World's Hardest Geology Test! Quiz

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Geology Quizzes & Trivia

If you are a first-time Geology student, one of the things you need to know at the end of your course is the structure, composition, and processes of the earth from the center to surface. I have prepared a quiz that is considered the hardest in the world, and if you can tackle it, then you need not fear any exam. Why don’t you give it a shot!


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    The orientation of rock layers can be determined by measuring: 
    • A. 

      Location

    • B. 

      Strike and dip

    • C. 

      Height

    • D. 

      Thickness

  • 2. 
    Brittle failure is associated with:
    • A. 

      A. Rocks deep within the crust, where high temperatures cause rocks to break.


    • B. 

      B. Rocks at the surface, where temperatures and pressures are low.


    • C. 

      C. The slow application of stress, which allows atoms to migrate from areas of maximum stress and rebound in areas of lower stress.


    • D. 

      D. None of the above.

  • 3. 
    3. Deformation is most easily seen

    • A. 

      A. In igneous plutons that contain a significant number of hydrous minerals.


    • B. 

      B. In sedimentary rocks because they were originally horizontal and deformation disturbs their horizontality in visually obvious ways.


    • C. 

      C. In non-foliated metamorphic rocks such as marble and quartzite.


    • D. 

      D. None of the above.

  • 4. 
    4.Along a fault, the rock masses on either side of the fracture have moved relative to each other.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 5. 
    5. Each type of fault

    • A. 

      A. Is produced by a particular type of stress.

    • B. 

      B. Occurs at a distinct depth in the mantle.

    • C. 

      C. Is caused by elastic strain.


    • D. 

      D. Is the result of a different type of strain.

  • 6. 
    6. Faults that form by horizontal slip of adjacent blocks of rock

    • A. 

      A. Are called strike-slip faults.


    • B. 

      B. Do not cause any ground displacement.


    • C. 

      C. Usually contain at least one block that has dropped down a significant distance.

    • D. 

      D. Generally form at divergent plate boundaries.

  • 7. 
    7. Faults with oblique slip combine vertical and horizontal motion. 
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 8. 
    8. Fractures in rocks are evidence of 
    • A. 

      A. Plastic strain.

    • B. 

      B. Elastic strain.


    • C. 

      C. Brittle strain.


    • D. 

      D. None of the above.

  • 9. 
    9. In a reverse fault:

    • A. 

      A. Powerful compressional forces are needed to move the rocks above the fault plane up.

    • B. 

      B. The fault blocks first move down and then reverse direction, to move up.


    • C. 

      C. Shear stress causes the two fault blocks to move past each other horizontally.

    • D. 

      D. Tensional forces allow the rocks above the fault plane to drop down.

  • 10. 
    11. In dip-slip faults, the fault blocks move up and down, parallel to the dip of the fault plane.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 11. 
    12. Overthrust is associated with thrust faults and can be responsible for placing older rock on top of younger rock.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 12. 
    13. Rock fractures with no evidence of movement are called faults. 
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 13. 
    14. Synclines and anticlines are evidence of tensional stress experienced by the rocks
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 14. 
    15. Folds are found mainly at
    • A. 

      
a. Transform plate boundaries, where rocks are being pushed together.


    • B. 

      B. Convergent plate boundaries, where rocks are being squeezed together.

    • C. 

      C. Divergent plate boundaries, where rocks are being pulled apart.


    • D. 

      D. All of the above.

  • 15. 
    16. Which of the following is the definition of an anticline?
    • A. 

      A. A fold that is concave-upward.


    • B. 

      B. A fold whose limbs plunge toward one another.

    • C. 

      C. A fold whose axis is horizontal.

    • D. 

      D. A fold whose limbs are inclined away from each other.

  • 16. 
    17. When an entire sequence of anticlines and synclines tilts so that the structure’s axes intersect the Earth’s surface they are called
    • A. 

      A. Symmetrical folds.

    • B. 

      B. Recumbent folds.

    • C. 

      C. Overturned folds.

    • D. 

      D. Plunging folds.

  • 17. 
    18. In a setting of tensional tectonics: 
    • A. 

      A. Normal faulting occurs


    • B. 

      B. Basin formation occurs

    • C. 

      C. Steep faults shallow with depth

    • D. 

      D. All of the above

  • 18. 
    19. Under compressive tectonics:

    • A. 

      A. Blocks of crustal rocks slide past each other sideways

    • B. 

      B. Layers of rocks are thrust over each other


    • C. 

      C. Basins are formed


    • D. 

      D. All of the above

  • 19. 
    20. An example of a strike-slip faulting is:
    • A. 

      A. The Rhine Valley

    • B. 

      B. The Keystone fault, Nevada

    • C. 

      C. The San Andreas


    • D. 

      D. The Basin and Range

  • 20. 
    21. Minerals are stable

    • A. 

      A. Under all conditions.

    • B. 

      B. Under no conditions, that’s why they weather.

    • C. 

      C. Under the conditions in which they originally formed.

  • 21. 
    22. The changes that occur to minerals during metamorphism
    • A. 

      A. Occur very quickly as temperature changes.


    • B. 

      B. Occur by the initiation of partial melting.


    • C. 

      C. Occur in the solid state.

    • D. 

      D. Occur when minerals dissolve in hot water.

  • 22. 
    23. Unstable minerals will recrystallize during metamorphism 
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 23. 
    24. Temperature beneath the continental crust increases at a rate of 2 to 3 degrees centigrade per meter
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 24. 
    25. Equally exerted pressure within the crust is termed 
    • A. 

      A. Shear pressure.

    • B. 

      B. Confining pressure.

    • C. 

      C. Directed pressure.

    • D. 

      D. Partial pressure.

  • 25. 
    26. Which of the following factors is not a significant part of metamorphism 
    • A. 

      A. Fluids.

    • B. 

      B. Gravity.

    • C. 

      C. Heat.


    • D. 

      D. Pressure.

  • 26. 
    27. Which type of metamorphism has the steepest temperature gradient? 
    • A. 

      A. Burial

    • B. 

      B. Regional


    • C. 

      C. Contact


    • D. 

      D. High pressure

  • 27. 
    28. Convergent plate boundaries squeeze rocks, producing regional metamorphic rocks 
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 28. 
    29. Burial metamorphism typically does not produce foliated rocks due to 
    • A. 

      A. The lack of clay minerals in the parent rock.


    • B. 

      B. The high-pressure environment.


    • C. 

      C. The absence of directed pressure.

    • D. 

      D. The low temperature environment.

  • 29. 
    30. Increasing metamorphic grade goes from: 
    • A. 

      A. Phyllite, schist, gneiss, migmatite

    • B. 

      B. Slate, schist, migmatite, phyllite


    • C. 

      C. Gneiss, schist, phyllite, slate

    • D. 

      D. Slate, schist, gneiss, phyllite

  • 30. 
    31. The composition of the parent rock has little influence on the formation of metamorphic minerals.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 31. 
    32. Metamorphic grade describes the

    • A. 

      A. Temperature conditions of metamorphism.

    • B. 

      B. Tectonic setting during metamorphism.


    • C. 

      C. Pressure conditions of metamorphism.


    • D. 

      D. The intensity of the metamorphism.

  • 32. 
    33. What is the name for a line on a geologic map that delineates where one metamorphic grade changes to another?
    • A. 

      A. Contact

    • B. 

      B. Isotherm

    • C. 

      C. Isograd

    • D. 

      D. Isobar

  • 33. 
    34. Which of the following rocks do not have shale as the parent rock?
    • A. 

      A. Marble

    • B. 

      B. Phyllite

    • C. 

      C. Gneiss

    • D. 

      D. Slate

  • 34. 
    35. Which of the following statements about eclogites is false?
    • A. 

      A. Eclogite form at high pressures.


    • B. 

      B. Eclogite form in subduction zones.


    • C. 

      C. Eclogite form next to granitic intrusions.

    • D. 

      D. Eclogites form at high temperatures

  • 35. 
    36. Which statement is false?

    • A. 

      A. Garnet occurs in amphibolite facies metamorphosed shale

    • B. 

      B. Epidote occurs in greenschists facies metamorphosed basalt

    • C. 

      C. Muscovite occurs in low-grade metamorphosed shale


    • D. 

      D. Garnet occurs in low-grade metamorphosed basalt.

  • 36. 
    37. Relative dating methods tell time by

    • A. 

      A. Using minerals to determine when a rock formed.


    • B. 

      B. Determining the time of formation of a rock.


    • C. 

      C. Examining the age of a rock relative to that of the Earth.


    • D. 

      D. Using rock properties to determine which is youngest or oldest of a group.

  • 37. 
    38. A fault may be used to tell relative time, and is an example of
    • A. 

      A. A cross-cutting relationship.

    • B. 

      B. An inclusion in the rock.


    • C. 

      C. A disconformity.

    • D. 

      D. An unconformity.

  • 38. 
    39. A stratigraphic succession is:
    • A. 

      
a. A chronologically ordered set of strata with young on top

    • B. 

      
b. A chronologically ordered set of strata with old on top

    • C. 

      
c. A chronologically ordered set of strata without a time hiatus

    • D. 

      D. A chronologically ordered set of strata that lies horizontally

  • 39. 
    40. Tracing of geologic units over large distances using fossils and other evidence is a process referred to as
    • A. 

      A. Horizontality.

    • B. 

      B. Faunal succession.

    • C. 

      C. Correlation.

    • D. 

      D. Uniformity.

  • 40. 
    41. A disconformity represents

    • A. 

      A. A sequence of rocks where relative dating is not possible.

    • B. 

      
b. A break in a sequence of sedimentary rocks.


    • C. 

      C. A sequence of sedimentary rocks overlying igneous or metamorphic rocks.

    • D. 

      D. A change in depositional environments from marine to terrestrial.

  • 41. 
    42. A gap in the geologic record is called 
    • A. 

      A. Lapse

    • B. 

      B. Hiatus


    • C. 

      C. Discontinuity

    • D. 

      D. Unconformity

  • 42. 
    43. Sedimentary rocks are originally laid down in vertical sheets or layers.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 43. 
    44. A fragment of sandstone found within a basaltic lava flow must be older than the lava: 
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 44. 
    45. Animals with shells or bones are more likely to become fossilized than those without: 
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 45. 
    46. A mafic dike is an example of a crosscutting relationship: 
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 46. 
    47. What is the right order of decreasing age for the following periods:
    • A. 

      a. Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian COSD

    • B. 

      B. Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Cambrian


    • C. 

      C. Cambrian, Ordovician, Devonian, Silurian

    • D. 

      D. Ordovician, Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian

  • 47. 
    48. What transition between to periods was NOT associated with mass extinction: 
    • A. 

      A. Cretaceous-Paleogene

    • B. 

      B. Jurassic-Cretaceous

    • C. 

      C. Traissic-Jurassic


    • D. 

      D. Permian-Triassic

  • 48. 
    49. The rate at which an isotope decays is known as its: 
    • A. 

      A. Neutron conversion rate.

    • B. 

      B. Isotopic change rate.

    • C. 

      C. Decay time.


    • D. 

      D. Half-life.

  • 49. 
    50. Carbon-14 dating is typically applied to:

    • A. 

      A. Organic sediments older than 1 million years.

    • B. 

      B. Paleozoic coal deposits.


    • C. 

      C. Organic material less than 70,000 years old.

    • D. 

      D. Dinosaur fossils.

  • 50. 
    51. Which of the following is not a long-lived (over 100 m.y.) isotopic dating method: 
    • A. 

      A. Potassium-argon

    • B. 

      B. Carbon-14


    • C. 

      C. Thorium-lead


    • D. 

      D. Rubidium strontium

  • 51. 
    52. The oldest rock formation on Earth are: 
    • A. 

      A. 40,000 years

    • B. 

      B. 4,000,000 years


    • C. 

      C. 400,000,000 years

    • D. 

      D. 4,000,000,000 years

  • 52. 
    53. A mineral containing 50% of its original parent isotope has gone through 50 half-lives: 
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 53. 
    54. The longest time periods of geologic history are called: 
    • A. 

      A. Periods

    • B. 

      B. Eons.

    • C. 

      C. Epochs

    • D. 

      D. Era

  • 54. 
    55. Which one is incorrect?
    • A. 

      A. Eras divide eons.

    • B. 

      B. Periods divide epochs.

    • C. 

      C. Epochs divide periods

    • D. 

      D. Epochs divide eras

  • 55. 
    56. Pick the one with the right order of decreasing age: 
    • A. 

      A. Paleocene, Eocene, Pleistocene, Pliocene


    • B. 

      B. Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene
EOMP

    • C. 

      C. Pleistocene, Pliocene, Paleocene, Holocene

    • D. 

      D. Paleocene, Pleistocene, Pliocene, Eocene

  • 56. 
    57. The geologic timescale was largely developed using: 
    • A. 

      A. Fossil assemblages.

    • B. 

      B. The occurrence of limestone in the rock record.

    • C. 

      C. The age of oceanic crust.


    • D. 

      D. Radiometric age dates of lava flows

  • 57. 
    58. Which statements about the sun is true:

    • A. 

      A. In the sun mass is converted to energy


    • B. 

      B. The sun’s interior is over a million of degrees


    • C. 

      C. Inside the sun two hydrogens fuse to become helium

    • D. 

      D. All of the above

  • 58. 
    59. The planets are formed from: 
    • A. 

      A. Gas

    • B. 

      B. Dust


    • C. 

      C. Planetesimals


    • D. 

      D. All of the above

  • 59. 
    60. The core was formed:

    • A. 

      A. Very early on in the Earth’s history


    • B. 

      B. Well after the collision that formed the Moon

    • C. 

      C. When the Earth was solid


    • D. 

      D. After formation of the atmosphere

  • 60. 
    61. Which statement is false:

    • A. 

      A. Earth and Venus are close in size and composition


    • B. 

      B. Mercury has a disproportionally large core


    • C. 

      C. The Moon has the same composition as the Earth


    • D. 

      D. The proportion of the planet that makes up the core is similar for Earth and Mars.

  • 61. 
    62. The heavily cratered surface of moon indicates:

    • A. 

      A. The surface of the moon is old


    • B. 

      B. The surface of the moon is young


    • C. 

      C. Moon has recently seen many meteorite impacts

    • D. 

      D. None of the above

  • 62. 
    63. Volcanism is still active on: 
    • A. 

      A. Moon and Mars

    • B. 

      B. Mercury and Venus

    • C. 

      C. Mars and Venus


    • D. 

      D. Mercury and Mars

  • 63. 
    64. Most of the oldest rocks on the North American continent: 
    • A. 

      A. Are located in Canada.

    • B. 

      B. Are found along the west coast, where two plates are sliding horizontally past each other.

    • C. 

      C. Are found near the east coast, in the middle of the North American plate.


  • 64. 
    65. The basins in the Interior Platform of North America are formed by: 
    • A. 

      A. Faults on the edge of the basin


    • B. 

      B. Plate flexure


    • C. 

      C. Thermal subsidence

    • D. 

      D. Local extra loading on the plate

  • 65. 
    66. The Appalachian mountain chain is formed by: 
    • A. 

      A. Strike-slip faulting along two plates

    • B. 

      B. Ocean-continent collision


    • C. 

      C. Continent-continent collision

    • D. 

      D. Ocean-ocean collision

  • 66. 
    67. Which plate that has now disappeared interacted with the western end of the North American continent:
    • A. 

      A. Cocos Plate


    • B. 

      B. Juan da Fuca Plate


    • C. 

      C. Farallon Plate


    • D. 

      D. West Caribbean Plate

  • 67. 
    68. A continental craton

    • A. 

      A. Includes the continental shield and the continental platform.

    • B. 

      B. Is the youngest part of a continent.

    • C. 

      C. Is constantly recycled and therefore difficult to identify.


    • D. 

      D. Contains coastal mountains and plains.

  • 68. 
    69. In the Earth’s first few hundred million years of existence large oceans developed on the Earth’s surface as the planet was bombarded by comets.
    • A. 

      True

    • B. 

      False

  • 69. 
    70. The early stages of orogeny related to tectonism are characterized by:
    • A. 

      A. Subsidence of continental crust.


    • B. 

      B. Mountain building and thickening of continental crust.


    • C. 

      C. Thinning of oceanic crust.

    • D. 

      D. Thinning of the continental crust.

  • 70. 
    71. Which mountain range is still forming today: 
    • A. 

      A. Catskills.

    • B. 

      B. Appalachian.

    • C. 

      C. Himalaya.


    • D. 

      D. Urals.

  • 71. 
    72. Which one is a supercontinent: 
    • A. 

      A. Laurentia

    • B. 

      B. Rodinia

    • C. 

      C. Iapetus

    • D. 

      D. Thethys

  • 72. 
    73. What is not part of the Wilson cycle: 
    • A. 

      A. Rifting splitting the continent

    • B. 

      B. Subduction and accretion


    • C. 

      C. Intraplate volcanism

    • D. 

      D. Erosion

  • 73. 
    74. Cratons, stable continental shields Archean in age are found on: 
    • A. 

      A. North America

    • B. 

      B. South America

    • C. 

      C. Africa


    • D. 

      D. Asia


    • E. 

      E. All of the above

  • 74. 
    75. The best evidence that there was life on Earth 3.5 billion years ago is: 
    • A. 

      A. Microfossils in sedimentary formation


    • B. 

      B. Fossil microbial mats Achaean in age


    • C. 

      C. Increase in oxygen levels in the atmosphere

    • D. 

      D. None of the above, life started much later

  • 75. 
    76. The formation of an oxygen-rich atmosphere is the result of:
    • A. 

      a. Continuous outgassing of the Earth at volcanoes


    • B. 

      B. Photosynthesis by cyanobacteria


    • C. 

      C. The establishment of a magnetic field

    • D. 

      D. The dissolution of iron in the ocean

  • 76. 
    77. The formation of an oxygen-rich atmosphere is recorded in rocks by: 
    • A. 

      A. Occurrence of stromatolites


    • B. 

      B. Occurrence of banded iron formations


    • C. 

      C. Occurrence of fossil algae

    • D. 

      D. Evidence of erosion by water

  • 77. 
    78. What is the Cambrian explosion: 
    • A. 

      A. A meteorite impact

    • B. 

      B. Eruption of a super volcano


    • C. 

      C. The sudden appearance of new types of organisms

    • D. 

      D. A mass extinction

  • 78. 
    79. What is the name for a line on a geologic map that delineates where one metamorphic grade changes to another?
    • A. 

      A. Asteroid impact

    • B. 

      B. Abrupt global warming

    • C. 

      C. Large volcanic eruptions

    • D. 

      D. Natural enemies

  • 79. 
    80. The climate system does not include: 
    • A. 

      A. The cryosphere

    • B. 

      B. The lithosphere

    • C. 

      C. The asthenosphere

    • D. 

      D. The biosphere

  • 80. 
    81. The atmospheric layer closest to the Earth surface is the_____________ 
    • A. 

      A. Stratosphere

    • B. 

      B. Mesosphere

    • C. 

      C. Thermosphere

    • D. 

      D. Troposphere

  • 81. 
    82. Thermohaline circulation is:

    • A. 

      A. Currents of ocean water between the surface and the deep.

    • B. 

      B. Shallow circulation of ocean waters


    • C. 

      C. Pattern of airflow around the world


    • D. 

      D. The pattern of evaporation and rainfall

  • 82. 
    83. On a global scale glaciers, ice caps on land, are 
    • A. 

      A. Decreasing in volume

    • B. 

      B. Increasing in volume

    • C. 

      C. Constant in volume

    • D. 

      D. We do not know

  • 83. 
    84. The largest volume of land ice is at___________ 
    • A. 

      A. Greenland

    • B. 

      B. The arctic


    • C. 

      C. The Antarctic


    • D. 

      D. Alaskan and Canadian glaciers

  • 84. 
    85. The lithosphere has an effect on climate through 
    • A. 

      A. Absorption and radiation of solar heat


    • B. 

      B. Topography


    • C. 

      C. Soil type effects evaporation

    • D. 

      D. Volcanism


    • E. 

      E. All of the above

  • 85. 
    86. A planet’s albedo is:

    • A. 

      A. The fraction of solar energy a planet reflects back into space


    • B. 

      B. The fraction of energy a planet would reflect if it were perfectly white.


    • C. 

      C. The fraction of solar energy a planet absorbs


    • D. 

      D. The fraction of solar energy a planet would absorb if it were perfectly white

  • 86. 
    87. Greenhouse gases:
    • A. 

      A. Block incoming solar radiation


    • B. 

      B. Reflect surface radiation


    • C. 

      C. Facilitate incoming infrared radiation

    • D. 

      D. Facilitate outgoing infrared radiation

  • 87. 
    88. Which one is not a negative feed back for the greenhouse effect? 
    • A. 

      A. Plant growth

    • B. 

      B. Water vapor

    • C. 

      C. Radiation

  • 88. 
    89. How do we know that the twentieth century increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere is anthropogenic?
    • A. 

      A. More fossil fuels were burned


    • B. 

      B. Increased deforestation


    • C. 

      C. The isotopic signature of atmospheric CO2

  • 89. 
    90. The concentration of __________ in seawater rises during glacial times: 
    • A. 

      A. The carbon-14 isotope

    • B. 

      B. Hydrogen


    • C. 

      C. The oxygen-18 isotope

    • D. 

      D. The oxygen-16 isotope

  • 90. 
    91. Ice cores from Antarctica give us an approximately _________long record of the climate: 
    • A. 

      A. Hundred years

    • B. 

      B. Thousand years


    • C. 

      C. Hundred thousand years


    • D. 

      D. More than hundred thousand years

  • 91. 
    92. How many ice ages were there in the last 400,000 years? 
    • A. 

      A. 1

    • B. 

      B. 2

    • C. 

      C. 3

    • D. 

      D. 4

  • 92. 
    93. What parameter in the ice cores allows us to calculate the paleotemperature? 
    • A. 

      A. Amount of carbon dioxide

    • B. 

      B. Amount of methane

    • C. 

      C. Oxygen isotopes


    • D. 

      D. Amount of dust

  • 93. 
    94. What is typical of a glacial valley? 
    • A. 

      A. Steep sides

    • B. 

      B. U-shaped valley floor

    • C. 

      C. Waterfalls


    • D. 

      D. All of the above

  • 94. 
    95. Glacial sediments like a moraine are:
    • A. 

      A. Very well sorted and coarse grained


    • B. 

      B. Very well sorted and fine grained


    • C. 

      C. Very poorly sorted ranging from sand to boulder

    • D. 

      D. Very poorly sorted ranging from clay to boulder

  • 95. 
    96. Milankovitch cycles are not caused by changes in:
    • A. 

      a. Luminosity of the sun

    • B. 

      B. Eccentricity of Earths’ orbit


    • C. 

      C. Earths’ tilt with respect to the sun

    • D. 

      D. Earths’ precession

  • 96. 
    97. Are the variations in solar energy of the magnitude that they can explain the glacial and interglacial periods for the last 2 million years?
    • A. 

      A. Yes


    • B. 

      B. No, they are too large; negative feedback factors must dampen it

    • C. 

      C. No, they are too small; positive feedback must enhance their effect

  • 97. 
    98. Glacial abrasion is enhanced by all of the following EXCEPT:
    • A. 

      A. The underlying bed consists of readily eroded material.

    • B. 

      B. The sliding velocity of the ice is rapid.


    • C. 

      C. There is a steady supply of rock fragments.

    • D. 

      D. The glacier’s base contains fragments that are softer than the underlying rock.

  • 98. 
    99. Large glacial grooves are an example of glacial: 
    • A. 

      A. Abrasion

    • B. 

      B. Quarrying

    • C. 

      C. Excavating

    • D. 

      D. Tunneling