ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY OF THE SOUTHWEST GEOS 220
Study Guide for Exam #1 � Southwest Background
NOTE: The exam will be made up of multiple choice, fill-in, true/false, and short answer questions.
SW Climate, Parts 1 & 2
- Geologic time scale.
- Describe the basic concept of Plate Tectonics (include plate boundary types).
- Describe the rock cycle and the 3 types of rocks found in the rock cycle.
- List the 3 geologic provinces located in the Southwest; distinguish them by our
relevant geographic characteristics.
- When was the maximum extent of the last great ice age?
- What happens to the sun�s radiation as it passes through Earth's atmosphere?
- Describe the relationship between amount of solar insolation that hits the Earth and the angle of the sun�s rays.
- Why are there seasons on Earth?
- How is excess energy at the equator transferred to the poles?
- Hot air rises, cold air sinks.
- Explain the basic effect in the Northern Hemisphere of Coriolis force.
- Describe dry lapse rate.
- How does temperature affect the amount of moisture an air parcel can hold as vapor?
- Describe the four types of air masses.
- Explain the basic concepts of El Niño and La Niña and how these phenomena
affect climate of the Southwest.
- How does a summer monsoon storm develop?
- What environmental variable might help predict the summer monsoon rainfall total?
- Describe the summer and winter precipitation patterns for Tucson.
Paleoecology and Paleoclimate
- What does the term "half-life" mean for radioactive isotopes?
- Provide a couple examples of radioactive isotopes.
- Describe what kinds of things can be dated using radiocarbon.
- Is radiocarbon dating perfectly accurate? If not, how is it off?
- How are tree rings used as a dating technique?
- Describe the "Bridging the Gap" event; bring details.
- Describe packrat midden analysis.
- What is amberat?
- What type of environmental information can be obtained from packrat middens?
- Interpret (broadly) a packrat macrofossil assemblage.
- Define Uniformitarianism.
- Give an example application of Uniformitarianism.
- How does tree growth reflect climate?
- Describe the importance of "modern homework" in paleoenvironmental research, and give an example.
- Discuss concepts that unify packrat midden analysis and dendrochronology in the study of past climate.
- How is desert defined in terms of precipitation and evaporation?
- How is atmospheric circulation related to the location of major deserts on the Earth?
- What is the rain shadow effect and how does it relate to deserts?
- How do cold water ocean currents affect deserts?
- List the 4 deserts located of North America. Know a major indicator plant of each one.
- Describe a notable plant of the Sonoran Desert and how humans might use it.
- Describe major tree species of the Sonoran Desert and why they are important.
- Name desert ecosystem benefits to the Southwest.
- What is the exotic plant that is currently invading the Sonoran Desert?
- How do the size of an island and the distance of that island from the mainland
affect the number of species that island has?
- How many species source areas do the Sky Islands of the American Southwest have?
- Within the troposphere, what is the relationship between altitude and temperature?
- What is the relationship between precipitation and elevation?
- Name some features that make the SW Sky Island Archipelago unique on the planet.
- In the context of mountain vegetation zones, what is the relationship between aspect
(north- or south-facing) and solar insolation?
- List Southwestern mountain vegetation zones (stacked ecosystems) in relative order by elevation.
- What tree species provides the most volume of wood in Arizona and New Mexico?
- Name mountain ecosystem benefits to the Southwest?