SECTION TEST - ACADEMIC READING
(Time: 60 minutes)
Thời gian còn lại
Passage 1

CAVES

 
Caves are natural underground spaces, commonly those into which man can enter There are three major types: the most widespread and extensive are those developed in soluble rocks, usually limestone or marble, by underground movement of water; on the coast are those formed in cliffs generally by the concentrated pounding of waves along joints and zones of crushed rock; and a few caves are formed in lava flows, where the solidified outer crust is left after the molten core has drained away to form rough tunnels, like those on the small basalt volcanoes of Auckland.
 
Limestone of all ages, ranging from geologically recent times to more than 450 million years ago, is found in many parts of New Zealand, although it is not all cavernous. Many caves have been discovered, but hundreds still remain to be explored. The most notable limestone areas for caves are the many hundreds of square kilometres of Te Kuiti Group (Oligocene) rocks from Port Waikato south to Mokau and from the coast inland to the Waipa Valley - especially in the Waitomo district; and the Mount Arthur Marble (upper Ordovician) of the mountains of northwest Nelson (fringed by thin bands of Oligocene limestone in the valleys and near the coast).
 
Sedimentary rocks (including limestone) are usually laid down in almost horizontal layers or beds which may be of any thickness, but most commonly of 5-7.5 cm. These beds may accumulate to a total thickness of about a hundred metres. Pure limestone is brittle, and folding due to earth movements causes cracks along the partings, and joints at angles to them. Rain water percolates down through the soil and the fractures in the underlying rocks to the water table, below which all cavities and pores are filled with water. This water, which is usually acidic, dissolves the limestone along the joints and, once a passage is opened, it is enlarged by the abrasive action of sand and pebbles carried by streams. Extensive solution takes place between the seasonal limits of the water table. Erosion may continue to cut down into the floor, or silt and pebbles may build up floors and divert stream courses. Most caves still carry the stream that formed them.
 
Caves in the softer, well-bedded Oligocene limestones are typically horizontal in development, often with passages on several levels, and frequently of considerable length. Gardner's Gut, Waitomo, has two main levels and more than seven kilometres of passages. Plans of caves show prominent features, such as long, narrow, straight passages following joint patterns as in Ruakuri, Waitomo, or a number of parallel straights oriented in one or more directions like Te Anaroa, Rockville. Vertical cross sections of cave passages may be tall and narrow following joints, as in Burr Cave, Waitomo; large and ragged in collapse chambers, like Hollow Hill, Waitomo (233m long, 59.4m wide, and 30.48m high); low and wide along bedding planes, as in Luckie Strike, Waitomo; or high vertical water-worn shafts, like Rangitaawa Shaft (91m). Waitomo Caves in the harder, massive Mount Arthur Marble (a metamorphosed limestone) are mainly vertical in development, many reaching several hundred metres, the deepest known being Harwood Hole, Takaka (370m).
 
The unique beauty of caves lies in the variety of mineral encrustations which are found sometimes completely covering walls, ceiling, and floor. Stalactites (Gk. stalaktos, dripping) are pendent growths of crystalline calcium carbonate (calcite) formed from solution by the deposition of minute quantities of calcite from percolating ground water. They are usually white to yellow in colour, but occasionally are brown or red. Where water evaporates faster than it drips, long thin straws are formed which may reach the floor or thicken into columns. If the source of water moves across the ceiling, a thin drape, very like a stage curtain, is formed.
 
Helictites are stalactites that branch or curl. Stalagmites (Gk. stalagmos, that which dripped) are conical or gnarled floor growths formed by splashing, if the water drips faster than it evaporates. These may grow toward the ceiling to form columns of massive proportions. Where calcite is deposited by water spreading thinly over the walls or floor, flowstone is formed and pools of water may build up their edges to form narrow walls of rimstone. Gypsum (calcium sulphate) is a white cave deposit of many crystal habits which are probably dependent on humidity. The most beautiful form is the gypsum flower which extrudes from a point on the cave wall in curling and diverging bundles of fibres like a lily or orchid.


Complete the summary. Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.
 
There are several (1)……… of caves with the most common and largest being located in limestone or marble. Coastal caves are created in cliffs usually by waves. In lava flows, the solidified outer crusts that remain once the molten core has drained away also form (2)………. Limestone is to be found all over New Zealand, but not all of it contains caves. While many caves are known, there are large numbers that have yet to be uncovered. The main (3)………… for limestone caves are Te Kuiti Group rocks.

1.
types tunnels areas


(1)  
(2)  
(3)  


Complete the flow-chart. Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the passage for each answer.
 


1.
passage fractures cracks erosion streams


(1)  
(2)  
(3)  
(4)  
(5)  



Choose TWO answer choices. 

1. Which TWO of the following features of caves in the softer limestones are mentioned in the text?
A. they are often long
B. most of them are vertical
C. they are characteristically horizontal
D. they only ever have one passage
E. they are all at least 7.2km long
Explain:

Do the following statements agree with the information in the reading passage?
TRUE     if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN if there is no information about the statement

1. The limestone found in New Zealand is more than 450 million years old.
A. True
B. False
C. Not given
Explain:


2. Stalactites are more often white to yellow than brown or red.
A. True
B. Not given
C. False
Explain:


3. Stalagmites never grow very large.
A. Not given
B. True
C. False
Explain:
Passage 2
 WHALE STRANDINGS

Why do whales leave the ocean and become stuck on beaches?

 
When the last stranded whale of a group eventually dies, the story does not end there. A team of researchers begins to investigate, collecting skin samples for instance, recording anything that could help them answer the crucial question: why? Theories abound, some more convincing than others. In recent years, navy sonar has been accused of causing certain whales to strand. It is known that noise pollution from offshore industry, shipping and sonar can impair underwater communication, but can it really drive whales onto our beaches?
 
In 1998, researchers at the Pelagos Cetacean Research Institute, a Greek non-profit scientific group, linked whale strandings with low- frequency sonar tests being carried out by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). They recorded the stranding of 12 Cuvier’s beaked whales over 38.2 kilometres of coastline. NATO later admitted it had been testing new sonar technology in the same area at the time as the strandings had occurred. ‘Mass’ whale strandings involve four or more animals. Typically they all wash ashore together, but in mass atypical strandings (such as the one in Greece), the whales don't strand as a group; they are scattered over a larger area.
 
For humans, hearing a sudden loud noise might prove frightening, but it does not induce mass fatality. For whales, on the other hand, there is a theory on how sonar can kill. The noise can surprise the animal, causing it to swim too quickly to the surface. The result is decompression sickness, a hazard human divers know all too well. If a diver ascends too quickly from a high-pressure underwater environment to a lower-pressure one, gases dissolved in blood and tissue expand and form bubbles. The bubbles block the flow of blood to vital organs, and can ultimately lead to death.
 
Plausible as this seems, it is still a theory and based on our more comprehensive knowledge of land-based animals. For this reason, some scientists are wary. Whale expert Karen Evans is one such scientist. Another is Rosemary Gales, a leading expert on whale strandings. She says sonar technology cannot always be blamed for mass strandings. "It’s a case-by-case situation. Whales have been stranding for a very long time - pre-sonar.” And when 80% of all Australian whale strandings occur around Tasmania, Gales and her team must continue in the search for answers.
 
When animals beach next to each other at the same time, the most common cause has nothing to do with humans at all. "They're highly social creatures,” says Gales. "When they mass strand - it’s complete panic and chaos. If one of the group strands and sounds the alarm, others will try to swim to its aid, and become stuck themselves.”
 
Activities such as sonar testing can hint at when a stranding may occur, but if conservationists are to reduce the number of strandings, or improve rescue operations, they need information on where strandings are likely to occur as well. With this in mind, Ralph James, physicist at the University of Western Australia in Perth, thinks he may have discovered why whales turn up only on some beaches. In 1986 he went to Augusta, Western Australia, where more than 100 false killer whales had beached. “I found out from chatting to the locals that whales had been stranding there for decades. So I asked myself, what is it about this beach?” From this question that James pondered over 20 years ago, grew the university's Whale Stranding Analysis Project. Data has since revealed that all mass strandings around Australia occur on gently sloping sandy beaches, some with inclines of less than 0.5%. For whale species that depend on an echolocation system to navigate, this kind of beach spells disaster. Usually, as they swim, they make clicking noises, and the resulting sound waves are reflected in an echo and travel back to them. Flowever, these just fade out on shallow beaches, so the whale doesn’t hear an echo and it crashes onto the shore.
 
But that is not all. Physics, it appears, can help with the when as well as the where. The ocean is full of bubbles. Larger ones rise quickly to the surface and disappear, whilst smaller ones - called microbubbles - can last for days. It is these that absorb whale 'clicks! "Rough weather generates more bubbles than usual,” James adds. So, during and after a storm, echolocating whales are essentially swimming blind.
 
Last year was a bad one for strandings in Australia. Can we predict if this - or any other year - will be any better? Some scientists believe we can. They have found trends which could be used to forecast ‘bad years’ for strandings in the future. In 2005, a survey by Klaus Vanselow and Klaus Ricklefs of sperm whale strandings in the North Sea even found a correlation between these and the sunspot cycle, and suggested that changes in the Earth’s magnetic field might be involved. But others are sceptical. “Their study was interesting ... but the analyses they used were flawed on a number of levels,” says Evans. In the same year, she co-authored a study on. Australian strandings that uncovered a completely different trend. “We analysed data from 1920 to 2002 ... and observed a clear periodicity in the number of whales stranded each year that coincides with a major climatic cycle.” To put it more simply, she says, in the years when strong westerly and southerly winds bring cool water rich in nutrients closer to the Australia coast, there is an increase in the number of fish. The whales follow.
 
So what causes mass strandings? “It's probably many different components,” says James. And he is probably right. But the point is we now know what many of those components are.

 Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.


1.
sperm/ sperm wales/ sperm whale around Tasmania/ Tasmania skin/ skin samples noise/ noise pollution


What do researchers often take from the bodies of whales?  

What do some industries and shipping create that is harmful to whales?  

In which geographical region do most whale strandings in Australia happen?  

Which kind of whale was the subject of a study in the North Sea?  


 Label the diagram below. Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
 


1.
microbubbles sound waves blood nutrients


(1)  
(2)  
(3)  
(4)  



Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage?
True    if the statement agrees with the information
False   if the statement contradicts the information
Not given       if there is no information on this

1. The aim of the research by the Pelagos Institute in 1998 was to prove that navy sonar was responsible for whale strandings.
A. Not given
B. True
C. False
Explain:


2. The whales stranded in Greece were found at different points along the coast.
A. True
B. Not given
C. False
Explain:


3. Rosemary Gales has questioned the research techniques used by the Greek scientists.
A. Not given
B. True
C. False
Explain:


4. According to Gales, whales are likely to try to help another whale in trouble.
A. True
B. False
C. Not given
Explain:


5. There is now agreement amongst scientists that changes in the Earth′s magnetic fields contribute to whale strandings.
A. False
B. True
C. Not given
Explain:
Passage 3
 LIFE, BUT NOT AS WE KNOW IT

Henry Gee

 
Astrobiology is arguably the trendiest buzzword in science after genomics. Like genomics, it is as hip as it is hard to define. Broadly speaking, it is an umbrella term for the efforts of many scientists working in diverse fields to understand the conditions of life in the universe, whether on Earth or elsewhere.
 
The canvas is, in fact, so broad that many scientists might be astrobiologists without knowing it: astrobiology adds glamour to all science, from astronomy to zoology. Those with long memories and a cynical mien will have seen all this before. Once upon a time, there was a research programme called exobiology. Is astrobiology a new name for repackaged goods?
 
No, for two reasons. First, many discoveries made in the past decade have set people thinking, once again, about life elsewhere. For example, hardly a month goes by without the discovery of yet another planet orbiting a distant star. And whatever the truth about the much-disputed claims for fossils in martian meteorites, the controversy has rehabilitated the idea of panspermia: that life can spread between planets.
 
Second, astrobiology is almost a trademarked term. The Nasa Astrobiology Institute is a virtual campus linking research centres with universities, all devoted to learning more about the general principles governing the origin of life in the universe. Significantly, Nature magazine recently looked at astrobiology in all its forms, from the quest to understand how life began on Earth to the prospects of finding intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.
 
Not that this should be a cause for wide-eyed celebration, say its critics. Ironically, the most vociferous of these come not from the world of science but from science fiction. Brian Aldiss, veteran writer, critic, and leading light of the genre, dismisses our current obsession with life elsewhere, however much it is justified by science, as an expensively scratched itch.
 
Aliens, he argues, are a manifestation of a fundamental human urge to populate the universe with ‘others’, whether gods, ghosts, little green men, or cartoon characters. Scientists should beware of taking science fiction too seriously: aliens are useful as plot devices, but this does not make them real.
 
A rather different criticism comes from scientists-turned-science fiction writers Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart. Both are academics - Cohen is a biologist, Stewart is a mathematician - but they have worked in SF, most recently on their novel Wheelers. Their argument with astrobiology is not that aliens might not exist, but that we cannot help be constrained in our search.
 
All organisms on Earth, from the tiniest bacterium to the biggest whales, are constructed according to the same rules. Earthly genetic information is carried in genes made of DNA, earthly life is based on polymers of carbon, and its chemistry happens in liquid water. Because this kind of life is all we know, we tend to think that the same rules need apply everywhere. So, when probes land on Mars, or scientists look at martian meteorites, they tend to look for the kinds of vital signs that betray earthly organisms when we have absolutely no reason for thinking that life elsewhere should be earthlike, or that our definition of life cannot be based more broadly. When the Mars Rover sat and stared at a rock, how do we know that the rock was not staring right back?
 
It is a fairly simple matter to come up with a definition of life that is based on what it does, rather than what it is made of. It is much more difficult, however, to make such a definition stick, preventing the term from becoming so inclusive as to be meaningless.
 
You might start by positing three rules. The first is that life requires the existence of information that can be reproduced and inherited, with variation. Second, that living systems seem to create order and structure and maintain it in the face of chaos. Third, that a living system has to work hard to maintain its structure, and as soon as it stops doing this it degenerates.
 
These rules seem, at first, to be fairly precise, in as much they weed out quietly observant martian surface rocks. But as Cohen and Stewart show in their novel, it is possible to imagine entities that follow all three rules and which appear to be alive, but which bear absolutely no resemblance to terrestrial organisms. In Wheelers, they describe civilizations of floating, methane-breathing balloons in the atmosphere of Jupiter and organisms made of magnetically-confined plasma, living in the outer layers of the sun.
 
Other science fiction writers have imagined life on the surfaces of neutron stars, inside computers, or even in interstellar space. In his latest novel, Look to Windward, lain M Banks describes organisms the size of continents, supporting entire civilizations as their intestinal parasites. All could be said to constitute life, but in Dr McCoy’s immortal phrase from Star Trek, ‘not as we know it’.
 
Could this mean that astrobiology, the aims of which are universal, is really no more than a parochial exercise? We might never know - perhaps even when we are visited by aliens from the other side of the galaxy who try, frantically, to gain our attention, by waving under our noses whatever it is they wave under such circumstances. It will not be their fault that they will be microscopic and destroyed by a single sneeze. As Cohen and Stewart conclude in Wheelers'. ‘Life goes on everywhere.’ 

 Complete the summary below. Choose the answers from the box. There are more choices than spaces, so you will not need to use all of them.

 

location
principles
previous
frequently
galaxy
narrow
discussing
defining
rarely
size
never
composition
planet
extending
breakthrough
definition
mistake
regulations
basing
 

1.
planet never narrow size defining composition mistake


The same biological and chemical principles determine the make-up of all terrestrial life forms, whatever their  . We often assume that this is the case throughout the universe, as we have   observed other kinds of organism. Scientists therefore make the   of searching for indications of Earth-style living things when examining material from another  , where the nature of any life may lie far outside their own   definition. On the other hand, if the focus is not on   but on behaviour, there is a risk of   life much too broadly.



 The text refers to the ideas of various science fiction writers. Match writers with the points.


1. Other life forms may fit a definition of life but be quite unlike anything on Earth.
A. Banks
B. Aldiss
C. Cohen & Stewart
Explain:


2. People instinctively want to believe in extraterrestrial life forms.
A. Aldiss
B. Banks
C. Cohen & Stewart
Explain:


3. There could be life within life on an immense scale.
A. Cohen & Stewart
B. Aldiss
C. Banks
Explain:


4. Humans are inevitably limited in their ability to find life beyond Earth.
A. Cohen & Stewart
B. Banks
C. Aldiss
Explain:

 Choose the correct answer.


1. The writer believes that astrobiology ................
A. has proved that a meteorite from Mars contains fossils.
B. is not taken seriously by scientific publications.
C. is very similar to exobiology.
D. may now be the second most fashionable science.
Explain:


2. Which of the following statements best describes the writer′s main purpose in the reading passage?
A. to show that science fiction writers have nothing useful to say about aliens
B. to describe the latest scientific developments in the study of the universe
C. to explain why there is growing interest in the study of astrobiology
D. to suggest that astrobiology may not help us find extraterrestrial life
Explain:
Score: 0/10
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