Surface Streams and Groundwater

Practice exam questions written by Timothy H. Heaton,
Professor of Earth Sciences, University of South Dakota

Click the circle by an answer with the mouse, then click on the Submit button to get a response. You will be told if your answer is correct or not and will be given some comments.

  1. What reservoir holds the greatest amount of water besides the oceans?
    Atmosphere.
    Glaciers.
    Groundwater.
    Lakes.
    Streams.

  2. What powers the hydrologic cycle?
    Earthquakes.
    Gravity.
    Internal heat.
    Solar energy.
    Wind.

  3. What is water soaking into the ground called?
    Evaporation.
    Infiltration.
    Precipitation.
    Runoff.
    Transpiration.

  4. What term refers to the total amount of material carried by the water of a stream or river?
    Capacity.
    Competence.
    Discharge.
    Load.
    Saltation.

  5. What is the rate of water flow in a river channel?
    Discharge.
    Laminar flow.
    Settling velocity.
    Sheet flow.
    Turbulent flow.

  6. Where does the maximum water velocity occur in a meander bend?
    In the middle of the river channel.
    On the inside of the bend.
    On the outside of the bend.

  7. Which feature represents an abandoned river channel?
    Backswamp.
    Floodplain.
    Natural levee.
    Oxbow lake.
    Yazoo tributary.

  8. As stream erosion works its way toward equilibrium in a drainage basin, what is the effect on lakes and waterfalls?
    Both lakes and waterfalls are created by stream erosion.
    Both lakes and waterfalls are destroyed by stream erosion.
    Lakes are created but waterfalls are destroyed by stream erosion.
    Waterfalls are created but lakes are destroyed by stream erosion.

  9. What factor causes a river to be braided?
    High discharge.
    High sediment load.
    Shallow gradient.
    Steep gradient.
    Tight channelization.

  10. What features are created when rivers enter the ocean?
    Alluvial fans.
    Deltas.
    Drainage basins.
    Point bars.
    Tributaries.

  11. What is alluvium?
    Any stream-deposited sediment.
    Back swamp mud deposits.
    Bed load sediments.
    Dissolved sediments.
    Suspended sediments.

  12. Where are distributaries found?
    At river divides.
    At river mouths.
    In drainage basins.
    In floodplains.
    In point bar deposits.

  13. What type of sediment load is deposited first when a river enters the ocean?
    Bed load.
    Dissolved load.
    Suspended load.

  14. What is the ultimate result of long-term stream erosion?
    A flat topography near sea level.
    A rectangular drainage pattern.
    Deep U-shaped valleys.
    Deep V-shaped valleys.
    Extensive lakes.

  15. In which part of the groundwater system are the pore spaces not filled with water?
    Capillary fringe.
    Hydraulic gradient.
    Water table.
    Zone of aeration.
    Zone of saturation.

  16. To what level will a well fill when drilled into the ground?
    Capillary fringe.
    Hydraulic gradient.
    Water table.
    Zone of aeration.
    Zone of saturation.

  17. Match each term with its definition.
    Term Definition
    Discharge.
    Effluent.
    Influent.
    Permeability.
    Porosity.
    Recharge.
    Ability to transmit fluid.
    Entry of water into groundwater system.
    Exit of water from groundwater system.
    Fluid holding capacity.
    Streams that gain water from the ground.
    Streams that loose water to the ground.

  18. Match each rock type with its groundwater characteristics.
    Rock type Characteristics
    Granite.
    Limestone.
    Sandstone.
    Shale.
    Dissolves in weak acid.
    Has high porosity, high permeability.
    Has high porosity, low permeability.
    Has low porosity, low permeability.

  19. What is an aquifer?
    A geyser.
    A high discharge spring.
    A permeable rock type.
    A reservoir of ground water.
    An impermeable rock type.

  20. What is an artesian well?
    A free-flowing well.
    A geyser.
    A spring.
    A very deep well.
    Any well where water rises above the aquifer itself.

  21. What can form when the pressure surface is above the ground?
    A dried up well.
    A flowing artesian well.
    A non-flowing artesian well.
    Downdraw of the water table.
    Influent streams.

  22. Which problem is not caused by groundwater withdrawal?
    Chemical contamination.
    Drying up of springs.
    Drying up of wells.
    Salt-water incursion.
    Subsidence.

  23. What is formed when water is removed from a well?
    Cavern.
    Cone of depression.
    Cone of discharge.
    Zone of aeration.
    Zone of saturation.

  24. What rock type do caves nearly always form in?
    Basalt.
    Granite.
    Limestone.
    Sandstone.
    Shale.

  25. What causes water to eject from a geyser?
    A pressure surface high above the ground.
    A perched water table.
    Dissolved gasses.
    Dissolved ions.
    Superheated water turning to steam.

Please report any problems or errors to Dr. Heaton.