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2013.12.7新托福阅读考题回顾


摘要:考试日期 2013.12.07 Passage 1 Title: 美国地理对经济的影响 大致内容 落基山脉对美国经济的影响,主要是水分与土质,最后产生了一个 较大的平原;后面有提到风吹来了别的地方的优质土壤;还提到冻 土层的影响。

考试日期 2013.12.07
Passage 1
Title:
美国地理对经济的影响
大致内容
落基山脉对美国经济的影响,主要是水分与土质,最后产生了一个
较大的平原;后面有提到风吹来了别的地方的优质土壤;还提到冻
土层的影响。
相关阅读
Depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer
The vast grasslands of the High Plains in the central United
States were settled by farmers and ranchers in the 1880s. This
region has a semiarid climate, and for 50 years after its
settlement, it supported a low-intensity agricultural economy of
cattle ranching and wheat farming. In the early twentieth century,
however, it was discovered that much of the High Plains was
underlain by a huge aquifer (a rock layer containing large
quantities of groundwater). This aquifer was named the Ogallala
aquifer after the Ogallala Sioux Indians, who once inhabited the
region.
The Ogallala aquifer is a sandstone formation that underlies
some 583,000 square kilometers of land extending from
northwestern Texas to southern South Dakota. Water from rains
and melting snows has been accumulating in the Ogallala for the
past 30,000 years. Estimates indicate that the aquifer contains
enough water to fill Lake Huron, but unfortunately, under the
semiarid climatic conditions that presently exist in the region,
rates of addition to the aquifer are minimal, amounting to about
half a centimeter a year.
The first wells were drilled into the Ogallala during the
drought years of the early 1930s. The ensuing rapid expansion of
irrigation agriculture, especially from the 1950s onward,
transformed the economy of the region. More than 100,000 wells
now tap the Ogallala. Modern irrigation devices, each capable of
spraying 4.5 million liters of water a day, have produced a
landscape dominated by geometric patterns of circular green
islands of crops. Ogallala water has enabled the High Plains

region to supply significant amounts of the cotton, sorghum,
wheat, and corn grown in the United States. In addition, 40
percent of American grain-fed beef cattle are fattened here.
This unprecedented development of a finite groundwater
resource with an almost negligible natural recharge rate—that is,
virtually no natural water source to replenish the water
supply—has caused water tables in the region to fall drastically.
In the 1930s, wells encountered plentiful water at a depth of
about 15 meters; currently, they must be dug to depths of 45 to
60 meters or more. In places, the water table is declining at a rate
of a meter a year, necessitating the periodic deepening of wells
and the use of ever-more-powerful pumps. It is estimated that at
current withdrawal rates, much of the aquifer will run dry within 40
years. The situation is most critical in Texas, where the climate is
driest, the greatest amount of water is being pumped, and the
aquifer contains the least water. It is projected that the remaining
Ogallala water will, by the year 2030, support only 35 to 40
percent of the irrigated acreage in Texas that is supported in
1980.
The reaction of farmers to the inevitable depletion of the
Ogallala varies. Many have been attempting to conserve water by
irrigating less frequently or by switching to crops that require less
water. Others, however, have adopted the philosophy that it is
best to use the water while it is still economically profitable to do
so and to concentrate on high-value crops such as cotton. The
incentive of the farmers who wish to conserve water is reduced
by their knowledge that many of their neighbors are profiting by
using great amounts of water, and in the process are drawing
down the entire region’s water supplies.
In the face of the upcoming water supply crisis, a number of
grandiose schemes have been developed to transport vast
quantities of water by canal or pipeline from the Mississippi, the
Missouri, or the Arkansas rivers.
Unfortunately, the cost of water obtained through any of
these schemes would increase pumping costs at least tenfold,
making the cost of irrigated agricultural products from the region
uncompetitive on the national and international markets.
Somewhat more promising have been recent experiments for
releasing capillary water (water in the soil) above the water table
by injecting compressed air into the ground. Even if this process
proves successful, however, it would almost triple water costs.

Genetic engineering also may provide a partial solution, as new
strains of drought-resistant crops continue to be developed.
Whatever the final answer to the water crisis may be, it is evident
that within the High Plains, irrigation water will never again be the
abundant, inexpensive resource it was during the agricultural
boom years of the mid-twentieth century.
Paragraph 1: The vast grasslands of the High Plains in the
central United States were settled by farmers and ranchers in the
1880s. This region has a semiarid climate, and for 50 years after
its settlement, it supported a low-intensity agricultural economy of
cattle ranching and wheat farming. In the early twentieth century,
however, it was discovered that much of the High Plains was
underlain by a huge aquifer (a rock layer containing large
quantities of groundwater). This aquifer was named the Ogallala
aquifer after the Ogallala Sioux Indians, who once inhabited the
region.

Passage 2
Title:
鸟类的领地问题
大致内容
雄鸟会攻占领地territory, 并在其上歌唱吸引雌鸟交配。雌鸟过来
之后先进行交配,然后跟雄鸟一起守护领地,防止入侵。不同的鸟
类对所占用的领地有不同的用处。
扩展阅读
Wild birds need the best possible territory for feeding, mating and
raising young, and they claim that territory in a variety of ways.
This type of bird behavior can be valuable for birders to
understand, because knowing how birds claim territory will help
birders know where to find different species.
Bird Territories
Birds choose a territory because it can meet their needs for food,
water, shelter and nesting sites. The size of the territory will vary
by species, and where some bird species need large territories
with little competition, other birds have much more communal
needs and are more apt to share territory with larger flocks. The
size of a bird's territory can also vary from year to year depending
on how viable the land is – in a year where there are excellent
food sources, for example, a bird may claim less territory than in
years where food is scarce.
The amount of aggression birds show defending their territory
also varies based on the species and their interaction with one
another. An American robin, for example, will chase away other
robins from its territory, but it won't mind a white-breasted

nuthatch sharing the same space because the two species do not
directly compete for food sources.
How Birds Claim Territory
Migratory birds may begin to claim territory in late winter or early
spring as mature males arrive from their wintering grounds and
seek to find the best places where they hope to attract a mate.
Non-migratory birds will also renew their claims on territory at this
time, in part to attract their own mates and renew bonds but also
to let arriving migrants know that the territory is already claimed.
Birds claim territory through a number of behaviors, including:
·Singing: Singing is one of the most common ways birds
advertise that a territory belongs to them. Songs will carry
quite far, and birds will perch near the edge of their territory to
broadcast their claim to the maximum range. At the same time,
the strong, vibrant song will help attract a mate. For some
species, such as the northern mockingbird, a more complex
song will help birds defend a larger territory and is more
attractive to females.
·Nest Building: Some birds, such as different types of
wrens, will claim territory by taking advantage of the nesting
sites it offers. The males will build multiple nests in suitable
locations throughout their territory, and the females will
investigate those nests and choose the one they prefer, even if
they eventually rebuild the male's construction.
·Drumming: Woodpeckers and several types of game
birds
claim territory by drumming as an alternative to singing.
These low-pitched sounds – whether made by pounding on a
hollow tree or by using air sacs – will carry great distances and
alert competing birds that the territory is not available, as well
as let potential mates know that a strong, healthy bird has
claimed the location.
·Visual Displays: Visual displays such as puffing up
colored feather patches, tail flicking or fanning, wing spreading
and other behaviors are all part of claiming territory and also
show off a bird's strength and health to a potential mate.
These behaviors are commonly a part of courtship rituals
between opposite sexes as well as territorial displays between
two male birds.
·Chasing: As a last resort, aggressive birds may directly
chase intruders or competitors out of their territory. This is
frequent in areas where many birds are seeking to claim the
same territory, or when a dominant male is discouraging
younger m ales that are struggling to claim their first territory.
In bird species where family groups remain together in the
winter, the male parent may chase away his mature offspring
the following spring so they do not infringe on his territory.
Most birds will use a combination of different behaviors to claim
and defend territories, particularly in competitive seasons.
Understanding this type of behavior can help birders better
appreciate the birds they see and learn more about where to find
certain species.

When Territory Doesn't Matter
There are two instances when territory is less important to birds.
The first is when a bird species is not territorial at all, such as with
communal nesting birds. Swifts, swallows, herons and many
waterfowl are communal nesters and will have only very small
territories directly around the nest site that they may defend.
Birds are also much less territorial after the breeding season
ends. At this time, many birds that would have aggressively
defended their space just a few weeks earlier are now gathering
together for migration and are less apt to be aggressive. Even
non-migratory birds are less aggressive at this time, since
competition is easing for food sources and they no longer have
the demands of growing chicks to meet.
Understanding bird territories and how they claim those territories
helps birders know where and how to find birds in the spring and
summer, and territorial behaviors can be astonishing to obse

Passage 3
Title:
水利建设与文明的发展
大致内容
有个人研究古代优秀的文明都有共同之处,他发现人们会用到水来
灌溉,而水很重要,所以人们更愿意修水利工程,指挥水利的人往
往最后有钱有地位;同时这也产生了社会文化。
扩展阅读
Maya Water Problems
To understand the ancient Mayan people who lived in the
area that is today southern Mexico and Central America and the
ecological difficulties they faced, one must first consider their
environment, which we think of as "jungle" or "tropical rainforest."
This view is inaccurate, and the reason proves to be important.
Properly speaking, tropical rainforests grow in high-rainfall
equatorial areas that remain wet or humid all year round. But the
Maya homeland lies more than sixteen hundred kilometers from
the equator, at latitudes 17 to 22 degrees north, in a habitat
termed a "seasonal tropical forest." That is, while there does tend
to be a rainy season from May to October, there is also a dry
season from January through April. If one focuses on the wet
months, one calls the Maya homeland a "seasonal tropical
forest"; if one focuses on the dry months, one could instead
describe it as a "seasonal desert."
From north to south in the Yucatan Peninsula, where the
Maya lived, rainfall ranges from 18 to 100 inches (457 to 2,540
millimeters) per year, and the soils become thicker, so that the
southern peninsula was agriculturally more productive and
supported denser populations. But rainfall in the Maya homeland
is unpredictably variable between years; some recent years have
had three or four times more rain than other years. As a result,
modern farmers attempting to grow corn in the ancient Maya
homelands have faced frequent crop failures, especially in the
north. The ancient Maya were presumably more experienced and
did better, but nevertheless they too must have faced risks of
crop failures from droughts and hurricanes.
Although southern Maya areas received more rainfall than
northern areas, problems of water were paradoxically more
severe in the wet south. While that made things hard for ancient
Maya living in the south, it has also made things hard for modern
archaeologists who have difficulty understanding why ancient
droughts caused bigger problems in the wet south than in the dry
north. The likely explanation is that an area of underground
freshwater underlies the Yucatan Peninsula, but surface
elevation increases from north to south, so that as one moves
south the land surface lies increasingly higher above the water
table. In the northern peninsula the elevation is sufficiently low
that the ancient Maya were able to reach the water table at deep
sinkholes called cenotes, or at deep caves. In low-elevation north
coastal areas without sinkholes, the Maya would have been able
to get down to the water table by digging wells up to 75 feet (22
meters) deep. But much of the south lies too high above the
water table for cenotes or wells to reach down to it. Making
matters worse, most of the Yucatan Peninsula consists of karst, a
porous sponge-like limestone terrain where rain runs straight into
the ground and where little or no surface water remains available.
How did those dense southern Maya populations deal with the
resulting water problem? It initially surprises us that many of their
cities were not built next to the rivers but instead on high terrain in
rolling uplands. The explanation is that the Maya excavated
depressions, or modified natural depressions, and then plugged
up leaks in the karst by plastering the bottoms of the depressions
in order to create reservoirs, which collected rain from large
plastered catchment basins and stored it for use in the dry
season. For example, reservoirs at the Maya city of Tikal held
enough water to meet the drinking water needs of about 10,000
people for a period of 18 months. At the city of Coba the Maya
built dikes around a lake in order to raise its level and make their
water supply more reliable. But the inhabitants of Tikal and other
cities dependent on reservoirs for drinking water would still have
been in deep trouble if 18 months passed without rain in a
prolonged drought. A shorter drought in which they exhausted
their stored food supplies might already have gotten them in deep
trouble, because growing crops required rain rather than
reservoirs.

Paragraph 1: To understand the ancient Mayan people who
lived in the area that is today southern Mexico and Central
America and the ecological difficulties they faced, one must first
consider their environment, which we think of as "jungle" or
"tropical rainforest." This view is inaccurate, and the reason
proves to be important. Properly speaking, tropical rainforests
grow in high-rainfall equatorial areas that remain wet or humid all
year round. But the Maya homeland lies more than sixteen
hundred kilometers from the equator, at latitudes 17 to 22
degrees north, in a habitat termed a "seasonal tropical forest."
That is, while there does tend to be a rainy season from May to
October, there is also a dry season from January through April. If
one focuses on the wet months, one calls the Maya homeland a
"seasonal tropical forest"; if one focuses on the dry months, one
could instead describe it as a "seasonal desert."