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Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the ar

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Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the ar [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2014, 07:21
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Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the area, which had been subjected to hundreds of smoky oil fires and deliberate oil spills when regular oil production slowed down during the war, displayed less oil contamination than they had witnessed in pre-war surveys of the same area. They also reported that the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's) - used as a marked of combustion products spewed from oil wells ignited during the war-were also relatively low, comparable to those recorded in the temperature oil producing areas of the Baltic Sea.
Which one of the following, if true, does most to resolve the apparent discrepancy in the information above?

A) Oil contaminants have greater environmental effects in temperate regions than in desert regions.
B) Oil contamination and PAH pollution dissipate more rapidly in temperate regions than in desert regions.
C) Oil contamination and PAH pollution dissipate more rapidly in desert regions than in temperate regions.
D) Peacetime oil production and transport in the Persian Gulf result in high levels of PAH's and massive oil dumping.
E) The Persian Gulf War ended before the oil fires and spills caused as much as originally expected.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the ar [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2014, 10:28
Qoofi wrote:
Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the area, which had been subjected to hundreds of smoky oil fires and deliberate oil spills when regular oil production slowed down during the war, displayed less oil contamination than they had witnessed in pre-war surveys of the same area. They also reported that the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's) - used as a marked of combustion products spewed from oil wells ignited during the war-were also relatively low, comparable to those recorded in the temperature oil producing areas of the Baltic Sea.
Which one of the following, if true, does most to resolve the apparent discrepancy in the information above?

A) Oil contaminants have greater environmental effects in temperate regions than in desert regions.
B) Oil contamination and PAH pollution dissipate more rapidly in temperate regions than in desert regions.
C) Oil contamination and PAH pollution dissipate more rapidly in desert regions than in temperate regions.
D) Peacetime oil production and transport in the Persian Gulf result in high levels of PAH's and massive oil dumping.
E) The Persian Gulf War ended before the oil fires and spills caused as much as originally expected.


I spent over 6 minutes trying to figure out what this problem was trying to say. I got it right but it was more from an educated guess. Does anyone have an explanation?

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Re: Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the ar [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2014, 13:35
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BassanioGratiano wrote:
Qoofi wrote:
Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the area, which had been subjected to hundreds of smoky oil fires and deliberate oil spills when regular oil production slowed down during the war, displayed less oil contamination than they had witnessed in pre-war surveys of the same area. They also reported that the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's) - used as a marked of combustion products spewed from oil wells ignited during the war-were also relatively low, comparable to those recorded in the temperature oil producing areas of the Baltic Sea.
Which one of the following, if true, does most to resolve the apparent discrepancy in the information above?

A) Oil contaminants have greater environmental effects in temperate regions than in desert regions.
B) Oil contamination and PAH pollution dissipate more rapidly in temperate regions than in desert regions.
C) Oil contamination and PAH pollution dissipate more rapidly in desert regions than in temperate regions.
D) Peacetime oil production and transport in the Persian Gulf result in high levels of PAH's and massive oil dumping.
E) The Persian Gulf War ended before the oil fires and spills caused as much as originally expected.


I spent over 6 minutes trying to figure out what this problem was trying to say. I got it right but it was more from an educated guess. Does anyone have an explanation?


I believe the question asks for an explanation on why post-war surveys in the Gulf War resulted in less oil contamination than in pre-war surveys. We are looking for an explanation or fact that explains this unusual circumstance.

A, B, and C makes an out of scope comparison in detailing temperate/desert regions.

E to me seems nonsensical. We already know that "hundreds of smoky oil fires and deliberate oil spills " occurred, so there was damage.

The strongest answer is D, if there was more dumping and combustion of oil products before the war, than this explains why the post-war survey reflected less contamination.

kudos if this makes sense!

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Re: Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the ar [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2014, 19:55
I think the question is assuming that in War periods the oil wells used to get more contaminated because of bombing or other attacking activities. In addition to that because of high weather temperature the oil used to get spewed but which is not the case even when it had been directly ignited. So though the oil wells should have been contaminated and should have been spewed highly because warring and ignition respectively, there seems to be discrepancy.

The reason for discrepancy may be in peace time before war,there was already high PAH level means already lot of oil gets spewed in transportation activities and if oil dumping is done at some secured place then there are low changes of getting it contaminated. It means even if the PAH and contamination are happening they are not upto the mark or higher as expected.

Am I making sense...

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Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the ar [#permalink]

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Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the area, which had been subjected to hundreds of smoky oil fires and deliberate oil spills when regular oil production slowed down during the war, displayed less oil contamination than they had witnessed in pre-war surveys of the same area. They also reported that the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH's) - used as a marked of combustion products spewed from oil wells ignited during the war-were also relatively low, comparable to those recorded in the temperature oil producing areas of the Baltic Sea.

Which one of the following, if true, does most to resolve the apparent discrepancy in the information above?

A) Oil contaminants have greater environmental effects in temperate regions than in desert regions - No difference mention b/w temperate and desert regions
B) Oil contamination and PAH pollution dissipate more rapidly in temperate regions than in desert regions - Same as A
C) Oil contamination and PAH pollution dissipate more rapidly in desert regions than in temperate regions - Same as A

D) Peacetime oil production and transport in the Persian Gulf result in high levels of PAH's and massive oil dumping - Correct
Say, Pre-war Contamination & PAH = 10 units
During-war = 15 units
Post-war = 08 units
This shows that pre-war or peacetime oil consumption resulted in more contamination than post-war.

E) The Persian Gulf War ended before the oil fires and spills caused as much as originally expected - Even-though the actual fires/spills were less than expected, they may still be more than the pre-war/peactime level.

Kudos please.......... :)
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Re: Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the ar [#permalink]

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Re: Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the ar [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2017, 09:51
Question Type:
Explain the Discrepancy

The given:
During the Gulf War, there were tons of smoky oil fires and deliberate oil spills

The expected result:
Post-war measurements of oil contamination and PAH levels higher than usual.

The unexpected result:
In reality, the post-war oil contamination was similar to pre-war levels. And the post-war PAH levels were as low as in temperate oil-producing areas of the Baltic Sea (it's not really clear why this is an apt comparison ... it seems to just be an example of an oil producing area that is not in a period of wartime)

What do we want the correct answer choice to do?
Either to explain why the post-war levels are as low as the pre-war and temperate non-war levels
or to explain why the pre-war and temperate non-war levels are as high as the post-war levels

(A) The question never says that the Persian Gulf area is a desert region. Another problem is that oil contamination was only brought up in reference to the Persian Gulf area pre-war vs. post-war. The temperate region is only introduced when we're talking about PAH levels.

(B) This is the opposite of what we need. If they told us that oil contam / PAH pollution dissipated more rapidly in desert regions, we could say, "Well then THAT'S why the post-war levels look like temperate non-war levels".

(C) This is closer, but we still have the problem that "desert region" was never brought up in the stimulus. Even if we allowed the assumption that Persian Gulf area = desert, this would only explain why the post-war Persian Gulf looked comparable to a Baltic temperate area. It still wouldn't explain why the post-war Persian Gulf looks comparable to the pre-war Persian Gulf (which would both be desert).

(D) This explains that the pre-war levels of contamination would actually be quite high to begin with (due to high PAH levels and massive oil dumping). During the war, "when regular oil production slowed down", we would just be replacing contamination from production/transport with contamination from smoky oil fires and deliberate oil spills. This, then, explains why post-war and pre-war levels are the same. It also allows us to explain why PAH levels post-war might resemble PAH levels near an oil-producing area in the Baltic Sea.

(E) The war may have ended before the fires and spills did "as much damage as expected", but that doesn't change the fact that there were still hundreds of fires and spills. So we would still expect the post-war measurements to be more contaminated then the pre-war measurements (this answer just tells us the post-war area wouldn't be AS extra-contaminated as we expected, but it still would be extra-contaminated).

(D) is the correct answer

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Re: Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the ar [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2017, 21:04
I would rule out A,B,C directly because findings about a specific case cannot be generalised for an entire category.

E seems to make no sense. We are left with D.

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Re: Shortly after the Persian Gulf War, investigators reported that the ar   [#permalink] 23 Oct 2017, 21:04
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