SO262, Physical Geography

Exam 2, Spring 2011

Definitions (1 sentence, choose 10/12))

10@ 3 points each



Short answer (short paragraph, choose 5/6)

5 @ 10 points




1 @ 15 points



Last Figure

1 @ 5 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.

  • Avalanche:
  • Bed load:
  • Bird's foot delta:
  • Braided stream:  sediment volume
  • Drainage pattern:
  • Folding:   11/22 skips
  • Mesothermal climate: 12/22 skips
  • Metamorphic rock:
  • Normal fault:
  • Oceanic crust:
  • Passive continental margin:
  • Steppe:

  • Answer 5 of the next 6 questions, for 10 points each:

    1.  Should last month's disaster in Japan have been a surprise?  Define 5 key terms which explain what happened, and why it should have been anticipated.  You will be graded on your choice of important terms, and relating them to what happened.

    13/22 skips

    Suggested terms (others are possible):

    1. Tsunami

    2. Megathrust

    3. Richter/Mercalli scales

    4. Destructive plate boundary (or synonyms)

    5. Active/Pacific continental margin

    2.  The diagram below shows a profile across two mountains about 4000 m high, which actually start on the adjacent seafloor.  Note that the diagram has 10 times vertical exaggeration, so that the steepest portions have about a 5º slope.  The climograph below is for a location near the base of the two mountains.  What do you think created these mountains, and what will happen to them in this environment?

    3.  The figure below shows the longitudinal profile of two rivers.  There is some noise in the elevation data where these rivers go through narrow gorges; the actual profile would be at the bottom of any spikes.

    4.  The aerial photo below covers about 2x1.5 km.  What is happening on this coast, and do you think this is more likely to be the US East Coast or the West Coast?

    Groins, longshore current, Passive margin

    5.  Fort Riley Kansas has a rock unit called the Fort Riley Limestone which forms a prominent ledge and which was quarried to build quarters like the Custer House.  Why do think this limestone is so prominent here, and what does it say about the climate of the region?

    ( )

    Differential weathering, karst, relatively dry (boundary Cfa/Dfa climate categories)

    6. The figure below shows a major river than flows at an elevation of about 3 m, and a cross section that goes across the river and onto the regions on either side.  What natural features do you see in this area, and what challenges would you see for a city here (the street pattern is apparent in the map)?

    New Orleans, and the Mississippi River.  Meanders, natural levees


    Insure that you answered 5 of the last 6 questions, for 10 points each:

    You must answer this question, worth 15 points.    The six climographs below, all from the same continent, all have different classifications considering just the capital letters used in the Koppen system.  Identify each with the primary Koppen category to which it belongs.  Which continents could these be from?  For each put a location where it might be from, preferably in North America, and state why you picked the locations.

    Must be North America or Eurasia.  There is an A, BS, BW, C, D, and E, all in the United States (Miami to North Slope of Alaska)

    You must answer this question, worth 5 points.


    This diagram show north (top) and south (bottom) sides of the I-68 road cut through Sideling Hill. in western Maryland.  What do you think formed this feature, and do you think this road is in danger from rock slides?  Why or why not?



    Folds, and looks like nothing dips into the roadway.

    (from Maryland Geological Survey,






    Shield volcanoes in Hawaii, with dominance of chemical weathering in a hot, humid climate