Preparation Questions

Before each class lecture I will post here a list of preparation questions. These questions are designed to prepare you for each lecture. If we have a pop quiz on the listed day, it will include these questions AND at least one surprise question from previous lectures to encourage  review. I recommend you thus have answers for them — at least in your head! — before each class meeting. You will have twelve pop quizzes by the end of the course, with the lowest two grades dropped. If you are absent for any reason when a quiz is given (other than a scheduled college event you told me about in advance), your grade will be recorded as a zero. You may use any source to answer these questions before class. For a quiz, of course, you’re on your own.

March 24 (Tuesday) –

1. We’re going to start with questions on calcite & aragonite seas and dolomite, emphasizing the tectonic and geochemical controls. Be ready!


March 5 (Thursday) –

1. What are carbonate hardgrounds? How do we recognize them in the rock record? I started my research career studying them!


March 3 (Tuesday) –

1. What is diagenesis in the sedimentological sense? We’ve been talking about it in lab. Time to formally define it.

2. What is the difference between the vadose zone and the phreatic zone? A diagram will be helpful.


February 27 (Thursday) —

1. What is the carbonate material known as micrite? What is it made of today? What is its origin? Under what conditions does it accumulate as a sediment?


February 25 (Tuesday) —

1. What is a coastal barrier bar (sometimes called a barrier island)? Please draw a map of a typical barrier bar system showing the mainland coast, the barrier island, and the associated lagoon.

2. What kind of sediments would you expect to find on the seaward-facing side of a barrier bar off the coast of North Carolina?


February 20 (Thursday) —

1. Stromatolites! The ultimate interaction of life and sediment. Who makes stromatolites? How are they constructed?

2. How old are the oldest stromatolites?


February 18 (Tuesday) —

1. There are two tides in most places: spring and neap. How are they different and what causes them?


February 11 (Tuesday) —

1. Are large marine deltas typically found on the leading (active) or trailing (passive) edges of continents? Why?


February 6 (Thursday) —

1. The stream flow equation is Q=wdv. What is the stream flow (Q) for a stream 2.0 meters wide (w), 45 centimeters deep (d) and moving at 10 centimeters per second (v)? For goodness sakes, don’t forget to convert units!


February 4 (Tuesday) —

1. Repeat: Please describe the kinds of sediments and sedimentary structures you would expect in a desert playa environment.

2. Draw map-view diagrams of the various types of sand dunes.


January 30 (Thursday) —

1. Please describe the kinds of sediments and sedimentary structures you would expect in a desert playa environment.


January 28 (Tuesday) —

1. What is a flow regime in sedimentology? This includes upper and lower flow regimes. Use the terminology you learned in the last class. This will require a bit of digging.


January 23 (Thursday) —

1. What is Bernoulli’s Principle? Where in our class material yesterday have you seen it in action, although not named?

2. What do we mean when we say a grain saltates in a moving fluid?


January 21 (Tuesday) —

1. Why is the mineral olivine so rare in sediments formed on the North American continent? Where must you go to find it as a common component of the sediment?

3. Please review (or meet for the first time) Bowen’s Reaction Series. What role does it play in the mineralogy of sediments?


January 16 (Thursday) —

1. What is the difference between permeability and porosity?

2. Why is quartz the most common siliciclastic mineral in sedimentary rocks?  (And what does siliciclastic mean, anyway?)

3. Feldspar minerals undergo hydrolysis during weathering on the Earth’s surface.  What is hydrolysis and what are the results from the hydrolysis of feldspar minerals?  We will come back to this process several times in this course.

4. Always be ready for a review question!




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