1. What are the four parts of the Earth System? Be able to give an example of how they all interact.
  2. What are negative and positive feedback mechanisms?
  3. What is the carbon cycle?
  4. What is albedo? What has a higher albedo; snow or sand?
  5. Be able to explain the scientific method (in detail – bulleted answers will not be accepted). How do geologists use the scientific method to study Earth?
  6. Be able to convert between units. (kilometers (km) to meters (m)

Formation of Earth

  1. What is the Big Bang Theory?
  2. What is the Nebular Hypothesis?
  3. How old is Earth? How do we know this? How did Earth form?
  4. What are the names of the planets in our solar system? How are the inner planets different from the outer planets?
  5. What is density and why is it important in the study of Earth?

Earth’s Layers

  1. What are the layers of Earth? What are the components that make up these layers and what are they made of? What are the densities of the three components of the lithosphere?
  2. How do we know that these layers exist?

Plate Tectonics

  1. Who was Alfred Wegener?
  2. What does the Continental Drift hypothesis state? What was the evidence for Continental Drift? Why wasn’t it accepted by the scientific community?
  3. What is paleomagnetism and what does it tell us about Earth’s surface?
  4. What is seafloor spreading and how does this help to explain the theory of Plate Tectonics?
  5. What does the age of the seafloor tell us?
  6. What is the theory of Plate Tectonics?
  7. What are the 3 main types of plate boundaries? What happens at each one of these plate boundaries?
  8. What are the 3 types of convergent boundaries? Explain why volcanoes form at convergent boundaries. Be able to diagram, in detail, a subduction zone.
  9. What are hot spots and how are they utilized by geologists? Be able to determine the direction and rate of movement of a tectonic plate with the use of hot spot data.


  1. What are the components of atoms?
  2. What are the 4 types of bonding that are important in the formation of minerals? How do they differ?
  3. What are all silicate minerals composed of?
  4. What criteria must a material meet in order to be considered a mineral?
  5. What is the difference between a felsic mineral and a mafic mineral?

Mineral Resources

  1. What are the two main categories of mineral resources?
  2. What physical property allows for the widespread use of metals in society?
  3. What is the importance of hydrothermal deposits (black smokers) as it relates to mineral resources?
  4. What are some negative environmental impacts of mineral mining?

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