SSAT Reading Question 209: Answer and Explanation
4. The statement that "Many geologists weren't surprised by Mount St. Helens' awakening," (lines 12–13) primarily suggests that
- A. geologists were able to predict when Mount St. Helens would erupt
- B. the assumptions geologists had made about Mount St. Helens were being proven
- C. the longer a volcano remains dormant, the more likely it is to become active
- D. nothing is surprising to geologists
Correct Answer: B
B is correct. The passage states that the geologists were not surprised by Mount St. Helens’ awakening because they had been studying Mount St. Helens for many years and in 1975 they "published a report predicting Mount St. Helens was the volcano in the lower 48 states most likely to erupt by the end of the century." Thus, the assumptions they had made about Mount St. Helens based on extensive studies of deposits found around the volcano were proving to be correct. Choice A is wrong because the geologists predicted only that Mount St. Helens was the volcano "most likely to erupt by the end of the century." They did not predict when it would erupt, but only that it was most likely to erupt. The passage provides no information to support either choice C or choice D. Choice E describes an event leading up to the actual eruption, but it has nothing to do with why the geologists were not surprised by the volcano’s awakening.