone         E.         shale

17.       The rock most unrelated to the others is

A.        sandstone.        B.         conglomerate.               C.        mudstone.

D.        limestone.       E.         shale.

18.       Transportation and deposition of sediment by turbidity currents is commonly indicated by

A.        mud cracks.      B.         cross-bedding. C.        graded bedding.

D         ripple marks.    E.         horizontal laminae.

19.       Cross-bedding is commonly found in

A.        coal.                             B.         shale.                C.        sandstone.

D.        rock gypsum.                E.         rock salt.

20.       Which of the following would NOT be expected in sedimentary rocks?

A.        fossils               B.        vesicles           C.        ripple marks

D.        mud cracks

21.       The material from which chemically-precipitated sedimentary rocks are made is transported to the place of deposition

A.        by wind.                       B.         as silt.               C.        as sediment particles.

D.        as clastic particles.        E.         in solution.

22.       The shoreline sedimentary environment includes all but

A.        deltas.                          B.         beaches.           C.        flood plains.

D.        barrier islands. E.         lagoons.

23.       Well-sorted, fine-grained sand deposited in cross-bedded units several tens of feet thick would likely represent which of the following environments?

A.        deep marine                  B.        eolian              C.        fluvial   

D.        shallow marine E.         beach

24.       Fossil remains of ancient organisms are most commonly found in

A.        basalt.              B.         granite.             C.        metamorphic rocks.

D.        gypsum.            E.         sedimentary rocks

25.       Which of the following is not the result of vent eruption?
A.     Shield volcano     B.         Cinder cone      C.        Strato-volcano
D.    Volcanic neck       E.         Pillow basalt

26.       Lithification process involving the transformation of organic materials into solid carbon called coal is known as:
A.        Cementation                 B.         Compaction      C.        Weathering
D.        Re-crystallization       E.         Magmatism

27.       Which of the following particles in sedimentary rocks is smallest in size?
A.        Silt       B.        Clay                C.        Gravel              D.        Sand

28.       Fine dark-colored layers in valves are often deposited in

            A.        Spring             B.         Summer            C.        Winter              D.        Fall

29.       Which of the following is not sedimentary rock?

            A.        rock gypsum                 B.         limestone          C.        rhyolite
            D.        sandstone                     E.         shale

30.       Which is the most universal feature of sedimentary rock?

31.       Which is the most common clastic sedimentary rock?

32.       Which igneous rock texture indicate two stages (or rates) of magma cooling?

33.       What are batholiths?

34.       What is common to granite, rhyolite and obsidian?



1.         Marble is metamorphosed from which of the following rocks?

            A.     Shale                      B.   Quartz sandstone               C.        Granite
D.    Limestone           E.    Siltstone

2.         Formation of metamorphic rock NEVER involves which of the following?
            A.        formation of new minerals from old
            B.     increase in density 
            C.    complete melting of the material from which it formed  
            D.    change in orientation of mineral from which it formed
            E.       change in shape of mineral grains

3.         Which of the following is NOT the result of metamorphism?

A.                 growth of new materials

B.                 development of alignment of minerals within the rock body

C.                 re-crystallization of minerals

D.                deep weathering of feldspar-rich rocks

E.                  conglomerate pebbles deformed into long elliptical shapes

4.         Which of the following is NOT foliated metamorphic rock?

A.       gneiss                    B.       schist                     C.       slate                     D.       marble

5.       Which of the following metamorphic rocks represents the highest intensity of

A.        slate    B.         quartzite         C.        schist       D.        gneiss                 E.      marble

6.         Which of the following is NOT an accurate statement about metamorphic rocks?

A.     The original rocks have been intensely altered.

B.     Grains commonly have a preferred orientation.

C.     They constitute a large part of the continental crust.

 D.  They are commonly strongly stratified.

7.         Which of the following metamorphic rocks is formed under very low pressure and low temperature?

A.     Zeolite                              B.         Blueschist                     C.        Greenschist      

D.  Granulite                             E.         Sanidinite

8.         Which of the following metamorphic rocks is most likely to be formed at the oceanic trench where an oceanic crust is being subducted underneath another plate

A.     Greenscist facies                             B.         Granulite facies

C.   Eclogite facies                                D.        Blueschist facies

E.      Sanidinite

9.         Which of the following rocks does not belong to the group?

A.     Gneiss                    B.        Granite           C.        Slate                 D.   Marble

 E.   Hornfels

10.     The parallel re-alignment of rod-like minerals during metamorphism is:

            A.        slaty cleavage               B.         schistocity         C.        banding
D.        lineation                      E.         foliation

11.         Which of the following pairs of parent rock and its metamorphosed equivalent is NOT correctly matched?

A.        sandstone - quartzite                 B.         shale - slate

C.        limestone - schist                   D.        granite - gneiss

E.                  conglomerate - metaconglomerate

12.       The texture exhibited by slate, schist, and gneiss is called

A.        fracture                         B.         stratification.                 C.        cleavage          
            D.        foliation
                       E.            alignment

13.       Metamorphism

A.        occurs during the deep burial of rock bodies

B.         occurs around igneous intrusion

C.        develops from strong directed horizontal stresses

D.                 commonly produces foliation that is not parallel with the original bedding

of the rock being metamorphosed

E.         all of the above
14.       Which of the following can cause metamorphism?

A.        chemical action of fluids

B.         increases in pressure

C.        increases in temperature

D.                all of the above

15.       Which of these rocks is not a metamorphic rock?

            A.        slate                 B.         marble              C.        sandstone      

            D.        quartzite           E.         gneiss

16.       Increased pressure on rocks during metamorphism may result in:
A.        rocks becoming plastic in behavior
B.         changes in rock texture & mineralogy
C.        re-orientation of mineral grains
D.        closer atomic packing and compression, elongation or rotation   of         mineral grains

            E.         All of the above

17.       The parallel arrangement of large platy minerals is best described as

            A.        slaty cleaveage  B.        schistosity       C.        gneissic layering

            D.        metasomatism               E.         migmatite

18.       Which of the following index minerals indicates lowest grade metamorphism?

            A.        chlorite            B.         biotite               C.        garnet

            D.        staurolite           E.         sillimanite

19.       The only metamorphic rock in this list is:

            A.        sandstone         B.         basalt               C.        slate

            D.        shale                 E.         rhyolite

20.       Exposures of metamorphic rocks are most widespread in:

A.        young mountains         B.         shields               C.       oceanic Islands              
D.        plateaus                      E.         stable platforms

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