Santa Monica College Geology Discussion


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1. In the Beecher’s trilobite bed, trilobites have been fossilized in their entirety,
including soft and delicate parts such legs and antennae, and are exquisitely
preserved in what uncommon mineral?
a. Calcite
b. Silica
c. Gypsum
d. Pyrite
e. Hematite
2. The importance of the Bertie Waterlime lies in the abundant well-preserved
remains of eurypterids and other arthropods
a. True
b. False
3. The Gilboa Lagerstätten shows evidence of the colonization of land
a. True
b. False
4. At Gilboa both herbivores and carnivore tetrapods have been found
a. True
b. False
5. Anoxic conditions in Carboniferous mires favored the formation of coal seams
a. True
b. False
6. The structures of the petrified logs found in the Chinle Formation have been
preserved in chert
a. True
b. False
7. The Morrison Formation dinosaurs are Cretaceous in age
a. True
b. False
8. The Green River Formations records a shallow marine environment of deposition
a. True
b. False
9. Fossil leaves were found at Florissant, but not in the Green River Formation
a. True
b. False
10. A lobed leaf, either fossil or recent, would indicate a warmer climate
a. True
b. False
11. The opening of the Weddell Sea is thought to be a triggering factor in the onset
of a new icehouse phase after the Eocene
a. True
b. False
12. Preservation in amber offers a complete record of the kind of organisms living in
that environment, at that time
a. True
b. False
13. The reason why fossils can be preserved in amber is because no oxygen can
penetrate it after its induration
a. True
b. False
14. The fossils at La Brea Tar Pits can be dated with 14C methods
a. True
b. False
15. At Mazon Creek, fossils are found:
a. In dolomite rocks
b. Within siderite concreations
c. Covered with sulfate
d. As carbon films
e. None of these
16. Dinosaurs whose bones are arranged similarly to living birds are part of what
a. Ichthyosaurs
b. Saurischians
c. Ornithischians
d. Velociraptors
e. Pterodactyls
17. The age of Green River Formation lagerstätten is:
a. Paleocene
b. Oligocene
c. Eocene
d. Miocene
e. Pliocene
18. The genus Knightia is extremely common in the Green River
Formation. Knightia is a…
a. Snake
b. Turtle
c. Butterfly
d. Herring
e. Fern
19. The fossils at the La Brea Tar Pits are actually preserved in:
a. Chert
b. Carbon films
c. Tar
d. Sandstone
e. Asphalt
20. The creatures fossilized in the Siberian and Alaskan permafrost were kept intact
a. Rapid burial
b. Desiccation by freezing
c. Freeze drying
d. Hydration
e. None of these
21. Most of Earth’s surface …
a. Is at sea level
b. Lies above sea level
c. Lies below sea level
d. None of these
22. A herbivore is a(n) …
a. Producer
b. Primary consumer
c. Secondary consumer
d. Omnivore
e. Scavenger
23. Earth’s axis is tilted by 23.5° with respect to the ecliptic. When the Earth’s axis is
pointing directly towards the Sun, what season is it in the Northern Hemisphere?
a. Spring
b. Summer
c. Fall
d. Winter
24. You know that Earth’s orbit is elliptical, and not circular. That means that at
different times during one year, Earth is at continuously different distances from
the Sun. During what northern hemisphere season is Earth at its maximum
distance from the Sun?
a. Spring
b. Summer
c. Fall
d. Winter
25. Air always moves from high-pressure regions to low pressure regions. Movement
of air on the ground is called …
a. A current
b. Jet stream
c. A wind
d. The greenhouse effect
e. Anoxia
26. A wind in motion in the southern hemisphere is …
a. Deflected to the right
b. Moving upward
c. Going straight, with no restrictions
d. Deflected to the left
e. Moving towards the ground
27. The seafloor (either shallow or deep) is where most species in the fossil record
have been preserved
a. True
b. False
28. Deep-ocean currents are driven by …
a. Winds
b. Waves
c. Changes in water density
d. Earthquakes
e. All of these
29. The fossil of a fish, without further specifications, indicates …
a. A marine environment
b. A fluvial environment
c. A lacustrine environment
d. An aquatic environment
30. The first person to clarify the three basic principles of stratigraphy was ….
a. Steno
b. Hutton
c. Smith
d. Darwin
e. Wegener
31. An inclusion within a rock is always …
a. The same age of the rock
b. Older than the rock
c. Younger than the rock
d. None of these
32. Unconformities ….
a. Are surfaces and not layers
b. Indicate that the geologic record at that spot is incomplete
c. Were first described by james hutton
d. All of these
33. Geologists estimate the age of Earth to be over 4 billion years old. The
evidence comes from:
a. Radioactive dating of rocks
b. Milankovitch cycles
c. Waves and tides
d. All of these
e. None of these
34. A relative rise in sea level is called a transgression
a. True
b. False
35. Which of the following is a low-energy environment?
a. A sand dune
b. A river
c. An alluvial fan
d. The deep ocean
e. A beach
36. A body of sediment that has distinctive characteristics, which point to a specific
sedimentary environment is called …
a. A biozone
b. A sedimentary facies
c. A chron
d. A member
e. A Milankovitch cycle
37. To correlate means to establish equivalency in space
a. True
b. False
38. The Triassic System is a …
a. Rock unit
b. Time unit
c. Time rock unit
d. Magnetostratigraphic unit
e. None of these
39. The stage has been called the basic working unit of chronostrtigraphy and is
defined by its boundary stratotypes
a. True
b. False
40. A biozone is …
a. An abstract unit based on fossils
b. A series of fossils collected around the world
c. An actual physical body of rock
d. None of these
41. Which of the following is an abstract unit that cannot be touched?
a. A system
b. An epoch
c. A series
d. A stage
42. When you read C1N you think of …
a. An ancient magnetic unit
b. An ancient Milankovitch cycle
c. The current magnetic unit we are living in
d. An android from Star Wars
e. An android from Star Trek
43. In sequence stratigraphy, sedimentary successions are split into distinct
stratigraphic units at the basin level, called sequences, Sequences are separated
one from the other through …..
a. Faults
b. Unconformities
c. Fossils
d. Changes in lithology
e. None of these
44. An obliquity cycle is a Milankovitch cycle with a periodicity of about …
a. 20,000 years
b. 40,000 years
c. 100,000 years
d. 400,000 years
45. Milankovitch cycles are global and synchronous: they should be recognizable in
all sedimentary environments. As a matter of fact, Milankovitch cycles are
more readily interpreted from…
a. Aeolian environments
b. Fluvial environments
c. Coastal environments
d. Shallow marine environments
e. Deep marine environments
46. What is the numerical age of a sabertooth cat bone that contains 25% of the 14C
in the atmosphere?
a. 5730 years
b. 11460 years
c. 17190 years
d. 22920 years
47. Which of the following can be dated with numerical methods?
a. A sedimentary rock
b. A dinosaur bone
c. The Gunflint fossils
d. A crystal of calcite
e. A human bone
48. Which series represents the longest time interval, 27 tree rings or 27 varves?
a. 27 tree rings
b. 27 varves
c. None, they both represent 27 years
d. We do not have enough info to tell
49. When large number of taxonomic groups vanish at the same time, we have a(n)

a. Pseudo extinction
b. Punctuated extinction
c. Mass extinction
d. Evolutionary convergence
e. Adaptive breakthrough
50. The greatest mass extinction of all times occurred at the …
a. Oligocene / Eocene boundary
b. Cretaceous / Paleogene boundary
c. Permian / Triassic boundary
d. None of these
51. Evolution is irreversible
a. True
b. False
52. Tensional stresses are typical of divergent boundaries
a. True
b. False
53. Faults cannot form at divergent boundaries
a. True
b. False
54. When applying a stress to a rock, a certain strain occurs. If, upon removing the
stress, the strain disappears, then the behavior of the rock is said to be brittle,
and the rock to be fragile
a. True
b. False
55. Shear stress occurs, for instance, along strike-slip faults
a. False
b. True
56. A fracture along which movement occurs is called a joint
a. True
b. False
57. While the lithosphere is, in general, brittle, the asthenosphere has a ductile
a. True
b. False
58. All kinds of fault motions occur in the direction of the dip
a. True
b. False
59. Strike and dip are always perpendicular one to the other
a. True
b. False
60. The measure of the dip provides the orientation of a surface with respect to the
a. True
b. False
61. Motion of a fault hanging wall downward with respect to the footwall is caused by
a. True
b. False
62. Normal faults are always dip-slip faults
a. True
b. False
63. In the lithosphere, compression causes reverse faults
a. True
b. False
64. When a stress is applied to a rock, and the rock breaks, we observe:
a. No strain
b. Elastic strain
c. Brittle strain
d. Ductile strain
e. None of these
65. What is the value of dip for vertical layers?
a. 0°
b. 45°
c. 90°
d. Dip does not exist for vertical layers
e. Dip exists for vertical layers but it cannot be measured
66. When, at Earth’s surface, you observe a pattern of joints at 90° (as it happens
throughout the Colorado Plateau) we know that the area was subject to:
a. Tension
b. Compression
c. Subsidence
d. Shear
e. Uplift
67. If, in a sedimentary sequence, the dip angle is consistently 0°, then the layers
a. Horizontal
b. Slightly tilted
c. Vertical
d. Folded
e. None of these
68. A thrust fault is a special type of:
a. Normal fault
b. Strike-slip fault
c. Reverse fault
d. Fracture
e. None of these
69. Which of the following situations would be a possible hint to the existence of a
major thrust fault? (think carefully)
a. Cambrian rocks over Precambrian rocks
b. Ordovician rocks over Precambrian rocks
c. Precambrian rocks over Cretaceous rocks
d. Ordovician rocks over Cambrian rocks
e. Ordovician rocks over Cretaceous rocks
70. A type of faulting defined as “block faulting” forms when blocks of crust are
produced by extension. Faults will in this case be:
a. Normal
b. Reverse
c. Thrust
d. Transform
71. Folds are typically formed in compressional tectonic environments
a. True
b. False
72. While faulting causes permanent strain, folding is temporary (or, folds can be
“stretched” back into their original shape, but faults cannot be “sewn” back
a. True
b. False
73. The limbs of a fold can never dip in the same direction
a. True
b. False
74. The dip at the core of both a syncline and an anticline (along the hinge line) is
exactly the same, and that is 0°
a. True
b. False
75. Overturned faults are characterized by having their limbs dipping in the same
a. True
b. False
76. If the hinge line is not horizontal, a fold is said to be a plunging fold
a. True
b. False
77. Recumbent folds are typical of mountain chains forming at continent/continent
convergent boundaries
a. True
b. False
78. A concave upward open fold is called:
a. Direct
b. Reverse
c. Syncline
d. Anticline
e. Normal
79. When the axis of a fold is not horizontal, and the rocks at its core are older than
the rocks around it, the fold is called:
a. Syncline
b. Anticline
c. Plunging syncline
d. Plunging anticline
e. None of these
80. If, in a geologic structure, all the dip directions point away from a central single
location, you are looking at a(n):
a. Generic open fold
b. Dome
c. Overturned fold
d. Syncline
e. Basin
81. Which of the following would be examples of water reservoirs?
a. Rivers
b. The atmosphere
c. The oceans
d. Aquifers
e. All of these
82. Anoxic conditions in the world’s oceans during the Cretaceous led to the
preservation of organic matter rather than its decomposition. This caused
the atmosphere to become …
a. Richer in 12C
b. Richer in 13C
c. Richer in 14C
d. All of these
83. The highest percentage of oxygen ever on Earth was reached during the ….
a. Silurian
b. Mississippian
c. Permian
d. Jurassic
e. Quaternary (today)
84. Which of the following Periods was one of Aragonite Sea?
a. Ordovician
b. Devonian
c. Permian
d. Cretaceous
e. None of these
85. Silica was a common deposit in the oceans up to the mid-Cretaceous. Since then
chert cannot precipitate directly from seawater. This is likely the consequence
a. A meteorite impact
b. The evolution of siliceous sponges
c. The rise of prominence of diatoms and radiolarians
d. The buildup of siliceous reefs
e. All of these
86. A Precambrian shield is part of a(n)…
a. Craton
b. Orogen
c. Formation
d. Unconformity
e. Reservoir
87. A mature quartz sandstone presents straight crystal faces developed by
overgrowth. Overgrowth has occurred after the deposition of the sand grains
a. True
b. False
88. A thick graded bed of immature sandstone can be used as a way-up structure
a. True
b. False
89. If you find inclusions of limestone in a sandstone, the limestone – as a rule – is the
oldest of the two
a. True
b. False
90. An unconformity always represents a gap in the rock record (and hence in time)
a. True
b. False
91. The Upper Paleocene can be considered as a chronostratigraphic unit
a. True
b. False
92. You would be more likely to find the unaltered remains of a clam in sandstone
than in shale
a. True
b. False
93. Planktonic foraminifera would be more useful than benthonic foraminifera to
indicate the depth of water in which a stratum (layer) was deposited
a. True
b. False
94. The age of basement rocks is Precambrian
a. True
b. False
95. Rapid uplift and rapid erosion: these features are typical of:
a. Hot spots
b. Cratons
c. Passive margins
d. Orogens
e. Plate boundaries
96. What kind of deposit would you find on the continental shelf in a cratonic setting?
a. Arkose sand
b. Quartz sand
c. Graywacke sand
d. Gravel
e. Mud
97. Lithofacies associated in lateral succession may also be associated in vertical
succession. This is:
a. One of Steno’s principles
b. Hutton’s theory of uniformitarianism
c. Walther’s Law
d. A Milankovitch cycle
98. A dike is cut by a folded unconformity. What is the sequence of events, from
older to younger?
a. Dike, fold, unconformity
b. Dike, unconformity, fold
c. Unconformity, dike, fold
d. Unconformity, fold, dike
e. Fold, dike, unconformity
99. What kind of unconformity would exist in the Grand Canyon area between the
Vishnu Schist and the Grand Canyon Series above it?
a. Paraconformity
b. Disconformity
c. Angular unconformity
d. Non-conformity
e. There is no unconformity at such a contact
A lithofacies and isopach map has a 0 (zero) line along a limestone facies.
What does that mean?
a. That 0 line represents the edge of the basin
b. That 0 line represents the border or a region where rocks were lost to
c. A fault occurred at that location
d. None of these
Walther’s Law says that the lithofacies associated in lateral succession
may also be associated in vertical succession
a. True
b. False
You have a succession where a shale is deposited over the crystalline
basement. You can then say that …
a. The sandstone is younger, there is a disconformity, and there was a
b. The sandstone is younger, there is a disconformity, and there was a
c. The sandstone is younger, there is a non-conformity, and there was a
d. The sandstone is younger, there is a non-conformity, and there was a
Which of the following did not exist before the Jurassic?
a. Coccoliths
b. Diatoms
c. Foraminifers
d. Radiolarians
Which of the following group of organisms is now extinct?
a. Nautilus (a cephalopod)
b. Pecten (a bivalve, or pelecypod)
c. Ammonite (a cephalopod)
d. Sea Urchin (an echinoderm)
When did trilobites become extinct?
a. Never, they are still around
b. With the K/Pg mass extinction
c. With the P/T mass extinction
d. At the end of the Devonian
e. At the beginning of the Devonian
Angiosperms are flowering plants, and they are the most common type of
plants today. The earliest evidence of angiosperms is found in rocks from the …
a. Cambrian
b. Permian
c. Triassic
d. Jurassic
e. Cretaceous
Which of the following is NOT an Angiosperm
a. Ginkgo biloba
b. Sago Palm
c. Redwood sequoia
d. Ferns
e. None of these is an angiosperm
In the Canadian Shield, the basement rocks are exposed, as they are at
the bottom of the Grand Canyon, or at the front of the northern Rocky Mountains
, brought up by giant thrust faults. A typical basement rock could be …
a. A sandstone
b. A limestone
c. A chert
d. A gneiss
e. A shale
The North American craton is composed of the Canadian Shield and the
a. True
b. False
In general, the North American orogens are all older than the basement
rocks of the North American craton
a. True
b. False

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