ISEE Upper Level Reading Comprehension Practice Test 18

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The temperature of the earth's upper atmosphere is one of the most revealing properties of the earth's near environment. Not only does it vary widely with time and location but it also reacts strongly to changes in solar activity. The variation of temperature with altitude and with time reflects directly the different energy sources that in large measure govern the dynamic behavior of the upper atmosphere. The temperature also controls the rate of change of density with altitude through the requirement of hydrostatic balance. In hydrostatic balance the atmospheric pressure at any height equals the total weight of the overlying gas, a condition that requires that the pressure and density of the gas decrease exponentially at a rate inversely proportional to the temperature.

Thus, if the altitude profile of the temperature is known, one can calculate the altitude profiles of pressure and density provided the mean molecular weight of the gas is also known. This proviso is necessary because the rate of decrease of pressure and density is proportional to the mean molecular weight. Since heavy gases, such as argon and carbon dioxide, are more tightly bound by the earth's gravitational field, they tend to concentrate at low altitudes, while the density of light constituents, such as hydrogen and helium, decreases very slowly with height. At altitudes below about 110 kilometers, however, this tendency toward gravitational separation of the constituents is fully counteracted by turbulent mixing processes so the mean molecular weight of the atmosphere varies very little from its sea-level value of 29 atomic mass units (amu). At higher altitudes there is little mixing. The heavy constituents become progressively more rare, and the dominant atmospheric constituent changes, with increasing altitude, from molecular nitrogen (28 amu), to atomic oxygen (16 amu), to helium (4 amu), and, at very high altitudes, to atomic hydrogen (1 amu).

1. All of the following affect the temperature of the earth's upper atmosphere EXCEPT

  • A. sun.
  • B. altitude.
  • C. time.
  • D. weather.

2. Which of the following most strongly affects the upper atmosphere?

  • A. Lack of oxygen
  • B. Seasonal changes
  • C. Air pressure
  • D. Heat of the sun

3. Which of the following are most likely to be tightly bound by the earth's gravitational field?

  • A. oxygen and helium.
  • B. hydrogen and helium.
  • C. argon and carbon dioxide.
  • D. helium and argon.

4. The mean molecular weight of the atmosphere at sea level is closest to

  • A. 1 atomic mass unit.
  • B. 4 atomic mass units.
  • C. 29 atomic mass units.
  • D. 36 atomic mass units.

5. At the highest altitude one would find

  • A. helium.
  • B. oxygen.
  • C. hydrogen.
  • D. nitrogen.

6. Which statement best reflects the main idea of this article?

  • A. There is a great variability in the temperature of the earth from place to place and from time to time.
  • B. Control of the earth's upper atmosphere depends upon control of its temperature.
  • C. Our environment is controlled by the earth's temperature.
  • D. High altitude temperature tells much about the earth's atmosphere.

On May 8, 1939, folk song collector and scholar Herbert Halpert arrived in Mississippi to document folklore and folk music during a recording tour of the South sponsored by the Joint Committee on the Arts of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The WPA was one of many New Deal agencies created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help boost the country's economy after the setbacks of the Great Depression.

To conduct the tour, Halpert drove into Mississippi in an old ambulance outfitted with cabinets, a small cot, food, and clothes. The ambulance also had specially built shelves for the latest in recording equipment-an acetate disc recorder lent by the Archive of American Folk Song at the Library of Congress.

To take full advantage of Halpert's short visit, local WPA workers acted as intermediaries, preceding the recording truck to make arrangements with the folk musicians he would visit and grouping artists in convenient places to minimize travel and maximize recording time. Following their schedule, with a few side trips to pursue a couple of leads of his own, Halpert cut 168 records between May 8 and June 11, 1939.

Halpert was assisted by Abbott Ferriss, a Mississippi native, who later went on to become a sociologist at Columbia University. Ferriss was employed at the time by another New Deal program known as the Federal Writers' Project. He used the experience to gather sociological information about Southern folk music communities that would eventually influence some of his academic contributions to the field.

In addition to helping with the actual recording, Ferriss kept field notes on the trip and took photographs of the musicians, their families, homes, and surroundings. At the project's conclusion, the recordings became part of the folk-music collections at the Library of Congress. The photographs and much of the manuscript material related to the project were retained in Mississippi.

7. According to the passage, the purpose of Halpert's journey to Mississippi was to

  • A. make arrangements for the writing of folk songs.
  • B. consult with a local native.
  • C. record the folk music of Mississippi performers.
  • D. photograph the Mississippi landscape.

8. Which of the following is not stated in the passage?

  • A. The WPA sponsored a recording project in the South.
  • B. Local workers helped Halpert by searching for musicians.
  • C. The local workers sought to minimize Halpert's travel time.
  • D. The photographs were sent to the Library of Congress.

9. Which of the following can be reasonably inferred about the WPA?

  • A. It was only interested in folk music.
  • B. It took full advantage of short visits to the Library of Congress.
  • C. It was a national organization with local offices.
  • D. It was sponsored by the Joint Committee on the Arts.

10. According to the passage, Abbott Ferriss was originally from

  • A. Columbia.
  • B. Mississippi.
  • C. New York.
  • D. London.

11. During the time of the Mississippi recordings in 1939, Abbott Ferriss was employed by

  • A. the Federal Writers' Project.
  • B. the Library of Congress.
  • C. Columbia University.
  • D. folk music communities.

12. The word retained most nearly means

  • A. lost
  • B. repaired
  • C. grown
  • D. kept