TOEFL iBT Reading
Even in the areas that retain a soil cover, the reduction of vegetation typically results in the loss of the soil's ability to absorb substantial quantities of water. The impact of raindrops on the loose soil tends to transfer fine clay particles into the tiniest soil spaces, sealing them and producing a surface that allows very little water penetration. Water absorption is greatly reduced; consequently, runoff is increased, resulting in accelerated erosion rates. The gradual drying of the soil caused by its diminished ability to absorb water results in the further loss of vegetation, so that a cycle of progressive surface deterioration is established.
1. According to paragraph 3, the loss of natural vegetation has which of the following consequences for soil?
Four specific activities have been identified as major contributors to the desertification processes: over-cultivation, overgrazing, firewood gathering, and over-irrigation. The cultivation of crops has expanded into progressively drier regions as population densities have grown. These regions are especially likely to have periods of severe dryness, so that crop failures are common. Since the raising of most crops necessitates the prior removal of the natural vegetation, crop failures leave extensive tracts of land devoid of a plant cover and susceptible to wind and water erosion.
2. The phrase “devoid of” in the paragraph is closest in meaning to
Firewood is the chief fuel used for cooking and heating in many countries. The increased pressures of expanding populations have led to the removal of woody plants so that many cities and towns are surrounded by large areas completely lacking in trees and shrubs. The increasing use of dried animal waste as a substitute fuel has also hurt the soil because this valuable soil conditioner and source of plant nutrients is no longer being returned to the land.
The final major human cause of desertification is soil salinization resulting from over-irrigation. Excess water from irrigation sinks down into the water table. If no drainage system exists, the water table rises, bringing dissolved salts to the surface. The water evaporates and the salts are left behind, creating a white crustal layer that prevents air and water from reaching the underlying soil.
3. All of the following are mentioned in the passage as contributing to desertification EXCEPT
A The raising of livestock is a major economic activity in semiarid lands, where grasses are generally the dominant type of natural vegetation. B The consequences of an excessive number of livestock grazing in an area are the reduction of the vegetation cover and the trampling and pulverization of the soil. C This is usually followed by the drying of the soil and accelerated erosion. D
4.Look at the four squares ■ that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.
This economic reliance on livestock in certain regions makes large tracts of land susceptible to overgrazing.
Where would the sentence best fit?
There is little doubt, however, that desertification in most areas results primarily from human activities rather than natural processes. The semiarid lands bordering the deserts exist in a delicate ecological balance and are limited in their potential to adjust to increased environmental pressures. Expanding populations are subjecting the land to increasing pressures to provide them with food and fuel. In wet periods, the land may be able to respond to these stresses. During the dry periods that are common phenomena along the desert margins, though, the pressure on the land is often far in excess of its diminished capacity, and desertification results.
5. According to paragraph 5, in dry periods, border areas have difficulty
Much of the world’s great architecture has been constructed of stone because of its beauty, permanence, and availability. In the past, whole cities grew from the arduous task of cutting and piling stone upon. Some of the world’s finest stone architecture can be seen in the ruins of the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu high in the eastern Andes Mountains of Peru. The doorways and windows are made possible by placing over the open spaces thick stone beams that support the weight from above. A structural invention had to be made before the physical limitations of stone could be overcome and new architectural forms could be created.
6. The word “arduous” in the passage is closest in meaning to
TOEFL iBT Listening
7. Which strategy does the woman use for her presentation?
8. What does the man mean when he says this :
9. Why didn’t the class ask questions after the presentation?
10. How does the professor organize the discussion?
11. What was surprising about Thrasher's study?
12. Why does the professor say this: