Fossils and Geologic Time

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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  1. When a geologist says a rock has been dated at 100 m.y. old, the possible error is likely to be:
    1. 1 or 2 m.y.
    2. 5,000 yrs
    3. 50 m.y.
    4. less than 10,000 years
  2. If you have 1 gm of Carbon-14, after two half lives, you will have:
    1. none
    2. 1/2 gm
    3. 2 gm
    4. 1/4 gm
  3. An example of a relative age
    1. the Civil War began in 1861
    2. Kennedy became President in 1961
    3. the dinosaurs died out 70,000 years ago
    4. McKinley was President before Hoover
  4. The reason a geologist can look at a rock and tell how old it is (sometimes):
    1. older rocks look different
    2. the geologist has occult powers
    3. the geologist has read the results of others' work in the area the rock came from
    4. the geologist can see signs of weathering
  5. The process of identifying one rock layer with another one far away is called:
    1. correlation
    2. connection
    3. correspondence
    4. collation
  6. Not a dating method
    1. Potassium-Argon
    2. Hydrogen-Oxygen
    3. Carbon 14
    4. Uranium-Lead
  7. Superposition
    1. means that later events leave their impressions on things that formed earlier
    2. is a means of assigning relative ages
    3. is how we know a dike is younger than the rocks it intrudes
    4. is the reason younger rocks usually overlie older ones
    5. all of the above
  8. Why radiometric dating is more reliable than estimating ages from rates of erosion or rates of sedimentation.
    1. We can measure the amount of material very accurately.
    2. Erosion is constant in rate wind and waves redistribute the sediments
    3. Radioactive decay is constant in rate
  9. Using appropriate formulas, the concept of half-life allows us to determine the age of a rock.
    1. Only if it is a whole number of half-lives old
    2. For any age, even fractions of half-lives old
  10. Why K-Ar cannot date very young rocks.
    1. not enough K has decayed yet
    2. all the Ar has decayed
    3. all the k has decayed
    4. all the Ar has leaked off
  11. If sedimentary rocks are arranged in vertical layers, then:
    1. the oldest layer is on the right
    2. the relative ages of the layers cannot be determined without other supporting evidence
    3. the law of superposition must be employed
    4. all of the layers must have formed at the same time
    5. none of these
  12. Two rock units which are located in different areas are probably related, if the fossils that they contain are:
    1. members of the same fossil assemblage
    2. members of two different fossil assemblages
    3. members of fossil groups having two different ages
    4. none of these
  13. The following is(are) related to absolute time measurements:
    1. the geologic column
    2. half-life data
    3. varves
    4. all of these
    5. tree ring data
  14. The group which does not show a correct sequence of the geologic column is:
    1. Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene
    2. Devonian, Ordovician, Silurian
    3. Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic
    4. Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous
    5. none of these
  15. A buried erosional surface is called:
    1. a paraconformity
    2. an unconformity
    3. a peneplain
    4. a conformity
    5. none of these
  16. The following factor can affect the measured rate of decay of a radioactive element:
    1. pressure
    2. crystal structure of the host mineral
    3. temperature
    4. none of these
    5. acids
  17. The rate of which a radioactive element decays can be described by the:
    1. type of element
    2. fission-tracks
    3. half-life of the element
    4. type of particle emitted
    5. none of these
  18. The basic difference between geology and the other sciences is the element of:
    1. time
    2. evolution
    3. correlation
    4. experimentation
  19. An absolute age date for a dike intruding a sedimentary rock reveals the
    1. youngest possible of the sedimentary rock
    2. oldest possible age of the sedimentary rock
    3. age of the next overlying sedimentary stratum
    4. absolute age of the sedimentary rock
  20. The era that covers the longest span of time is:
    1. Paleozoic
    2. Precambrian
    3. Cenozoic
    4. Mesozoic
  21. Which of the following is not a long-lived (over 100 m.y.) radioactive isotope pair?
    1. uranium-lead
    2. carbon-nitrogen
    3. thorium-lead
    4. potassium-argon
    5. all are long-lived
  22. What is being measured in radiometric dating?
    1. the time when the radioactive isotope formed
    2. the time of crystallization of a mineral containing an isotope
    3. the amount of the parent isotope only
    4. when the dated mineral became part of a sedimentary rock
    5. when the stable daughter isotope was formed
  23. If a radioactive element has a half-life of 4 million years, the amount of parent material remaining after 12 million years of decay will be what fraction of the original amount?
    1. 1/32
    2. 1/16
    3. 1/8
    4. 1/4
    5. 1/2
  24. Which of the following is a trace fossil?
    1. dinosaur tooth
    2. bird bone
    3. frozen mammoth
    4. clam shell
    5. worm burrow
  25. Placing geologic events in sequential order as determined by their position in the rock record is called:
    1. absolute dating
    2. correlation
    3. uniformitarianism
    4. historical dating
    5. relative dating
  26. If a rock is heated during metamorphism and the daughter atoms migrate out of a mineral that is subsequently radiometrically dated, an inaccurate date will be obtained. This date will be _____ the actual date.
    1. younger than
    2. it cannot be determined
    3. older than
    4. none of these
    5. the same as
  27. Which of the following methods can be used to demonstrate age equivalency of rock units?
    1. lateral tracing
    2. position in a sequence
    3. radiometric dating
    4. all of these
    5. index fossils
  28. The author of Principles of Geology and the principal advocate and interpreter of uniformitarianism was:
    1. Hutton
    2. Smith
    3. Steno
    4. Playfair
    5. Lyell
  29. The era younger than the Mesozoic is the:
    1. Proterozoic
    2. Phanerozoic
    3. Archean
    4. Cenozoic
    5. Paleozoic
  30. Which fundamental geological principle states that the oldest layer is on the bottom of a vertical succession of sedimentary rocks and the youngest is on top?
    1. lateral continuity
    2. superposition
    3. fossil succession
    4. cross-cutting relationships
    5. original horizontality
  31. Dendrites are
    1. pseudofossils
    2. fossil tree branches
    3. fossil ferns
    4. fossil moss
  32. A lava flow encases a tree trunk. The tree burns but the lava solidifies and leaves a hollow tube where the tree was.
    1. This is a fossil because it's a record of a living thing in the rocks.
    2. It's not a fossil because igneous rocks don't contain fossils.
  33. Which is least likely to become a fossil?
    1. a feather
    2. a bone
    3. a shell
    4. a piece of wood
  34. Is it possible for a species to exist and yet never be preserved as a fossil?
    1. yes
    2. no
  35. The original material of an organism is never preserved as a fossil.
    1. true
    2. false
  36. Most "petrified wood" is an example of:
    1. preservation or original material
    2. carbonization
    3. replacement
    4. cast or mold
  37. We have well-preserved remains of the internal organs of most fossil organisms.
    1. true
    2. false
  38. Most fossils are of creatures that lived in
    1. the sea
    2. rivers
    3. fresh water
    4. the land
  39. A creature which has a shell or bones is certain to be fossilized.
    1. true
    2. false
  40. Most likely to result in an organism not being fossilized:
    1. rapid burial after death
    2. preservation from decay
    3. being a water-dwelling organism
    4. lack of hard parts, such as bones or shells

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Created January 2 1997; Last Update 24 February, 2011

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