The Spring Semester Test will cover the units Earthquakes, Volcanoes,

Geologic Time, Hydrology, and Astronomy. The test will consistof

50 multiple choice questions and 5 constructed response. The questions below need to be completed in preparation for the test. Answers can be found in notes, activities, bell ringers, unit tests, and Earth Science textbook. The test is worth 20% of your final grade.

Nature of Science

  1. Know the scientific method and be familiar with hypothesis and scientific theory.


  1. Diagram a fault, focus, and epicenter of an earthquake.
  2. Define p-waves and s-waves and know what they can travel through.
  3. Explain the p and s-wave shadow zone.
  4. Why is it difficult to predict earthquakes?
  5. What is the relationship of the arrival time of P and S waves and distance?
  6. Refer to a time-travel graph. What is the distance to the epicenter if the p-wave travels for 4 minutes? S-wave for 6 minutes?
  7. Know the three types of faults (normal, strike-slip and reverse) and understand the features associated with each.
  8. Name an example of a strike-slip fault in United States.


  1. How do Silicates (SiO2) affect volcanism?
  2. Explain the relationship between volcanoes, plate boundaries and earthquakes.
  3. What is the difference between plutonic igneous rocks and volcanic igneous rocks?
  4. What is an igneous rock?
  5. Why do some igneous rocks have larger crystals than others?
  6. Compare Yellowstone and Hawaiian Volcanism.

Geologic Time

  1. What is difference between absolute time and relative time?
  2. How is radiocarbon (type of radiometric) dating used; and what is its limitation?
  3. Describe the K-T boundary.
  4. Be able to properly sequence events in a geologic cross-section (see example).
  5. Explain the Principle of Cross-Cutting Relationships and Law of Superposition.


  1. Where is an area that has a lot of weathering and erosion?
  2. Why does acid mine drainage occur?
  3. How do nitrates effect the Helena watershed (eutrophication)?
  4. Be able to draw a watershedand label divide, tributary, headwaters, and direction of river flow (know all of these terms).
  5. What type of rock material have high porosity? Permeability?
  6. How does the water table change throughout the year?
  7. Explain the significance of the Continental Divide?
  8. Why do rivers discharge (cfs) change during the year with highs and low? Be able to read a hydrograph.
  9. Where does our schools drinking water come from and is it safe for the future?


  1. Describe the most widely accepted theory for our Solar System’s formation and Earth’s moon formation.
  2. Explain the Big Bang.
  3. Know the different phases of the moon.
  4. Diagram a lunar and solar eclipse.
  5. Explain why the moon has a “Dark Side.”
  6. What are factors that affect the period of revolution (orbital period) of planets?
  7. Discuss the relationship of the Universe, Earth, Sun, Milky Way, and our solar system.

Final Exam Essay Question Bank

Directions: Below is a list of potential constructed response questions for the final exam. You should be able to provide a well thought out response for each of these questions using complete sentences. A typical response is composed of 3-4 sentences, and may be accompanied by a drawing or diagram.

  1. How does Earth Science affect your life? Explain a natural process that influences you.
  1. The Cascade Mountain Range is located on the west coast of our country. It runs North – South through the states of Washington, Oregon & California. Within this mountain range, are several volcanoes (Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Baker, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Adams, Mt. Bachelor…..etc.) In the space below, describe the tectonic processes that created the mountain chain. Your answer should include types of tectonic plate boundaries & the names of the plates that are involved.
  1. Explain why there are different phases of the moon; include Earth, Sun and Moon in your answer.
  1. Explain how rain in Butte Montana can end up in the Pacific Ocean, while rain in Helena Montana can end up in the Atlantic Ocean. Your answer should include what drainage basins are involved.
  1. Explain how humans can affect the water quality and quantity in our Watershed both negatively and positively.
  1. How is the Geologic Time Scale organized? Discuss the evidence Scientists have of past climate and species to support answer.