Critical Thinking Essay 2

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Choose one of the following prompts to answer.

Prompt 1

Your friend has just bought a house, and he is going to be putting in a new driveway. The town he is moving to is located 10 km from the coast and has a temperate climate. The house is at the top of a hill, and the slope of the area that will become the driveway is steep and is surrounded by trees on both sides. At the bottom of the hill is a main road. The neighbors directly across the street have a sloping downward driveway to their house, which is located at a moderate slope. Your friend has five choices for a driveway: 1) Leave it the way it is and drive on the grass; 2) tear up the grass and cover it with sand; 3) tear up the grass and cover it with small pebbles; 4) tear up the grass and cover it with slightly larger rocks (1–2"); or 5) tear up the grass and pave it with asphalt. Discuss the pros/cons to each type of driveway with regard to what you know about the local climate, topography, sediment transport, mass wasting, hydrology, and future climate predictions. Which would you recommend your friend use for his driveway, and what should he be aware of if he chooses that option?

Prompt 2

The global hydrologic cycle was established well before humans began to take large volumes of groundwater out of aquifers to use for irrigation. What is the immediate fate of the water that is withdrawn for irrigation? Where does it go? What are the long-term implications for other components of the hydrologic cycle if we continue to use large volumes of groundwater for irrigation faster than it can be replenished? Address both the immediate and long-term impact. Refer to the components of the hydrologic cycle, including streams, rivers, ice, groundwater, evaporation, precipitation, and run-off. What impact does using large volumes of groundwater have on the human species? Think about the pros and cons and defend your analysis.

Prompt 3

Discuss the impact that Hurricane Katrina had on the greater New Orleans area. Why was this region impacted so heavily by this storm? Be sure to consider plate tectonics, topography, sediment supply, river course, sea level, climate change, and the human influence on the region. If you were advising the politicians and other decision makers in this region, what advice would you give them to better prepare the city and surrounding area for any future storm events?

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