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Andrew Alden

Answers to the 2013 Christmas Geology Quiz

By December 29, 2013

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I know you've been on tenterhooks, so take them out and settle down because the answers to the 2013 Christmas Geology Quiz are in!

  1. Which of these does not belong: ballas, bort, gangue, naif? Gangue is the part of an ore that's not the good stuff; all the others pertain to diamonds.
  2. What do these have in common: grain, hardway, rift, run? All are terms used to describe quarried granite.
  3. Which of these does not belong: aerolite, hyaloclastite, palagonite, peperite? Aerolite is an obsolete name for stony meteorites; the others are types of quenched lava.
  4. What uses all of these: detrital zircons, heavy minerals, lithics, phenoclasts? All of these are used in sedimentary provenance studies.
  5. Where do creep, flash, heave and inbreak occur? In mines, where they describe types of damage.
  6. Which of these planets is closest to us: Luna, Mars, Theia, Venus? Theia is the name given to the "Mars-sized object" whose collision with Earth gave rise to the Moon; it's part of us now.
  7. What's the adjective for something on Mercury: Hadean, Hermean, Mancunian, Mercurian? "Hermean" counts too, but it's no longer the favored term.
  8. The largest earthquake of 2013 struck what country: Canada, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia? The East Russia earthquake of 24 May had a magnitude of 8.3; it was also the largest deep earthquake ever recorded, at 609 km depth.
  9. Which volcano erupted throughout 2013: Etna, Eyjafjallajökull, Klyuchevskoy, Mayon? Etna's show of pyrotechnics was almost nonstop this year; follow it on Facebook and/or Twitter.
  10. Cataclastic, granoblastic, hornfelsic and mylonitic are what? All are metamorphic fabrics.
  11. Aphanitic, glassy, phaneritic and spinifex are what? All are igneous rock textures.
  12. Which of these does not belong: cast, druse, mold, vug? A cast is mineral matter, such as a fossil, that fills a hole; the other terms are types of holes in rocks.
  13. What do these famous folks have in common: John Hickenlooper, Herbert Hoover, Colin Powell, Andrei Tarkovsky? The governor of Colorado, the President, the Secretary of State, and the great filmmaker were geologists at the start of their careers.
  14. What rock type gave rise to stories this year about a "Brazilian Atlantis"? Granite, discovered way offshore on the Rio Grande Rise where only seafloor basalt was expected.
  15. What the heck is this? "Camels often sit down, much pained. Perhaps their joints creak. Perhaps early oiling might prevent permanent hemorrhoids." It's a mnemonic for the geologic time units starting with the Cambrian Period and ending with the Holocene Epoch.
  16. Is diorite a gabbroid? Is tonalite a granitoid? Is foidolite a feldspathoid? Yes, yes and no. Foidolite is made of feldspathoid minerals.
  17. Which came first, shale oil or oil shale? Oil shale, bitumen-rich mudstone, was refined into oil a century ago whereas "shale oil" is a product of recent advances in hydraulic fracturing methods.
  18. Which of these is different: adularescence, aventurescence, fluorescence, labradorescence? Fluorescent minerals actually emit light whereas the other terms refer to reflected light.
  19. Which of these is the most spherical: biosphere, cryosphere, magnetosphere, pedosphere? The biosphere covers every bit of the Earth's surface, unlike the others which comprise ice, the region of outer space dominated by geomagnetic force, and soil respectively.
  20. Which of these is fluid: asthenosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, siderosphere? Of all these '-spheres,' the atmosphere is entirely fluid (being gaseous). The others are partially or entirely solid.

Hope you enjoyed yourselves. Comments of all types, from lauds to expostulations, are welcome below.

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