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Milankovitch proposed in the early twentieth century that

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Milankovitch proposed in the early twentieth century that  [#permalink]

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Milankovitch proposed in the early twentieth century that the ice ages were caused by variations in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. For sometime this theory was considered untestable, largely because there was no sufficiently precise chronology of the ice ages with which the orbital variations could be matched.

To establish such a chronology it is necessary to determine the relative amounts of land ice that existed at various times in the Earth’s past. A recent discovery makes such a determination possible: relative land-ice volume for a given period can be deduced from the ratio of two oxygen isotopes, 16 and 18, found in ocean sediments. Almost all the oxygen in water is oxygen 16, but a few molecules out of every thousand incorporate the heavier isotope 18. When an ice age begins, the continental ice sheets grow, steadily reducing the amount of water evaporated from the ocean that will eventually return to it. Because heavier isotopes tend to be left behind when water evaporates from the ocean surfaces, the remaining ocean water becomes progressively enriched in oxygen 18. The degree of enrichment can be determined by analyzing ocean sediments of the period, because these sediments are composed of calcium carbonate shells of marine organisms, shells that were constructed with oxygen atoms drawn from the surrounding ocean. The higher the ratio of oxygen 18 to oxygen 16 in a sedimentary specimen, the more land ice there was when the sediment was laid down.

As an indicator of shifts in the Earth’s climate, the isotope record has two advantages. First, it is a global record: there is remarkably little variation in isotope ratios in sedimentary specimens taken from different continental locations. Second, it is a more continuous record than that taken from rocks on land. Because of these advantages, sedimentary evidence can be dated with sufficient accuracy by radiometric methods to establish a precise chronology of the ice ages. The dated isotope record shows that the fluctuations in global ice volume over the past several hundred thousand years have a pattern: an ice age occurs roughly once every 100,000 years. These data have established a strong connection between variations in the Earth’s orbit and the periodicity of the ice ages.

However, it is important to note that other factors, such as volcanic particulates or variations in the amount of sunlight received by the Earth, could potentially have affected the climate. The advantage of the Milankovitch theory is that it is testable: changes in the Earth’s orbit can be calculated and dated by applying Newton’s laws of gravity to progressively earlier configurations of the bodies in the solar system. Yet the lack of information about other possible factors affecting global climate does not make them unimportant.
1. In the passage, the author is primarily interested in
(A) suggesting an alternative to an outdated research method.
(B) introducing a new research method that calls an accepted theory into question.
(C) emphasizing the instability of data gathered from the application of a new scientific method.
(D) presenting a theory and describing a new method to test that theory.
(E) initiating a debate about a widely accepted theory.



2. The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about the Milankovitch theory?
(A) It is the only possible explanation for the ice ages.
(B) It is too limited to provide a plausible explanation for the ice ages, despite recent research findings.
(C) It cannot be tested and confirmed until further research on volcanic activity is done.
(D) It is one plausible explanation, though not the only one, for the ice ages.
(E) It is not a plausible explanation for the ice ages, although it has opened up promising possibilities for future research.



3. It can be inferred from the passage that the isotope record taken from ocean sediments would be less useful to researchers if which of the following were true?
(A) It indicated that lighter isotopes of oxygen predominated at certain times.
(B) It had far more gaps in its sequence than the record taken from rocks on land.
(C) It indicated that climate shifts did not occur every100,000 years.
(D) It indicated that the ratios of oxygen 16 and oxygen18 in ocean water were not consistent with those found in fresh water.
(E) It stretched back for only a million years.



4. According to the passage, which of the following is true of the ratios of oxygen isotopes in ocean sediments?
(A) They indicate that sediments found during an ice age contain more calcium carbonate than sediments formed at other times.
(B) They are less reliable than the evidence from rocks on land in determining the volume of land ice.
(C) They can be used to deduce the relative volume of land ice that was present when the sediment was laid down.
(D) They are more unpredictable during an ice age than in other climatic conditions.
(E) They can be used to determine atmospheric conditions at various times in the past.



5. It can be inferred from the passage that precipitation formed from evaporated ocean water has
(A) the same isotopic ratio as ocean water
(B) less oxygen 18 than does ocean water
(C) less oxygen 18 than has the ice contained in continental ice sheets
(D) a different isotopic composition than has precipitation formed from water on land
(E) more oxygen 16 than has precipitation formed from fresh water



6. According to the passage, which of the following is (are) true of the ice ages?
Ⅰ. The last ice age occurred about 25,000 years ago.
Ⅱ. Ice ages have lasted about 10,000 years for at least the last several hundred thousand years.
Ⅲ. Ice ages have occurred about every 100,000 years for at least the last several hundred thousand years.
(A) Ⅰ only
(B) Ⅱ only
(C) Ⅲ only
(D) Ⅰand II only
(E) Ⅰ,Ⅱ and Ⅲ



7. It can be inferred from the passage that calcium carbonate shells
(A) are not as susceptible to deterioration as rocks.
(B) are less common in sediments formed during an ice age.
(C) are found only in areas that were once covered by land ice.
(D) contain radioactive material that can be used to determine a sediment's isotopic composition.
(E) reflect the isotopic composition of the water at the time the shells were formed.



8. According to the passage, one advantage of studying the isotope record of ocean sediments is that it
(A) corresponds with the record of ice volume taken from rocks on land.
(B)shows little variation in isotope ratios when samples are taken from different continental locations.
(C) corresponds with predictions already made by climatologists and experts in other fields.
(D) confirms the record of ice volume initially established by analyzing variations in volcanic emissions.
(E) provides data that can be used to substantiate records concerning variations in the amount of sunlight received by the Earth.



9. The purpose of the last paragraph of the passage is to
(a) offer a note of caution
(b) introduce new evidence
(c) present two recent discoveries
(d) summarize material in the preceding paragraphs
(e) offer two explanations for a phenomenon






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Milankovitch proposed in the early twentieth century that  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2013, 14:00
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Really... a tough one.. I was completely blown ......

here are my answers with explanations:

1. In the passage, the author is primarily interested in

Ans : (D) presenting a theory and describing a new method to test that theory
The author mentions the theory presented by Milankovitch and states that for some time this theory was untestable. It is also mentioned in next para that a recent discovery helps in testing the validity of the theory mentioned by Milankovitch.

2. The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about the Milankovitch theory?

Ans : Answering this question consumed most of my time while solving this passage. I was confused between options A and D. My pick for this is
(D) It is one plausible explanation, though not the only one, for the ice ages.

As it has already been mentioned in the passage that Milankovitch's theory can be tested if chronology of ice ages is known. Now measuring the relative amount of land ice that existed during various times in the earth's past is helpful in determining the chronology of ice ages and the amount of land ice can be predicted using the findings of the recent discovery. So the answer B, C and E are out. Now between A and D we need to confirm if the theory is the only way to find the volume of land ice. The author mentions in last passage that there are some other factors as well such as volcanic particulates or variations in the amount of sunlight received by the earth which could potentially have affected the climate. The only reason for which the author chose the Milankovitch's theory is that it is testable. There are other factors but they are not considered just because of the lack of information about them.

3. Itcan be inferred from the passage that the isotope record taken from ocean sediments would be less usefulto researchers if which of the following were true?
Ans : (B) It had far more gaps in its sequence than the record taken from rocks on land.
It is clearly mentioned in lines 37-39 that records taken from ocean sediments are advantageous because they are more continuous in nature that those taken from rocks on land.

4. According to the passage, which of the following is true of the ratios of oxygen isotopes in ocean sediments?
Ans : (c) They can be used to deduce the relative volume of land ice that was present when the sediment was laid down.
It is clearly mentioned in lines 12 to 14 that relative land-ice volume for a given period can be deduced from the ratio of two oxygen isotopes,16 and 18, found in ocean sediments.

5. It can be inferred from the passage that precipitation formed from evaporated ocean water has
Ans : (B) less oxygen 18 than does ocean water
It is mentioned in lines 20 to 24 that when water evaporates the heavier isotope remains in ocean water. This clearly causes the concentration of oxygen 18 to decrease in evaporated water. So precipitation formed from evaporated water will have less oxygen 18 than that in oceanic precipitations.

6. Itcan be inferred from the passage that calcium carbonate shells
Ans : (E) reflect the isotopic composition of the water at the time the shells were formed
From lines 24 to 29 it can be inferred that calcium carbonate shells were constructed using the oceanic water at the time of their composition. So the oxygen isotope's concentration found in their analysis will show the concentration of isotopes in oceanic water.

Carcass, It has taken a lot of time in formatting the question in my post but if some errors are still persisting, I am worried about them. Request you to review the answers and explanations. Its 3:40 am here...So i m gonna sleep with hope to get reply from you when i wake up .... It was really tough question. :wave: :done

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New post 30 May 2013, 21:34
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It's important to compare the content in the final paragraph to the rest of the passage. It introduces new considerations (volcanic ash, variations in sunlight) that might also explain ice ages. True, it reiterates that Milankovitch's theory is testable, but in no way does it summarize the passage. The paragraph is saying "Here are some other possible explanations. Milankovitch's explanation (orbital variations) is being tested, but that doesn't mean these other factors may not turn out to be important." Therefore, the author is sounding a note of caution. Despite the promising results so far, we can't be sure that this theory is the answer.
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Re: Milankovitch proposed in the early twentieth century that  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Aug 2013, 10:32
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roopika2990 wrote:
I chose B for q18 ... can anyone explain why D is the right choice?


I guess I can help.

The choice B has several issues:
Re-Stating the question and dissecting choices bit by bit. :P

18. The author of the passage would be most likely to agree with which of the following statements about the Milankovitch theory?
(A) It is the only possible explanation for the ice ages.

No where it is claimed in the passage that theory presented is the only claim. In context of the last para it is clearly implied that it is one of the plausible theory explaining the ice-ages.

(B) It is too limited to provide a plausible explanation for the ice ages, despite recent research findings.

phrase "too limited" makes this option incorrect. Referring back to passage, in particular last line, " Yet the lack of information about other possible factors affecting global climate does not make them unimportant." - implies that author is kinda CONCERN about neglecting these factors even while author is identifying advantages of Milankovitch theory. This choice is too negative and changes the author stand point altogether.

(C) It cannot be tested and confirmed until further research on volcanic activity is done.
Directly contradicting author's view in the last para.

(D) It is one plausible explanation, though not the only one, for the ice ages.
Bingo!!! This basically implies that the presented theory by Milankovitch is one of the possible explanation but not the only one since there are other factors or theories(implied) which might have contributed to the ice age.
(E) It is not a plausible explanation for the ice ages, although it has opened up promising possibilities for future research.
Author concludes the passage indicating skepticism of ignoring factors like volcanic eruptions and duration of sunlight. He never recommends,explicitly, that an extended research is needed to prove something. Hence out!

Hope it helps :)
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Re: Milankovitch proposed in the early twentieth century that  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2016, 00:36
Hi,

Can anyone please explain the Q2 - answer? Why it's option 'D', while i understood it should be as 'B'.
It's only mentioned that there are other factors which can play a role in assessing M's discovery, and no where mentioned that there are other discoveries as well to find the ice age. Thanks!
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New post Updated on: 28 Mar 2017, 11:50
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19 and 21? I'm on it!

19. It can be inferred from the passage that the isotope record taken from ocean sediments would be less useful to researchers if which of the following were true?
(A) It indicated that lighter isotopes of oxygen predominated at certain times.
(B) It had far more gaps in its sequence than the record taken from rocks on land.
(C) It indicated that climate shifts did not occur every 100,000 years.
(D) It indicated that the ratios of oxygen 16 and oxygen18 in ocean water were not consistent with those found in fresh water.
(E) It stretched back for only a million years.

We're looking for something that would make this method less useful to researchers. B is a problem because we're taking away one of the stated advantages of the method. (Specifically, this knocks out the second advantage described in paragraph 3.)

A) The lighter isotope (16) always predominates, so this can't be a problem! (The passage states that only a few molecules out of every thousand have the heavier 18.)
C) This might be a problem for Milankovitch's theory, but not for researchers. The method is still useful, whether it supports the theory or casts doubt on it.
D) If fresh water samples gave us totally different indications of when the ice ages occurred, that would be a problem. However, just seeing variation between fresh and salt water doesn't tell us anything. Maybe the ratios in fresh water are supposed to be different, so we can't really interpret this without more information.
E) A million years is a long time! How do we know it's long enough for what we want? Ice ages appear to occur about once every hundred thousand years, and the author feel comfortable announcing this pattern after looking back a few hundred thousand years, or a few ice ages. By this standard, going back a million years would seem to be more than enough.
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Originally posted by DmitryFarber on 28 Mar 2017, 11:46.
Last edited by DmitryFarber on 28 Mar 2017, 11:50, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 28 Mar 2017, 11:49
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21. It can be inferred from the passage that precipitation formed from evaporated ocean water has
(A) the same isotopic ratio as ocean water
(B) less oxygen 18 than does ocean water
(C) less oxygen 18 than has the ice contained in continental ice sheets
(D) a different isotopic composition than has precipitation formed from water on land
(E) more oxygen 16 than has precipitation formed from fresh water

The support for B is right here: "When an ice age begins, the continental ice sheets grow, steadily reducing the amount of water evaporated from the ocean that will eventually return to it. Because heavier isotopes tend to be left behind when water evaporates from the ocean surfaces, the remaining ocean water becomes progressively enriched in oxygen 18."

Translation? When water evaporates, the heavier 18 gets left behind. When that evaporated water gets trapped in ice and doesn't return, the ocean gets steadily higher in oxygen 18. This can only happen if the missing water has less 16 than normal ocean water. (For a real-world connection, compare this to what happens with salt. When ocean water evaporates, the salt is left behind.)
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Re: Milankovitch proposed in the early twentieth century that  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Nov 2017, 17:24
Can anyone please explain why Q4 /option A is wrong?

According to the passage, which of the following is true of the ratios of oxygen isotopes in ocean sediments?
(A) They indicate that sediments found during an ice age contain more calcium carbonate than sediments formed at other times.
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New post 28 Jan 2018, 01:13
anchal25 wrote:
Hi,

Can anyone please explain the Q2 - answer? Why it's option 'D', while i understood it should be as 'B'.
It's only mentioned that there are other factors which can play a role in assessing M's discovery, and no where mentioned that there are other discoveries as well to find the ice age. Thanks!


Its 2018 now, but i'll try to answer that for the benefit of those who might have gotten stuck here as well.

Milansovitch theory states that ice ages are caused by variations in the Earth's orbit around the sun (and nothing else). The passage then explains and confirms that such a connection does indeed exist. But when we read line (49-52), there could be other causes of ice age as well.

Hence the answer, "It is one plausible explanation, though not the only one, for the ice ages."
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New post 28 Jan 2018, 01:23
Soul777 wrote:
Can anyone please explain why Q4 /option A is wrong?

According to the passage, which of the following is true of the ratios of oxygen isotopes in ocean sediments?
(A) They indicate that sediments found during an ice age contain more calcium carbonate than sediments formed at other times.



Hi, let me try to answer that.

The passage did not mentioned anything about having more or less calcium carbonate in sediments. In fact the answer can be directly lifted from the passage in line (12).
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New post 14 Apr 2018, 11:50
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DmitryFarber wrote:
21. It can be inferred from the passage that precipitation formed from evaporated ocean water has
(A) the same isotopic ratio as ocean water
(B) less oxygen 18 than does ocean water
(C) less oxygen 18 than has the ice contained in continental ice sheets
(D) a different isotopic composition than has precipitation formed from water on land
(E) more oxygen 16 than has precipitation formed from fresh water

The support for B is right here: "When an ice age begins, the continental ice sheets grow, steadily reducing the amount of water evaporated from the ocean that will eventually return to it. Because heavier isotopes tend to be left behind when water evaporates from the ocean surfaces, the remaining ocean water becomes progressively enriched in oxygen 18."

Translation? When water evaporates, the heavier 18 gets left behind. When that evaporated water gets trapped in ice and doesn't return, the ocean gets steadily higher in oxygen 18. This can only happen if the missing water has less 16 than normal ocean water. (For a real-world connection, compare this to what happens with salt. When ocean water evaporates, the salt is left behind.)


Why is C incorrect here? Doesn't the oxygen 18 enriched water eventually turn into ice?
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New post 30 Apr 2018, 23:00
bpdulog There's no indication that the 18-enriched water turns to ice. It's in the ocean, and the passage doesn't say that the ocean freezes.

However, that doesn't matter anyway. The question is asking us to compare rain from evaporated ocean water with continental ice sheets. That rain is exactly what forms the ice sheets, so they should have roughly the same concentration of oxygen 18 (a very low one, if any at all!).
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New post 11 Jul 2018, 16:16
Is it really a 700 level Passage ??? 13:40 - all correct. but i call it easy cause most of the time i don't need to read it back.
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New post 30 Sep 2018, 22:19
10.32, 9/9, seemed an easy to follow passage
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New post 05 Oct 2018, 00:20
solved in 13:30 min, took a lot of time though, 8/9 correct
can anyone explain 2 Q'n. select B instead of D.
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New post 13 Oct 2018, 07:57
Got 9/9 correct in 10:46 min including 3:45 min to read the passage!

Passage Map:
1) Untested theory
2) New evidence (isotopes) to test that theory
3) Advantages of isotopes
4) Other possible factors
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