Geologists study the processes and substances that form Earth. Most of those processes happen over millions of years, but this quiz only takes a few minutes! Find out how rock solid your knowledge of geology is.
The part of Earth that lies just beneath the crust is the …
Areas known as karst are characterized by extensive cave systems and are commonly associated with what type of rock?
How old is Earth?
4.54 billion years
430 million years
80 trillion years
Moraines are geologic features that can form ridges, rolling hills or wedge-shaped areas. What process causes them to form?
the collision of two tectonic plates
the compression of sedimentary layers
glaciers depositing debris as they advance, melt and retreat
What U.S. state was formed by a hotspot of magma that was fed to the crust from the mantle?
What sedimentary rock is formed when plant matter is buried and compressed over millions of years?
What is the Ring of Fire?
a circular area of intense heat that forms around the cones of volcanoes
an area around the perimeter of the Pacific Ocean characterized by frequent, intense seismic activity
a region in Siberia where surface coal deposits are constantly burning
How do geologists think Earth's moon formed?
It formed as the result of a massive impact on Earth.
It formed from several asteroids millions of years after Earth formed.
It was one of Saturn's moons, but a collision knocked it out of orbit, and it was later captured by Earth's gravity.
What effect has erosion had on Niagara Falls?
It has caused the waterfall to retreat more than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) in the last 10,000 years.
It has forced the river into a narrower passage by carving into the bedrock.
It has increased the velocity of the water by carving a deeper slope.
How does beach sand form?
petrification of topsoil
compression of volcanic rocks
ocean waves grind rocks into tiny grains over an extremely long time
What causes geysers?
an underground river causes pressure to back up in a constrained chamber
groundwater heated by magma becomes superheated and flashes into steam
a shifting fault pressurizes an underground chamber of water
How deep is the deepest man-made borehole on Earth?
12,262 meters (40,230 feet)
Earth's continents were once joined as a single massive supercontinent. What do geologists call it?
As you go deeper into Earth, the temperature …
varies from one layer to the next
The subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the Mariana Plate caused the formation of what unique geologic feature?
the Mariana Trench
the Grand Canyon
How have seismologists mapped Earth's interior?
They infer the contents of the interior based on computer analysis of satellite images.
They use extremely strong radar waves.
They can see different types of waves from earthquakes propagate through areas of different density within the interior.
What type of rock is formed by extreme pressure and heat over a long time?
One type of rock can only be formed from the sudden shock and heat of a meteorite impact. What is it called?
Which of these is NOT a mineral?
Which of these is a type of lava flow?
Uncemented sediments can form islands along ocean shorelines. What are these islands called?
Soil that does not match the age or composition of the underlying bedrock it sits upon is called …
Which mineral precipitates from oceans and forms rock salt?
What shape is Earth?
an oblate spheroid
a perfect sphere
What is post-glacial rebound?
when the crust gradually lifts back up after being depressed by the incredible weight of glacial ice
when a glacier melts but quickly reforms
when the movement of a glacier is redirected by a pre-existing rock feature.
What causes Earth's magnetic field?
radiation from the sun
the alignment of magnetic metals in the crust
the movement of liquid iron in the outer core
A widely accepted theory suggests that mass extinctions have been caused by asteroid impacts. What evidence is there to support this theory?
remnants of massive impact craters on the surface
mountains which are actually intact asteroids sitting on the surface
cave paintings depicting massive spheres of fire falling from the sky
What is notable about the mineral called cinnabar?
It tastes like cinnamon.
It's the deadliest mineral on Earth.
It burns so slowly that a small chunk would sustain a flame for 15 years.
What is happening to the crust at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge?
It's colliding and forming a new chain of mountains.
It's spreading at a rate of approximately 2.5 centimeters each year as tectonic plates move away from each other.
It's relatively static.
What happened to Lake Missoula 15,000 years ago?
It was cut off from its source, and it dried up.
Fissures in the lake bed caused it to slowly drain into the groundwater.
The collapse of an ice dam caused it to catastrophically flood the surrounding area.