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Cause and Effect

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Cause and Effect Answer Key

The second Aswan Dam, which was completed in 1970, was built to prevent the Nile River from flooding, generate electricity, and store water for agricultural uses. While the damming of the Nile has generated electricity and stored water as originally intended, the project has also created new cultural and environmental problems.

Erosion of the coastline, pollution in the Nile from the use of chemical fertilizers, and an increase in the salt present in the Mediterranean are a few of the environmental problems caused by the dam. In addition, 60,000 people were displaced from their homes when Nubia, located in southern Egypt, was flooded, and important cultural sites have been destroyed by the dam's presence. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether the Aswan Dam has solved as many problems as it has caused.
Which of the following does the author state as the cause of the flooding in Nubia?
  1. the building of the second Aswan Dam
  2. increased salt in the Mediterranean
  3. the erosion of the coastline
  4. the destruction of cultural sites
Based on the information in this passage, what has caused an increase in pollution in the Nile River?
  1. the use of chemical fertilizers
  2. the destruction of cultural sites
  3. the increase in salt in the water
  4. the generation of electricity
How does the author feel about the dam?
  • Sample answer: The author feels that the dam has caused more harm than good so far.
This passage would best be adapted into...
  1. A documentary for National Geographic
  2. A news report for CNN
  3. A brochure showcasing the dam
  4. A government report on the dam
Read the following passage...
"The Aswan High Dam across the mighty river Nile is perhaps one of the most controversial of the existing big dams in the world. Political, economic and environmental arguments have been raised against it ever since its construction in the early 1960s. But Asit K. Biswas, after a careful evaluation of the dam's impact on Egypt, concludes that it has been overwhelmingly beneficial to the country" (D+C Development and Cooperation (No. 6, November/December 2002, p. 25-27)

Based on this summary of another article about the dam, do you think the authors of both passages have the same opinion?
  • Sample answer:
    No, the authors do not have the same opinion. In the summary it says the author concludes that the dam has been beneficial, but in the original passage the author is not sure it has been beneficial.
A large landslide occurred in northwest Washington at about 10:37 am PDT on Saturday, March 22, 2014. Multiple casualties are confirmed as a direct result of the landslide and many people remain missing. Landslide debris covered about 30 houses and 0.8 miles of State Route 530.

What Happened
The landslide occurred in an area of known landslide activity, but this time the slide was much larger, traveled much further, and had greater destructive force than previously experienced. Precipitation in the area in February and March was 150 to 200% of the long-term average, and likely contributed to landslide initiation.

The slide took place along the edge of a plateau about 600 feet high composed of glacial sediments. The volume of the slide is estimated to be about 10 million cubic yards, and it traveled about 0.7 miles from the toe of the slope. This travel distance is about three times longer than expected based on published information regarding previous slides of this height and volume worldwide. If the landslide had behaved in the expected range, it would have likely blocked the river and possibly destroyed a few houses. Instead it led to tragic loss of life and destruction of property.

Flow also dammed and temporarily blocked the upper part of the North Fork Stillaguamish River. A pool of water formed behind the debris dam, which flooded houses and other structures. There were initial fears that the debris dam would create a flood hazard downstream if the dam were breached, but a catastrophic dam breach is now considered unlikely. Currently, the lake level is gradually decreasing as the river is cutting a new channel across the top of the debris dam.

USGS scientists are supporting state and county agencies responding to the event. It is a collaborative effort, with many working hard to provide assistance, assess the situation, and alleviate impacts. In particular, scientists are assisting with monitoring the stability of the landslide area and monitoring debris-dam erosion and river and lake conditions.

An excerpt from the USGS Science Features blog
Based on the passage, what was one of the major causes of the landslide?
  1. Homes built in an area known for landslide activity
  2. Higher than average precipitation in the area
  3. The blocking of the North Fork Stillaguamish River
  4. The extensive range of the landslide activity
The passage explains the size and scope of the landslide to help explain what?
  • Sample answer: The passage explains the size and scope to explain the impact of the landslide and help people understand why so many homes and lives were lost.
Had the landslide followed a more traditional path and range, its impact would have been greater.
  1. True
  2. False
Based on the passage's description of the landslide, what effect will it have on the future of the people and homes in the path of the landslide?
  • Sample answer: The landslide destroyed 30 homes and killed multiple people. The landslide will have long-term effects because the people will have to get over the loss of loved ones and will also have to buy new homes.
Another article on the landslide reads...
"People living in the tiny village destroyed by a mudslide knew there was a "high risk" of slides, a local official said Tuesday.

"This entire year we have pushed message after message that there's a high risk of landslides," said John Pennington, director of Snohomish County Emergency Management. "The dangers and the risks are known."

Does the passage from the USGS support this quote?
  • Sample answer: Yes, it supports the quote because it says that the area was known to be prone to landslides.

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