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Solar ponds are bodies of water in which circulation is incomplete and

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Solar ponds are bodies of water in which circulation is incomplete and  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 17 Jan 2018, 22:18
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41% (03:59) correct 59% (03:14) wrong

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Solar ponds are bodies of water in which circulation is incomplete and there is a very high salt concentration that increases with depth. This vertical change in salinity serves to trap heat because concentrated brine in the lowest water level acts as a collector and storage area for solar heat, while the less saline, lighter water at the upper levels provides insulation. Heat is thus retained in the depths.

An artificial pond of this type has been constructed on the western shore of the Dead Sea in Israel in order to test its suitability as a source of low-grade heat for conversion into electricity. An immediate threat to the success of the venture was the growth of algae. Water in solar ponds must be kept maximally transparent to allow penetration of light to the deep storage area. Therefore, any particles of matter in the water, such as algae cells, that scatter or absorb light will interfere with the collection of heat.

One proposed method of controlling the algae was the application of an algicide. However, the Dead Sea is a closed body of water without any outlet and as such is very easily contaminated. Extensive use of chemicals in numerous future full-scale solar ponds would lead to such contamination of the Dead Sea, which now enjoys a lucrative tourist trade.

A recent experiment has supplied a more promising method for controlling the algae. To repress the algae cells' capacity for accommodating themselves to environmental changes, the water in the solar pond was first made more saline through evaporation and then diluted by a rapid inflow of fresh water. This shock reduced the cells' ability to regulate the movement of water through their membranes. They rapidly absorbed water, resulting in distortions of shape, increase in volume, and impairment to motility. Their buoyancy adversely affected, the cells sank to the bottom of the pond, where they encountered the hot waters of the storage layer and were destroyed. This method allows for effective control of nuisance algae while leaving solar ponds as one of the cleanest technologies providing energy for human use.


Which of the following, if true, would seriously undermine the validity of the conclusions drawn from the experiment described in the last paragraph of the passage?

(A) The algae cells that sank to the bottom of the pond were destroyed only after a time lag of twenty-four hours.
(B) The lateral motility of the algae cells that sank to the bottom of the pond was not impaired.
(C) The water with which the artificial solar pond was diluted contained microorganisms that kill algae.
(D) The algae cells that sank to the bottom of the pond were actually killed by the rapid change in pressure.
(E) The higher salinity brought about through evaporation increased the transparency of the upper levels of water in the pond.


Originally posted by jj32 on 09 Jun 2008, 08:26.
Last edited by hazelnut on 17 Jan 2018, 22:18, edited 2 times in total.
Edited the question.
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Re: Solar ponds are bodies of water in which circulation is incomplete and  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2008, 08:39
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I answer D. Reasoning for my answer in Blue, and reasoning against an answer in red.

jj32 wrote:
Solar ponds are bodies of water in which circulation is incomplete and there is a very high salt concentration that increases with depth. This vertical change in salinity serves to trap heat because concentrated brine in the lowest water level acts as a collector and storage area for solar heat, while the less saline, lighter water at the upper levels provides insulation. Heat is thus retained in the depths.

An artificial pond of this type has been constructed on the western shore of the Dead Sea in Israel in order to test its suitability as a source of low-grade heat for conversion into electricity. An immediate threat to the success of the venture was the growth of algae. Water in solar ponds must be kept maximally transparent to allow penetration of light to the deep storage area. Therefore, any particles of matter in the water, such as algae cells, that scatter or absorb light will interfere with the collection of heat.

One proposed method of controlling the algae was the application of an algicide. However, the Dead Sea is a closed body of water without any outlet and as such is very easily contaminated. Extensive use of chemicals in numerous future full-scale solar ponds would lead to such contamination of the Dead Sea, which now enjoys a lucrative tourist trade.

A recent experiment has supplied a more promising method for controlling the algae. To repress the algae cells' capacity for accommodating themselves to environmental changes, the water in the solar pond was first made more saline through evaporation and then diluted by a rapid inflow of fresh water. This shock reduced the cells' ability to regulate the movement of water through their membranes. They rapidly absorbed water, resulting in distortions of shape, increase in volume, and impairment to motility. Their buoyancy adversely affected, the cells sank to the bottom of the pond, where they encountered the hot waters of the storage layer and were destroyed. This method allows for effective control of nuisance algae while leaving solar ponds as one of the cleanest technologies providing energy for human use.


Which of the following, if true, would seriously undermine the validity of the conclusions drawn from the experiment described in the last paragraph of the passage?

(A) The algae cells that sank to the bottom of the pond were destroyed only after a time lag of twenty-four hours.
This doesn't undermine the conclusion because the conclusion has nothing to do with the cells being killed quickly.
(B) The lateral motility of the algae cells that sank to the bottom of the pond was not impaired.
Not relevant to the subject matter. Really has no effect on the conclusion at all.
(C) The water with which the artificial solar pond was diluted contained microorganisms that kill algae.
This provides a different reason for killing the algae than in the conclusion within the passage. This undermines the conclusion because, if this is true, the death of the algae has nothing to do with salinity or sinking to the bottom, but has everything to do with microorganisms that were introduced by the water.
(D) The algae cells that sank to the bottom of the pond were actually killed by the rapid change in pressure.
Even though the passage implies that the hot waters of the storage layer killed the algae, this still reinforces the method used to get the algae to the bottom, where it dies.
(E) The higher salinity brought about through evaporation increased the transparency of the upper levels of water in the pond.
Irrelevant to the conclusion.

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Re: Solar ponds are bodies of water in which circulation is incomplete and  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2008, 08:58
OA - C

Thank you for your explanation. I was stuck btw C & D.

Believe you chose C, not D.
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Re: Solar ponds are bodies of water in which circulation is incomplete and  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jun 2008, 09:01
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You're right, I did choose C. Good thing I made my explanation in blue ;) Otherwise I might not be able to claim I actually got this one right ;)

jj32 wrote:
OA - C

Thank you for your explanation. I was stuck btw C & D.

Believe you chose C, not D.

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Re: Solar ponds are bodies of water in which circulation is incomplete and  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2018, 08:55
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

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Re: Solar ponds are bodies of water in which circulation is incomplete and &nbs [#permalink] 01 Dec 2018, 08:55
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