Peralta Community College District
Physical Geography
Rita D. Haberlin, Instructor

Desert Landforms Quiz

Horizontal Rule
Important:   When you answer a question, a response box will appear.   You must close this response box before continuing the quiz.  There are 15 questions in this quiz.
Horizontal Rule

1. Desert areas are frequently characterized by:

Internal drainage basins
Marshy floodplains
Year-round streams
Cirques
Natural levees
2. The flat salt beds and lakes located in desert basins are:
Blowouts
Barchans
Wash
Playas
Mesas
3. Which one of the following is NOT typical of a desert?
Chemical weathering takes place slowly
Alluvial Fans
Mass wasting and landslides occur frequently
Deflation is an erosional process
Angular landforms
4. Alluvial fans form when:
Streams emerge from a desert canyon and slow down when reaching the flat floor of a desert basin
Streams flow over their banks in flood time
Winds deposit the material in the lee of a desert rock
Streams slow down when entering the ocean
Wind-blown deposits collect at the base of mountains

The following question (question 5) refers to this diagram of a barchan sand dune.
Diagram of a crescent-shaped barchan sand dune with arrows from the west and east.

5. Barchan sand dunes 'migrate' because of sand erosion on the windward slope and sand deposition on the leeward slope (slip face).  Which arrow on the diagram above is the correct wind direction to form this crescent-shaped sand dune?
East
West
6. An exotic stream:
Originates in a dry region and empties into the ocean
Originates in a humid region, flows across deserts, and empties into the ocean
Empties into an interior drainage basin
Is an intermittent stream in a humid region
Is an intermittent stream in a dry region
7. In deserts, the main cause of erosion is:
Sandblast and wind transport
Running water
Soil creep and other forms of mass wasting
Chemical breakdown and solution (chemical weathering)
8. Weathering in the desert is slow because:
Of the power of wind
Deserts are high in elevation
Rocks in the desert are resistant to weathering
There is little water for chemical weathering
9. How much of the earth's land area is classified as desert?
50%
30%
15%
Less than 10%
10. In deserts, most abrasion by the wind:
Occurs within 18-24 inches of the earth's surface
Occurs at wind speeds of less than 12 miles per hour
Is capable of carving arches and impressive desert landforms
11. Desert pavement is:
A highway across the desert
A salty crust in the desert
A layer of coarse rocks and pebbles left behind by deflation
An alluvial fan
12. The landforms associated with fault-block mountains in deserts include:
Playas
Alluvial fans
Box canyons
Fault escarpments
All of the above
Only the first two answers (playas and alluvial fans)
13. Landforms associated with the Colorado Plateau include:
Mesas
Buttes
Canyons
All of these
None of these
14. In deserts, wind erodes by:
Solution and hydrolysis
Traction and plucking
Solution and traction
Deflation and abrasion
All of the above
15. Which one of the following statements is FALSE?
Sand dunes are the most common desert landform.
Most sand moves only within the first three feet above the ground.
Wind can move sand grains by saltation.
In deserts, the process in which wind picks up sediment is called deflation.
Mesas eroded from flat-lying sedimentary rocks are typical of the Colorado Plateau.

Horizontal Rule
Return to Desert Landforms Learning Module