SO262, Physical Geography

Exam 2 Fall 2009



Definitions (1 sentence, choose 10/12))

10@ 4 points each



Short answer (short paragraph, choose 6/7)

6 @ 10 points









Read the directions carefully.  You have a selection of questions for the definitions, and the short answers.


Quality of your answers is important.   For full credit you should use correct terminology, and show that you understand the concepts involved.


All work on this exam is individual.  You may not any materials (books, notes, computers), and you may not use IM, texting, talking, or any other means to communicate with other individuals.



Red comments are not complete answers, but key points that many students missed and were used for post test review.


Definitions:  define 10 of the 12 terms with a concise sentence that clearly shows your understanding of the term, and why it is relevant in physical geography:  Each is worth 3 points.


  1. Angle of repose
  2. Barrier island      15/37 skipped
  3. Creep  slow 
  4. Koppen
  5. Mercalli intensity:
  6. Orogeny: when plates collide
  7. Passive continental margin:   12/37 skipped   Continental margin when it is not a plate boundary
  8. Richter scale:  magnitude, "open ended" with no upper/lower limits in theory, but  rock strength limits to about 9
  9. Sedimentary rock:      weather--erode--transport-deposit--cement
  10. Sinkhole  karst/limestone/cave
  11. Strike slip fault
  12. Talus slope:   11/37 skipped


Other versions of the test had:

  1. Koppen E category
  2. Metamorphic rock:
  3. Normal fault


Answer 6 of the next 7 questions, for 10 points each:


1.  We have discussed one type of plate boundary that produces three distinct natural disasters.  Which boundary is this, and what happens at the boundary to create these disasters?  Discuss the forces that are involved, and list what creates each of the disasters.  

This question had 7/37 skips.


2.    The cross section below is for a region in Arizona, with no vertical exaggeration.  The climograph below is for a point on the left side of the diagram.





  • Why do you think the slope is different at different locations (for instance compare the 0.5 km and 0.75 km points along the horizontal axis)?  What would you expect to see to the right of the steep segment at 0.75 km along the horizontal axis?
  • Based on the climograph, what kind(s) of weathering do you think will dominate here?  Why?
  • Do you think that the climate at about 4 km on the horizontal scale will be similar to that given by the climograph?

Differential weathering, talus slope, physical/chemical weathering

This question had 7/37 skips.


3.  The graph below shows three graphs of monthly precipitation and evapotranspiration from a single continent.  The graphs are in mm/month, and all have the same scale.



These are from N45, W123 (Coastal Oregon);   N45, W100 (South Dakota); and N45, W70 (Maine).  Precip is in dark blue, and ET potential in red.  Note that all have the same ET in the winter, and they vary in summer due to differences in cloud cover.


These are all from either the same latitude, or the same longitude.  Which do you think this would be, what approximate latitude or longitude would it be, and why would you say this?


Why would evapotranspiration vary among these three locations? Latitude/insolation and cloud cover


Which of these stations has an annual water budge the closest to being balanced? While Oregon might be close to balanced over the year, it has a severe seasonal imbalance, and the summers will be very much experiencing a deficit, which will really stress the vegetation.  Maine, on the other hand, will have moderate surpluses in the winter and a moderate deficit in the summer, and probably an overall slight surplus which will be much better for vegetation.


Could these be from North America?  If so, approximately where would they be from, and if not, what doesn't North America have locations with water budgets like this?



4.  Discuss how physical geography influenced either the Battle of Big Hole or the Battle of Antietam.




5.  Discuss the features you see in the photographs below, and the processes that create them.  What kind of continental margin do you think each represents?  Active/passive continental margins


The first picture is copyrighted, but you can see it here


 Spit at Chincoteague, Virginia (home of Misty)

6.  Three of the five climographs below come from a single major categories of the Koppen classification system.  Which three are they, and what characteristics do they share which place them in this category?  What is different about them which places them in different subcategories?  Why are the other two stations in a different major category?



  Three of these are A climates.



7.  The map below shows a region in Florida.  Describe the features you see on the map, the processes that create them.




 Karst in Florida with sinkholes and dissolution of limestone.  This question had 14/37 skips.