Dr. Pearson

ESCI 111






            Planet Earth

·        What is physical geology?

·        What are the subdivisions of geology?

·        Know the spatial aspect of the solar system (planet)

·        Know some of the basic properties of the planets.

·        Terrestrial vs. Big Planets

·        Speed of Light question.

·        What is the plane of the ecliptic?  What is the angle of the earth’s axis with respect to the plane of the ecliptic?

·        What makes earth unique from the other planets

·        How far is earth from the sun?  When is the sun closest to the earth?

·        Vernal vs. Autumnal Equinox.

·        What effect has water had on earth?

·        What is the basic composition of the atmosphere?

·        What are the basic layers of the atmosphere?

·        What do the atmosphere, biosphere, and lithosphere have in common?

·        What percentage of the earth is covered by water?

·        How much of the earth’s water is fresh water?

·        What is the biosphere?  Where are its boundaries?

·        What is the lithosphere?   What two rock types make up the lithosphere?





Structure of the Earth

·        Know the compositional and structural layers of the earth. –this is a big topic.

·        What causes the earth’s magnetism?

·        Where is the magnetic pole?

·        Know the characteristics of the continents.

·        Know the components of a continent.

·        Know the characteristic of the ocean floor.

·        Know the major features of the ocean floor.

·        Know the three types of crustal deformation

·        Know the three basic types of folds

·        Know the three basic types of faults.

·        Know the hanging wall vs. the footwall.

·        What causes the plates to move?  What is convection in the mantle?

·        What causes mountains to form?  What causes ocean trenches?




The Dynamic Earth

·        Know the hydrologic process.

·        Know the basic characteristics for rivers, glaciers, groundwater, and shoreline systems.

·        What are some of the major problems with the hydrologic system?

·        What is a convergent plate boundary? Divergent? Transform?

·        What is isostacy?  Be able to give some examples of isostatic adjustment.

·        Where do earthquakes occur?  Why?

·        What is the name of the fault that is found just south of St. Louis?

·        How have humans been able to modify the hydrologic system?


            Geologic Time

·        Know the history of the attempts to date the earth.

·        Relative dating vs. absolute dating.

·        Know what an unconformity is.

·        Know the basic principals of relative dating.

·        Know the basic geologic time scale

·        What were the major subdivisions of the geologic time scale based upon.

·        Radioactive Decay (parent, daughter)

·        The half-life of the elements listed in class

·        How old the earth is scientifically estimated to be and how we can determine it

·        Know what geologic period we are currently experiencing

·        Did dinosaurs really exist during the Jurassic



·        What is a mineral – five primary characteristics

·        How is graphite different from a diamond?

·        Where and under what conditions do crystals form?

·        What is cleavage – What minerals have one, two, and three directions of cleavage?

·        What is hardness – What is the name of the hardness scale – list the primary minerals of the hardness scale.

·        How hard are a fingernail, a copper penny, and a glass plate?

·        What minerals have a high specific gravity?

·        How is color different from streak?  Which is the best for mineral identification?

·        What mineral has conchoidal fracture?  What mineral has an adamantine luster?

·        What minerals have a metallic luster?  Which minerals have striations?

·        What is conchoidal fracture?

·        What is a rhombus?


Igneous Rocks

·        Where do igneous rock originate (i.e., from what material)

·        What is magma?  What are the two types of magma?

·        Know the different textures of igneous rocks and where they are found

·        What is a porphyritic texture and under what conditions does it form?

·        What are the primary minerals found in granite and rhyolite?

·        What are the primary minerals found in granite and gabbro?

·        What kind of texture does pumice have?

·        Is granite intrusive or extrusive?  Is basalt intrusive or extrusive?

·        What color are mafic minerals?  What color are felsic minerals?

·        When does magma become lava?  What are the three types of volcanoes and their characteristics?

·        What are a batholith, laccolith, stock, dike, and a sill?

·        Where would one find a large batholith?


Sedimentary Rocks

·        Where do sedimentary rocks originate?

·        What is the process of sedimentary rock formation?

·        What are the basic types of sediment?

·        Clastic sediment is named according to size – what is this size breakdown?

·        What are some methods of clastic sediment movement?

·        What do we mean by rounding (when referring to sediment)?

·        What do we mean by well sorted?  How do different environments sort materials?

·        Define lithification – compaction – cementation.

·        Describe one process of chemical sediment deposition.

·        What causes deposition of clastic materials?

·        If a conglomerate is lithified gravel, what are sandstone, and siltstone?

·        Where does limestone originate (i.e., what is the process of formation)?

·        Name three different types of limestone?


Metamorphic Rocks

·        What does the word metamorphic mean?

·        Metamorphic rocks come from what other types of rocks?

·        What are the four causes of metamorphism?

·        Where does low-grade metamorphism occur?  High grade?

·        What are the three types of metamorphism?

·        How does the hydrothermal process work?

·        When one adds heat and pressure to shale, what is the resulting rock?

·        When one adds heat and pressure to quartz sandstone, what is the resulting rock?

·        When one adds heat and pressure to limestone, what is the resulting rock?

·        A gneiss results from what grade metamorphism? Schist and Slate?





·        What is the difference between mechanical and chemical weathering?

·        Know the different type of mechanical weathering and how they work.

·        Know the primary type of chemical weathering and basically, how they work.

·        How can jointing affect the mechanical weathering process (accelerate or decelerate?)

·        What is regolith?  What is the soil solum? 

·        What are the characteristics of the A-horizon and the B-horizon?

·        Know the difference between illuviation  and eluviation.

·        Know the fertility of soils that formed under different natural vegetation conditions

·        Know the five soil forming factors

·        What is the zone of accumulation, zone of leaching, etc.


Mass Movement

·        What is mass wasting?

·        Know the factors that control Mass Wasting.

·        What is creep. – Creep vs. Mudflow.

·        What is solifluction. – what is permafrost?

·        What is subsidence and what are the two primary ways that it can occur?


Stream Systems

·        Components of a stream.

·        stream gradient – be able to calculate.

·        Discharge – be able to calculate.

·        Things that affect stream flow.

·        Processes of stream erosion.

·        Competence vs. Capacity.

·        Types of sediment transport.

·        What happens when stream slow down?

·        Mid-channel bar vs. a point bar deposit.

·        Oxbow lake and meander scar.

·        Delta.

·        What is a flood plain?

·        Why do rivers and streams have large bends and curves?



·        What is groundwater?

·        Water table vs. zone of aeration

·        Porosity vs. permeability

·        Types of porosity

·        Types of rocks with low and high permeability

·        Characteristics of the water table

·        What causes the movement of groundwater?

·        What is hydraulic head?

·        What is a perched water table?

·        What causes an artesian well?

·        What causes the formation of a spring?

·        What causes a geyser?

·        What is the process of erosion by groundwater

·        How do caves form? – stalactite vs. stalagmite .

·        What are some of the changes occurring in our groundwater?