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Geology Quizzes & Trivia

The solid part of the earth is called the earth’s crust. This section is where we find rocks and through theology, we get to understand the changes that it undergoes through time. The quiz below is designed to help us see just how attentive you have been in geology class. Give it a shot and come back for more just like it.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    All but which of the following distinguish hominids from other hominoids?
    • A. 

      Bipedal manner of locomotion

    • B. 

      Larger brain with internal segments

    • C. 

      Reduced face and canine teeth

    • D. 

      Only are carnivorous eaters

    • E. 

      Use and construction of sophisticated tools

  • 2. 
    The Laramide orogeny is distinctive because
    • A. 

      It only lasted 10 million years

    • B. 

      It affected an area farther inland than most arc orogenies

    • C. 

      It was accompanied by large volume granitic intrusions

    • D. 

      It was accompanied by voluminous volcanism

    • E. 

      All of the above

  • 3. 
    The extinction of dinosaurs was important to the evolution of mammals because
    • A. 

      This opened many new habitats for mammals to move into

    • B. 

      With less competition, mammals were able to diversify

    • C. 

      With new adaptive opportunities, mammals were greatly able to increase in numbers

    • D. 

      None of the above

    • E. 

      All of the above

  • 4. 
    All but which of the following mountain ranges could be considered part of the Alpine chain?
    • A. 

      Urals

    • B. 

      Pyrenees

    • C. 

      Alps

    • D. 

      Atlas

    • E. 

      Apennines

  • 5. 
    All of the following except which are features of primates?
    • A. 

      Increased brain size

    • B. 

      Stereoscopic vision

    • C. 

      Opposable thumb

    • D. 

      Less specialized teeth

    • E. 

      More specialized teeth

  • 6. 
    At the height of the Great Ice Age, the present desert regions of the southwestern United States
    • A. 

      Were covered with continental ice sheets

    • B. 

      Were drier than modern day conditions

    • C. 

      Had large lakes form in intermontane basins

    • D. 

      Were tropical rainforest environments

    • E. 

      Were covered with valley glaciers

  • 7. 
    During the maximum continental glaciation, the crust of Earth
    • A. 

      Was depressed as much as 300 m below modern levels

    • B. 

      Was depressed as much as 300 feet below modern levels

    • C. 

      Rose as much as 130 m above modern levels

    • D. 

      Rose as much as 130 feet above modern levels

    • E. 

      Became partially molten

  • 8. 
    The extinction at the end of the Pleistocene affected
    • A. 

      Only marine organisms

    • B. 

      Terrestrial mammals weighing more than 40 Kg

    • C. 

      Terrestrial mammals weighing less than 40 Kg.

    • D. 

      Marine mammals weighing more than 40 Kg

    • E. 

      All mammal groups equally.

  • 9. 
    During the Early Tertiary, the interior lowlands of the continent were the site of
    • A. 

      Local erosion

    • B. 

      Deposition in marine and terrestrial environments

    • C. 

      Minor volcanism

    • D. 

      A and B

    • E. 

      All of the above

  • 10. 
    Eastern North America during the Cenozoic can be described as
    • A. 

      An active orogenic belt

    • B. 

      An area of uplift and erosion

    • C. 

      An active volcanic region

    • D. 

      A flat eroded plain

    • E. 

      A major marine basin

  • 11. 
    The abundance of marine diatoms may be related to increased volcanism because
    • A. 

      Volcanic activity resulted in decreased sunlight which affected the growth of all marine phytoplankton except diatoms

    • B. 

      Volcanic activity may have resulted in the increase in silica in seawater

    • C. 

      Increased volcanic activity warmed sea water creating a favorable habitat for diatoms

    • D. 

      Increased volcanism caused cooling of sea water which created optimal conditions for diatom growth

    • E. 

      Increased volcanism created new ecological habitats for diatoms

  • 12. 
    The Himalayas today are
    • A. 

      Volcanically active

    • B. 

      Seismically active

    • C. 

      A place of mountain building

    • D. 

      No longer tectonically active

    • E. 

      B and C

  • 13. 
    The Cascade Mountain Range is formed primarily of
    • A. 

      Basalt lava flows

    • B. 

      Rhyolite calderas

    • C. 

      Andesite stratovolcanoes

    • D. 

      Granite batholiths

    • E. 

      Deformed metamorphic rocks

  • 14. 
    The Himalayan Range formed as a result of
    • A. 

      Oceanic-oceanic plate collision

    • B. 

      Continent-continent transform faulting

    • C. 

      Continent-continent collision

    • D. 

      Continent-continent collision

    • E. 

      Continent-ocean subduction

  • 15. 
    The orogenic event of the North American Cordillera which began in the Late Cretaceous and extended into the Cenozoic is the
    • A. 

      Laramide orogeny

    • B. 

      Sevier orogeny

    • C. 

      Nevadan orogeny

    • D. 

      Antler orogeny

    • E. 

      Appalachian orogeny

  • 16. 
    The Columbia River volcanic field is related to
    • A. 

      Miocene fissure eruptions

    • B. 

      Eocene subduction

    • C. 

      Miocene to Recent mantle plume

    • D. 

      Oligocene extension

    • E. 

      Miocene subduction

  • 17. 
    Ungulates include orders of mammals which are all
    • A. 

      Three-toed

    • B. 

      Hoofed

    • C. 

      Herbivores

    • D. 

      Large

    • E. 

      B and C

  • 18. 
    The present interglacial began about
    • A. 

      150 years ago

    • B. 

      500 years ago

    • C. 

      10,000 years ago

    • D. 

      500,000 years ago

    • E. 

      1.6 million years ago

  • 19. 
    The development of the common features of hominids may have been in response to
    • A. 

      Predators

    • B. 

      Loss of forest habitat

    • C. 

      Loss of grasslands habitat

    • D. 

      Introduction of new plant species

    • E. 

      New sources of food

  • 20. 
    The angle of the subducted slab during the Laramide orogeny was
    • A. 

      Very steep resulting in volcanism near the trench

    • B. 

      Very shallow resulting in volcanism near the trench

    • C. 

      Very steep causing deformation far inland

    • D. 

      Very shallow causing deformation far inland

    • E. 

      Almost vertical

  • 21. 
    The last ice age began about
    • A. 

      150 years ago

    • B. 

      500 years ago

    • C. 

      10,000 years ago

    • D. 

      500,000 years ago

    • E. 

      1.6 million years ago

  • 22. 
    The Columbia River volcanic field can be described as
    • A. 

      Andesitic stratovolcanoes

    • B. 

      Voluminous basalt lava flows

    • C. 

      Voluminous rhyolite tuff eruptions

    • D. 

      Granite batholiths

    • E. 

      Layered mafic intrusions

  • 23. 
    The mammalian fauna of the Pleistocene is characterized by
    • A. 

      Few species

    • B. 

      Gigantism

    • C. 

      Being geographically restricted

    • D. 

      Being basically identical to today

    • E. 

      Being much smaller than today

  • 24. 
    The Early Tertiary sedimentary sequence of the Gulf Coastal Plain is
    • A. 

      A generally transgressive sequence

    • B. 

      A generally regressive sequence

    • C. 

      Completely nonmarine

    • D. 

      Completely eroded away

    • E. 

      Generally missing

  • 25. 
    Formation of basin and range mountains is a result of
    • A. 

      Thrust faulting

    • B. 

      Folding and faulting

    • C. 

      Normal faulting

    • D. 

      Volcanism

    • E. 

      Batholithic intrusions

  • 26. 
    Among the most abundant and diverse marine fauna in the Mesozoic was
    • A. 

      Brachiopods

    • B. 

      Mollusks

    • C. 

      Trilobites

    • D. 

      Mammals

    • E. 

      Seaweed

  • 27. 
    Greatly accelerated rates of extinction are called
    • A. 

      Disasters

    • B. 

      Punctuated equilibrium

    • C. 

      Mass extinctions

    • D. 

      Gradualisms

    • E. 

      Normal

  • 28. 
    The amalgamation of Pangaea served an important role in evolution because
    • A. 

      It allowed organisms to occupy broad areas of the landmass

    • B. 

      It led to isolation of habitats

    • C. 

      It led to a decrease in the diversity of organisms

    • D. 

      It destroyed the existing plants

    • E. 

      B and C above

  • 29. 
    In addition to expansion of reptile species during the Mesozoic, other life groups which showed increase in diversity include
    • A. 

      Marine invertebrates

    • B. 

      Plants

    • C. 

      Mammals

    • D. 

      Birds

    • E. 

      All of the above

  • 30. 
    • A. 

      Mammals have 16 teeth in the lower jaw.

    • B. 

      The lower jaw of a reptile is a single bone

    • C. 

      The lower jaw of a reptile contains no teeth

    • D. 

      The lower jaw of a mammal is a single bone

    • E. 

      The lower jaw of a reptile contains 12 teeth

  • 31. 
    The method of flight for the pterosaurs was probably
    • A. 

      Similar to modern hummingbirds

    • B. 

      Similar to modern birds with exceptional take-off ability

    • C. 

      A form of gliding

    • D. 

      A and C

    • E. 

      Similar to modern penguins

  • 32. 
    • A. 

      The immediate demise of the dinosaur

    • B. 

      The upsurge in insect populations in the Cenozoic

    • C. 

      The presence of an iridium-bearing clay layer at the K-T boundary

    • D. 

      The presence of meteorite fragments in all Late Cretaceous rocks

    • E. 

      Celestial calculations by astronomers

  • 33. 
    The two groups of marine reptiles were
    • A. 

      Plesiosaurs and pterosaurs

    • B. 

      Pterosaurs and ichthyosaurs

    • C. 

      Captorhinomorphs and plesiosaurs

    • D. 

      Plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs

    • E. 

      Plesiosaurs and crocodiles

  • 34. 
    The mammal-like reptiles at the end of the Paleozoic were
    • A. 

      Thecodonts

    • B. 

      Therapsids

    • C. 

      Protoavis

    • D. 

      Hesperonis

    • E. 

      Dinosaurs

  • 35. 
    A significant change in land-plant communities occurred in the Cretaceous with the evolution of
    • A. 

      Gymnosperms

    • B. 

      Mosses and liverworts

    • C. 

      Sperms

    • D. 

      Ferns

    • E. 

      Angiosperms

  • 36. 
    The major distinction between the ornithischian and saurischian dinosaurs is based on
    • A. 

      Being warm blooded or cold blooded

    • B. 

      Their pelvic structure

    • C. 

      Their size

    • D. 

      Their temperament

    • E. 

      Their leg and arm structure

  • 37. 
    Because of the nature of the world-wide climatic conditions in the Mesozoic, organisms
    • A. 

      Had few habitats to occupy

    • B. 

      Could occupy extensive geographic regions

    • C. 

      Could only occupy restricted geographic regions

    • D. 

      Were not affected

    • E. 

      Stayed where they were

  • 38. 
    Ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs differed in that  
    • A. 

      Ichthyosaurs were able to travel onto the land

    • B. 

      Ichthyosaur females probably gave birth to live young

    • C. 

      Plesiosaur females probably gave birth to live young

    • D. 

      Plesiosaurs were adapted only to the aquatic environment

    • E. 

      Ichthyosaurs ate fish and plesiosaurs did not

  • 39. 
    The effect of the meteorite impact at the end of the Cretaceous is thought to have been
    • A. 

      Great input of particulate matter into the atmosphere

    • B. 

      Blocking of the incoming solar radiation

    • C. 

      Cessation of photosynthesis

    • D. 

      Collapse of the food chains

    • E. 

      All of the above

  • 40. 
    The pterosaur was adapted to flight with
    • A. 

      A membrane-covered hand-like structure with an elongated fourth finger

    • B. 

      Bird-like wings covered with hollow feathers

    • C. 

      Bird-like wings with no covering

    • D. 

      Bat-like wings covered with thick fur

    • E. 

      Bat-like wings with no covering

  • 41. 
    Cretaceous marine transgressions onto the continents were caused by
    • A. 

      High sea level during interglacial times

    • B. 

      Inflated oceanic crust due to active seafloor spreading

    • C. 

      Subsidence of landmasses

    • D. 

      Choices A and C

    • E. 

      Choices B and C

  • 42. 
    In the early Mesozoic, the western margin of North America underwent a transition from a(n) _______ margin to a _______-_______ _______ plate boundary
    • A. 

      Active, continental-continental convergent

    • B. 

      Passive, continental-continental convergent

    • C. 

      Passive, oceanic-continental convergent

    • D. 

      Active, continental-continental convergent

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 43. 
    The mountain building events of the west coast that began in the Jurassic and continued into the Cenozoic are collectively called the
    • A. 

      Sonoma orogeny

    • B. 

      Antler orogeny

    • C. 

      Cordilleran orogeny

    • D. 

      Rocky Mountain orogeny

    • E. 

      Alleghenian orogeny

  • 44. 
    The Sevier orogeny was characterized by
    • A. 

      Extensive volcanism

    • B. 

      Batholith intrusion

    • C. 

      Folding and thrust faulting

    • D. 

      Fault-block mountain ranges

    • E. 

      Rifting

  • 45. 
    The shift in subduction-related igneous activity, from west to east during the Nevadan orogeny, was probably related to the
    • A. 

      Depletion of the crust in material that could be melted in the western zone

    • B. 

      Change in the angle of the subduction zone from low to high

    • C. 

      Change in the angle of the subduction zone from high to low

    • D. 

      Change from subduction to extensional tectonics

    • E. 

      B and D above

  • 46. 
    The three phases of the Cordilleran orogeny, in order from oldest to youngest, are
    • A. 

      Laramide, Sevier, Nevadan

    • B. 

      Sevier, Laramide, Nevadan

    • C. 

      Sonoma, Sevier, Laramide

    • D. 

      Nevadan, Sevier, Laramide

    • E. 

      Sevier, Nevadan, Laramide

  • 47. 
    The three time periods of the Mesozoic are, from oldest to youngest
    • A. 

      Triassic, Cretaceous, Jurassic

    • B. 

      Cretaceous, Jurassic, Triassic

    • C. 

      Jurassic, Triassic, Cretaceous

    • D. 

      Cretaceous, Triassic, Jurassic

    • E. 

      Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous

  • 48. 
    The separation of South America from Africa occurred during the
    • A. 

      Triassic

    • B. 

      Jurassic

    • C. 

      Cretaceous

    • D. 

      Permian

    • E. 

      Tertiary

  • 49. 
    The collision of an island arc with the western margin of North America in the Permian/Triassic was called the
    • A. 

      Antler orogeny

    • B. 

      Cordilleran orogeny

    • C. 

      Sonoma orogeny

    • D. 

      Franciscan orogeny

    • E. 

      Taconic orogeny

  • 50. 
    The Tethys Sea began to close in the Mesozoic as a result of the
    • A. 

      Collision of Africa and South America

    • B. 

      Counterclockwise motion of Laurasia and southward movement of Africa

    • C. 

      Clockwise rotation of Africa and southward movement of Laurasia

    • D. 

      Clockwise movement of Laurasia and northward movement of Africa

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 51. 
    This formation was created from sediments derived from uplifting mountains that were deposited into the retreating Sundance Sea; the formation is famous for dinosaur remains:
    • A. 

      Morrison Formation

    • B. 

      Sundance Formation

    • C. 

      Navajo Sandstone

    • D. 

      Franciscan Formation

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 52. 
    Triassic sedimentation in western North America consisted of
    • A. 

      Marine and nonmarine sedimentation

    • B. 

      Only marine sedimentation

    • C. 

      Only nonmarine sedimentation

    • D. 

      Evaporates

    • E. 

      Limestone and shale

  • 53. 
    The orogenic episode of the Cordilleran that occurred in the Jurassic
    • A. 

      Produced minimal effects

    • B. 

      Caused emplacement of batholiths

    • C. 

      Affected the Gulf Coast

    • D. 

      Involved extensional tectonics

    • E. 

      B and C above

  • 54. 
    Mountain-building activity in the present-day Rocky Mountains occurred during this phase of the Cordilleran orogeny:
    • A. 

      Sonoma

    • B. 

      Laramide

    • C. 

      Nevadan

    • D. 

      Sevier

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 55. 
    The interior of the North American continent was flooded by the Middle Jurassic
    • A. 

      Navajo Sea

    • B. 

      Moenkopi Sea

    • C. 

      Morrison Sea

    • D. 

      Sundance Sea

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 56. 
    These mineral deposits were formed at great depths and brought to the surface during explosive volcanism during the Cretaceous Period:
    • A. 

      Carnotites

    • B. 

      Copper

    • C. 

      Diamonds

    • D. 

      Garnets

    • E. 

      Gold

  • 57. 
    The craton can be subdivided into
    • A. 

      A mobile belt and a sub-craton

    • B. 

      A sub-craton and a platform

    • C. 

      A platform and a mobile belt

    • D. 

      A shield and a platform

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 58. 
    Pennsylvanian rocks have a characteristic deposition sequence of marine and nonmarine sediments called
    • A. 

      Varves

    • B. 

      Dolostones

    • C. 

      Cyclothems

    • D. 

      Crinoids

    • E. 

      Evaporite-shale sequences

  • 59. 
    Which of the following is not essential in the formation of black shale units?
    • A. 

      Anaerobic bottom water

    • B. 

      Aerobic bottom water

    • C. 

      Little or no coarse detrital sediment

    • D. 

      High organic productivity in the overlying oxygen rich water

    • E. 

      A and C

  • 60. 
    The geologic history of the North American craton can be divided into two parts, which are
    • A. 

      Greenstone belt development and accretion

    • B. 

      Mountain building and shallow transgressive and regressive seas

    • C. 

      Transgressive and regressive mountain building

    • D. 

      Deep ocean basins and granite magmatism

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 61. 
    Which of the following is indicative of uniformly moist, warm climate during the Carboniferous on North America and Western Europe?
    • A. 

      Coal beds interlayered with tillite

    • B. 

      Evaporate deposits

    • C. 

      Fossil plants with well-developed growth rings

    • D. 

      Fossil plants with uniform growth rings

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 62. 
    The basal unit of the Tippecanoe sequence is an important source for
    • A. 

      Lime

    • B. 

      Copper

    • C. 

      Aluminum

    • D. 

      Silica sand

    • E. 

      Iron

  • 63. 
    The Silurian Clinton Formation is an important source for
    • A. 

      Rock salt

    • B. 

      Oil and gas

    • C. 

      Iron

    • D. 

      Silica

    • E. 

      Lime

  • 64. 
    The Taconic orogeny that began in the _______ _______ can be related to _______
    • A. 

      Middle Carboniferous, closing of Iapetus

    • B. 

      Late Ordovician, opening of Iapetus

    • C. 

      Middle Ordovician, closing of Iapetus

    • D. 

      Middle Ordovician, collision of North America and Gondwana

    • E. 

      Silurian, collision of North America and Australia

  • 65. 
    All of the following played a role in development of thick evaporite sequences in reef-fringed basins except
    • A. 

      Rise in sea level after reef formation

    • B. 

      Upward growth of the reef

    • C. 

      Drop in sea level after reef formation

    • D. 

      Evaporation

    • E. 

      Restriction of circulation

  • 66. 
    In the Cambrian, the major event for the North American continent was
    • A. 

      Epeiric sea transgression and regression

    • B. 

      Eastern and western orogenic activity

    • C. 

      Volcanic activity

    • D. 

      Emplacement of plutons along the southern margin

    • E. 

      All of the above

  • 67. 
    Which of the following occurred during the Late Paleozoic Era?
    • A. 

      Amalgamation of Pangaea

    • B. 

      Glacial epochs

    • C. 

      Orogenic events

    • D. 

      Climatic extremes

    • E. 

      All of the above

  • 68. 
    The first mountain building episode of the Appalachians was the
    • A. 

      Acadian orogeny

    • B. 

      Caledonian orogeny

    • C. 

      Franklin orogeny

    • D. 

      Ouachita orogeny

    • E. 

      Taconic orogeny

  • 69. 
    The ocean off the western coast of Pangaea at the end of the Paleozoic was the
    • A. 

      Iapetus

    • B. 

      Pacific

    • C. 

      Panthalassa

    • D. 

      Sauk

    • E. 

      Tethys

  • 70. 
    The climatic extremes during the Late Paleozoic were related to
    • A. 

      Modification of atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns

    • B. 

      Movement of Gondwana to north polar regions

    • C. 

      Mountain building events

    • D. 

      All of the above

    • E. 

      A and C above

  • 71. 
    Global transgressive and regressive cycles can be caused by
    • A. 

      Major tectonic events

    • B. 

      Meteorite impact

    • C. 

      Unusual lunar tidal cycles during early formation of Moon

    • D. 

      Major glacial events

    • E. 

      A and D

  • 72. 
    With movement of Gondwana over the South Pole, extensive glaciation occurred during the  
    • A. 

      Carboniferous

    • B. 

      Permian

    • C. 

      Devonian

    • D. 

      Silurian

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 73. 
    The presumed causes for transgressions and regressions of shallow seas during the Paleozoic were
    • A. 

      Greenhouse effect and glaciation

    • B. 

      Tectonic activity and continental rifting

    • C. 

      Glaciation and tectonic events

    • D. 

      Bolide impact and glaciation

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 74. 
    The Queenston Delta formed in response to
    • A. 

      Erosion of the Taconic Highlands

    • B. 

      Subduction of the Iapetus plate

    • C. 

      Uplift of the Caledonides

    • D. 

      Carbonate deposition on a passive margin

    • E. 

      Delta deposition of a Paleozoic fluvial system

  • 75. 
    Extremely large scale lithostratigraphic units bounded by transgressive-regressive unconformities are called
    • A. 

      Cratonic sequences

    • B. 

      Mobile belts

    • C. 

      Facies

    • D. 

      Supergroups

    • E. 

      Cratonic unconformities

  • 76. 
    During the Cambrian, most of the continents were
    • A. 

      Together in one landmass

    • B. 

      Dispersed around polar regions

    • C. 

      Dispersed in low latitude regions

    • D. 

      Covered by ice

    • E. 

      Regions of extreme volcanic activity

  • 77. 
    The orogenies that made the Appalachian Mountains along the eastern United States occurred as a result of
    • A. 

      Transform faulting

    • B. 

      Ocean-ocean collision

    • C. 

      Oceanic-continent collision

    • D. 

      Continent-continent collision

    • E. 

      None of the above

  • 78. 
    Organic reefs are useful paleoecological indicators because modern reef builders only  
    • A. 

      Form limestone reefs in cold, tropic waters

    • B. 

      Form limestone reefs where there is a great abundance of mineral matter in the water

    • C. 

      Only form limestone reefs in warm, clear, shallow water

    • D. 

      Only form limestone reefs between 30 degrees north and south of the equator

    • E. 

      C and D

  • 79. 
    During the Permian, scientists think that arid conditions existed in much of Pangaea, based on the presence of
    • A. 

      Widespread red beds

    • B. 

      Widespread evaporites

    • C. 

      Widespread sand dune deposits

    • D. 

      A and B above

    • E. 

      All of the above

  • 80. 
    One of the economic resources to come from the black shales is
    • A. 

      Coal

    • B. 

      Gold

    • C. 

      Salt

    • D. 

      Clean sands

    • E. 

      Uranium

  • 81. 
    The clastic wedge that formed off of the uplifted Caledonian Highlands is known as the
    • A. 

      Old Caledonian Sandstone

    • B. 

      Old Catskill Sandstone

    • C. 

      Oriskany Sandstone

    • D. 

      St. Peters Sandstone

    • E. 

      Old Red Sandstone