Physical Geology Homework

Question 1

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Refer to Figure 2.4, a map showing the distribution of Earth’s lithospheric plates and their rates of motion in centimeters per year. Study this figure closely to determine the location, distribution, and length of Earth’s three kinds of plate boundaries. Answer question A, pg 57

Question 2

Do you think Earth’s size is increasing (growing ins size), decreasing (shrinking in size) or staying about the same? Justify your answer by citing evidence from your answers in question 3.Think about the implications of your answer.  Refer to figures 2.2 and 2.4 and answer question B pg 57 in the space below.

Question 3

A ” lava lamp is inactive when the light is off, but a lighted lava lamp is dynamic and ever changing. Observe the rising and sinking motion of the lava-like wax in a lighted lava lamp and answer the following questions. If you do not have a lava lamp, this is an excuse to buy one (you now you always wanted one, do it for science). Or you can go to the Web Link page on the left hand side of your screen and use the link to my lava lamp movie on my home page. You must have Real Player or a similar program to run this video. a. Describe the motions of the lava – like substance that occur over a full minute.

Question 4

What causes the “lava” to move from the base of the lamp to the top of the lamp (Be as specific as you can be.)

Question 5

What causes the lava to move from the top of the lamp to the base of the lamp (Be as specfic as you can be.)

Question 6

What is the name applied to this kind of cycle?  

Question 7

Observe the seismic tomography image in Figure 2.4; a slice through Earth’s mantle at a depth of 350 kilometers. Unlike the lava lamp that you viewed in a vertical profile from the side of the lamp, this image is a horizontal slice of Earth’s mantle viewed from above. This image is also false colored to show where rocks are significantly warmer and less dense (red) versus cooler and more dense (blue). How is the Earth’s mantle like a lava lamp? How is it different?

Question 8

Compare tectonic plates and plate boundaries in Figure 2.3 to the red and blue regions of the seismic tomography image in figure 2.4. Under what kind of plate tectonic feature do the warm, less dense rocks (red) occur most often? Under what kind of plate tectonic feature do the cool, more dense rocks (blue) occur most often?

Question 9

The two bodies of Late Miocene (M) rocks (about 25 million years old) located along either side of the San Andrea Fault (map on page 51, Activity 2.5, with exercise) were one body of rock that has been separated by the motions along the fault. Note the arrows that have been placed along the sides of the fault to indicate the relative sense of movement. The San Andreas fault is what kind of plate boundary?

Question 10

You can estimate the average annual rate of movement along the San Andreas Fault by measuring how much the Late Miocene (M) rocks have been offset by the fault and by assuming these rocks began separating soon after they were formed. What is the average annual rate of fault movement in centimeters per year (cm/yr)? Show your work.


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