TOEFL IBT Reading Practice Test 26 from Delta’s Key to the Next Generation TOEFL Test – Six Practice Tests for The iBT by Nancy Gallagher
Reading Section Directions
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The Reading section measures your ability to read and understand passages in English. You will read three passages and answer questions about them. Answer all questions based on what is stated or implied in the passages.
Most questions are worth one point. The last question in each set is worth more than one point. For this question, the directions will indicate how many points you can receive.
Some passages have one or more words in bold type. For these bolded words, you will see a definition in a glossary at the end of the passage.
Allow 20 minutes to read each passage and answer the questions about it. You may now begin the first passage.
MASS WASTING PROCESSES
The downslope movement of rock, mud, or other material under the influence of gravity is known as mass wasting. While the angle of the slope is a major factor in the potential for mass wasting, the slope is not the sole determiner of mass wasting events. Water plays a significant role, especially where it is plentiful during the rainy season. Earthquakes may cause rockslides, mudflows, and other mass movements. Factors such as the presence or absence of vegetation and human activities can also influence the potential for mass wasting.
One way to classify mass wasting processes is on the basis of the material involved, such as rock, debris, earth, or mud. The manner in which the material moves is also important and is generally described as a fall, a slide, or a flow. A fall occurs when weathering loosens boulders from cliffs or rock faces, causing the boulders to break away and fall. A slide takes place whenever material remains fairly coherent and moves along a weil-defincd surface. A flow involves the movement of debris containing a large amount of water.
Many mass wasting processes are described as slides. Rockslides occur when a coherent mass of rock breaks loose and slides down a slope as a unit. If the material involved is mostly separate pieces, it is called a debris slide. Slides are among the fastest and most destructive mass movements. Usually rockslides occur in a geologic setting where the rock layers are inclined, or where there are joints and fractures in the rock that are parallel to the slope. When such a rock unit is undercut at the base of the slope, it loses support and the rock eventually collapses. Rain or snowmelt can trigger a rockslide by wetting the underlying surface to the point that friction can no longer hold the rock in place. The fastest type of slide is a rock avalanche, in which a mass of rock literally floats on air as it moves downslope. The high speed of a rock avalanche is the result of air becoming trapped and compressed beneath the falling mass of debris, allowing it to move down the slope as a buoyant sheet.
Mudflows are relatively rapid mass wasting events that involve soil and a large amount of water. Because of their fluid properties, mudflows follow canyons and stream channels. Mudflows often take place in semiarid mountainous regions and on the slopes of some volcanoes. Although rainstorms in semiarid regions are infrequent, they are typically heavy when they occur. When a rainstorm or rapidly melting snow creates a sudden flood, large quantities of soil and loose rock are washed into nearby stream channels because there is usually little or no vegetation to anchor the surface material. The result is a flowing mass of well-mixed mud, soil, rock, and water. The consistency of the mudflow may be similar to that of wet concrete, or it may be a soupy mixture not much thicker than muddy water. The water content influences the rate of flow across the surface. When a mudflow is dense, it moves more slowly, but it can easily carry or push large boulders, trees, and even houses along with it.
In dry mountainous areas such as southern California, mudflows are a serious hazard to development on and near canyon hillsides. The removal of native vegetation by brush fires has increased the nroba.bilitv of these destructive events. Past mudflows have contributed to the buildup of fan-shaped deposits at canyon mouths. Such fans are relatively easy to build on and often have scenic views, so many have become desirable sites for residential development. However, because mudflows occur infrequently, homeowners are often unaware of the
Highly fluid, fast-flowing mudflows incorporate fine-grained sediment and are common after volcanic eruptions that produce large volumes of volcanic ash. Mudflows containing volcanic debris are called lahars, a word originating in Indonesia, a region that experiences many volcanic eruptions. Lahars occur when highly unstable layers of ash and debris become saturated with water and flow down steep volcanic slopes along stream channels. In the northwestern United States, the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 created several lahars that raced down the valley of the Toutle River, altering the landscape in a relatively short period.
1. All of the following are given as factors in mass wasting EXCEPT
(A) the angle of the slope
(B) the presence of water
(C) the absence of plants
(D) the type of mineral
2. The name of a mass wasting process is a reflection of
(A) the area in which the movement occurs
(B) the material that is moved and the way it moves
(C) the rate of movement relative to other processes
(D) the mass and volume of the material involved
3. The word trigger in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to
4. Why does a rock avalanche move faster than other types of rockslides?
(A) The rock moves over a layer of compressed air.
(B) The rainfall is heavy where avalanches occur.
(C) The rock breaks apart as it moves downslope.
(D) The angle of the slope is almost vertical.
5. The word buoyant in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to
6. The word anchor in paragraph 4 is closest in meaning to
7. The word that in paragraph 4 refers to
8. Which sentence below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in paragraph 5? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
(X) Fire has destroyed much of the original vegetation, so mudflows are now more likely.
(X) More damage to vegetation is caused by brush fires than by any other natural event.
(X) It is necessary to remove dead and damaged vegetation after a mudflow but not after a fire.
(X) Fires occur frequently in areas where the vegetation has been cleared for development.
9. What can be inferred from paragraph 5 about mudflows in some parts of southern California?
(X) Mudflows rarely occur more than once in the same location.
(X) Mudflows cause the worst damage in areas that are heavily forested.
(X) Mudflows occur more often than other natural disasters such as fires.
(X) Mudflows are so dangerous because people do not expect them to occur.
10. It can be inferred from paragraph 6 that lahars
(X) contain less water than other mudflows
(X) occur in Indonesia
(X) are relatively harmless events
(X) cause volcanic eruptions
11. Why does the author use the word raced in paragraph 6 while describing the iahars caused by the eruption of Mount St. Helens?
A. To show that lahars are faster than rock avalanches
B. To state ironically that lahars do not actually move quickly
C. To emphasize the fast speed of lahars
D. To explain why people could not outrun the mudflows
12. Look at the four squares, [A], [B], [C], [D]. which indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage. Where would the sentence best fit?
Thus, rockslides occur more frequently during the spring, when heavy rains and melting snow are most prevalent.
Many mass wasting processes are described as slides. Rockslides occur when a coherent mass of rock breaks loose and slides down a slope as a unit. [A] If the material involved is largely unconsolidated, it is called a debris slide. Slides are among the fastest and most destructive mass movements. Usually rockslides occur in a geologic setting where the rock layers are inclined or where there are joints and fractures in the rock that are parallel to the slope. [B] When such a rock unit is undercut at the base of the slope, it loses support and the rock eventually collapses. Rain or snowmelt can trigger a rockslide by wetting the underlying surface to the point that friction can no longer hold the rock in place. [C] The fastest type of slide is a rock avalanche, in which a mass of rock literally floats on air as it moves downslope. The high speed of a rock avalanche is the result of air becoming trapped and compressed beneath the falling mass of debris, allowing it to move down the slope as a buoyant sheet. [D]
13. Select the appropriate phrases from the answer choices and match them to the type of mass wasting t which they refer. TWO of the answer choices will NOT be used. This question is worth 4 points.
(A) Occur when a mass of rock moves downslope as a unit(B) Involve the mass movement of soil containing a large amount of water(C) May have the consistency of wet concrete or soup
(D) Occur where sloping rock layers have cracks parallel to the slope
(E) Occur when a layer of snow breaks loose and moves rapidly downslope
(F) Include the transportation of organic materials by wind and water
(G) Float on a thin layer of air as they move rapidly down a mountain
(H) Move slowly but with enough force to carry away trees and houses
(I) Occur on slopes where layers of volcanic debris become extremely wet