ielts reading test 277
SOSUS: Listening to the Ocean
The oceans of Earth cover more than 70 percent of the planet’s surface, yet, until quite recently, we knew less about their depths than we did about the surface of the Moon. Distant as it is, the Moon has been far more accessible to study because astronomers long have been able to look at its surface, first with the naked eye and then with the telescope-both instruments that focus light. And, with telescopes tuned to different wavelengths of light, modem astronomers can not only analyze Earth’s atmosphere, but also determine the temperature and composition of the Sun or other stars many hundreds of light-years away. Until the twentieth century, however, no analogous instruments were available for the study of Earth’s oceans: Light, which can travel trillions of miles through the vast vacuum of space, cannot penetrate very far in seawater.
Curious investigators long have been fascinated by sound and the way it travels in water. As early as 1490, Leonardo da Vinci observed: “If you cause your ship to stop and place the head of a long tube in the water and place the outer extremity to your ear, you will hear ships at a great distance from you.” In 1687, the first mathematical theory of sound propagation was published by Sir Isaac Newton in his Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Investigators were measuring the speed of sound in air beginning in the mid seventeenth century, but it was not until 1826 that Daniel Colladon, a Swiss physicist, and Charles Sturm, a French mathematician, accurately measured its speed in water. Using a long tube to listen underwater (as da Vinci had suggested), they recorded how fast the sound of a submerged bell traveled across Lake Geneva. Their result-1,435 meters (1,569 yards) per second in water of 1.8 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit)- was only 3 meters per second off from the speed accepted today. What these investigators demonstrated was that water – whether fresh or salt- is an excellent medium for sound, transmitting it almost five times faster than its speed in air
In 1877 and 1878，the British scientist John William Strutt, third Baron Rayleigh, published his two-volume seminal work, The Theory of Sound, often regarded as marking the beginning of the modem study of acoustics. The recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1904 for his successful isolation of the element argon, Lord Rayleigh made key discoveries in the fields of acoustics and optics that are critical to the theory of wave propagation in fluids. Among other things, Lord Rayleigh was the first to describe a sound wave as a mathematical equation (the basis of all theoretical work on acoustics) and the first to describe how small particles in the atmosphere scatter certain wavelengths of sunlight, a principle that also applies to the behavior of sound waves in water.
A number of factors influence how far sound travels underwater and how long it lasts. For one, particles in seawater can reflect, scatter, and absorb certain frequencies of sound – just as certain wavelengths of light may be reflected, scattered, and absorbed by specific types of particles in the atmosphere. Seawater absorbs 30 times the amount of sound absorbed by distilled water, with specific chemicals (such as magnesium sulfate and boric acid) damping out certain frequencies of sound. Researchers also learned that low frequency sounds, whose long wavelengths generally pass over tiny particles, tend to travel farther without loss through absorption or scattering. Further work on the effects of salinity, temperature, and pressure on the speed of sound has yielded fascinating insights into the structure of the ocean. Speaking generally, the ocean is divided into horizontal layers in which sound speed is influenced more greatly by temperature in the upper regions and by pressure in the lower depths. At the surface is a sun-warmed upper layer, the actual temperature and thickness of which varies with the season. At mid-latitudes, this layer tends to be isothermal, that is， the temperature tends to be uniform throughout the layer because the water is well mixed by the action of waves, winds, and convection currents; a sound signal moving down through this layer tends to travel at an almost constant speed. Next comes a transitional layer called the thermocline, in which temperature drops steadily with depth; as temperature falls, so does the speed of sound.
The U.S. Navy was quick to appreciate the usefulness of low-frequency sound and the deep sound channel in extending the range at which it could detect submarines. In great secrecy during the 1950s，the U.S. Navy launched a project that went by the code name Jezebel; it would later come to be known as the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS). The system involved arrays of underwater microphones, called hydrophones, that were placed on the ocean bottom and connected by cables to onshore processing centers. With SOSUS deployed in both deep and shallow waters along both coasts of North America and the British West Indies, the U.S. Navy not only could detect submarines in much of the northern hemisphere, it also could distinguish how many propellers a submarine had, whether it was conventional or nuclear, and sometimes even the class of sub.
The realization that SOSUS could be used to listen to whales also was made by Christopher Clark, a biological acoustician at Cornell University, when he first visited a SOSUS station in 1992. When Clark looked at the graphic representations of sound, scrolling 24 hours day, every day, he saw the voice patterns of blue, finback, minke, and humpback whales. He also could hear the sounds. Using a SOSUS receiver in the West Indies, he could hear whales that were 1,770 kilometers (1,100 miles) away. Whales are the biggest of Earth’s creatures. The blue whale, for example, can be 100 feet long and weigh as many tons. Yet these animals also are remarkably elusive. Scientists wish to observe blue time and position them on a map. Moreover, they can track not just one whale at a time, but many creatures simultaneously throughout the North Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific. They also can learn to distinguish whale calls. For example, Fox and colleagues have detected changes in the calls of finback whales during different seasons and have found that blue whales in different regions of the Pacific ocean have different calls. Whales firsthand must wait in their ships for the whales to surface. A few whales have been tracked briefly in the wild this way but not for very great distances, and much about them remains unknown. Using the SOSUS stations, scientists can track the whales in real time and position them on a map. Moreover, they can track not just one whale at a time, but many creatures simultaneously throughout the North Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific. They also can learn to distinguish whale calls. For example, Fox and colleagues have detected changes in the calls of finback whales during different seasons and have found that blue whales in different regions of the Pacific Ocean have different calls.
SOSUS, with its vast reach, also has proved instrumental in obtaining information crucial to our understanding of Earth’s weather and climate. Specifically, the system has enabled researchers to begin making ocean temperature measurements on a global scale – measurements that are keys to puzzling out the workings of heat transfer between the ocean and the atmosphere. The ocean plays an enormous role in determining air temperature the heat capacity in only the upper few meters of ocean is thought to be equal to all of the heat in the entire atmosphere. For sound waves traveling horizontally in the ocean, speed is largely a function of temperature. Thus, the travel time of a wave of sound between two points is a sensitive indicator of the average temperature along its path. Transmitting sound in numerous directions through the deep sound channel can give scientists measurements spanning vast areas of the globe. Thousands of sound paths in the ocean could be pieced together into a map of global ocean temperatures and, by repeating measurements along the same paths over times, scientists could track changes in temperature over months or years.
Researchers also are using other acoustic techniques to monitor climate. Oceanographer Jeff Nystuen at the University of Washington, for example, has explored the use of sound to measure rainfall over the ocean. Monitoring changing global rainfall patterns undoubtedly will contribute to understanding major climate change as well as the weather phenomenon known as El Nino. Since 1985, Nystuen has used hydrophones to listen to rain over the ocean, acoustically measuring not only the rainfall rate but also the rainfall type, from drizzle to thunderstorms. By using the sound of rain underwater as a “natural” rain gauge, the measurement of rainfall over the oceans will become available to climatologists.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage above? In boxes 1-4 on your answer sheet, write
if the statement agrees with the information
if the statement contradicts the information
if there is no information on this
1. In the past, difficulties of research carried out on Moon were much easier than that of
2. The same light technology used on investigation of moon can be employed in the field of ocean.
3. Research on the depth of ocean by method of sound wave is more time-consuming.
4. Hydrophones technology is able to detect the category of precipitation.
Questions 5 –8
The reading Passage has seven paragraphs A-H. Which paragraph contains the following information?
5. Elements affect sound transmission in the ocean
6. Relationship between global climate and ocean temperature
7. Examples of how sound technology help people research ocean and creatures in it
8. Sound transmission under water is similar to that of light in any condition
Questions 9 –13
Choose the correct letter, A，B，C or D.
9. Who of the followings is dedicated to the research of rate of sound?
Leonardo da Vinci
John William Strutt
10. Who explained that the theory of light or sound wavelength is significant in water?
John William Strutt
11. According to Fox and colleagues, in what pattern does the change of finback whale calls happen
Change in various seasons
Change in various days
Change in different months
Change in different years
12. In which way does the SOSUS technology inspect whales?
Track all kinds of whales in the ocean
Track bunches of whales at the same time
Track only finback whale in the ocean
Track whales by using multiple appliances or devices
13. what could scientists inspect via monitoring along a repeated route?
Temperature of the surface passed
Temperature of the deepest ocean floor
Variation of temperature
Fixed data of temperature
Save Endangered Language
“Obviously we must do some serious rethinking of our priorities, lest linguistics go down in history as the only science that presided obviously over the disappearance of 90 percent of the very field to which it is dedicated.” – Michael Krauss, “The World’s Languages in Crisis”.
Ten years ago Michael Krauss sent a shudder through the discipline of linguistics with his prediction that half the 6,000 or so languages spoken in the world would cease to be uttered within a century. Unless scientists and community leaders directed a worldwide effort to stabilize the decline of local languages, he warned, nine-tenths of the linguistic diversity of humankind would probably be doomed to extinction. Krauss’s prediction was little more than an educated guess, but other respected linguists had been clanging out similar alarms. Keneth L. Hale of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology noted in the same journal issue that eight languages on which he had done fieldwork had since passed into extinction. A 1990 survey in Australia found that 70 of the 90 surviving Aboriginal languages were no longer used regularly by all age groups. The same was true for all but 20 of the 175 Native American languages spoken or remembered in the US., Krauss told a congressional panel in 1992.
Many experts in the field mourn the loss of rare languages, for several reasons. To start, there is scientific self-interest: some of the most basic questions in linguistics have to do with the limits of human speech, which are far from fully explored. Many researchers would like to know which structural elements of grammar and vocabulary – if any – are truly universal and probably, therefore, hardwired into the human brain. Other scientists try to reconstruct ancient migration patterns by comparing borrowed words that appear in otherwise unrelated languages. In each of these cases, the wider the portfolio of languages you study, the more likely you are to get the right answers.
Despite the near-constant buzz in linguistics about endangered languages over the past 10 years, the field has accomplished depressingly little. “You would think that there would be some organized response to this dire situation,” some attempt to determine which language can be saved and which should be documented before they disappear, says Sarah G. Thomason, a linguist at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. “But there isn’t any such effort organized in the profession. It is only recently that it has become fashionable enough to work on endangered languages.” Six years ago, recalls Douglas H. Whalen of Yale University, “when I asked linguists who were raising money to deal with these problems, I mostly got blank stares.” So Whalen and a few other linguists founded the Endangered Languages Fund. In the five years to 2001, they were able to collect only $80,000 for research grants. A similar foundation in England, directed by Nicholas Ostler, has raised just $8,000 since 1995.
But there are encouraging signs that the field has turned a corner. The Volkswagen Foundation, a German charity, just issued its second round of grants totaling more than $2 million. It has created a multimedia archive at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands that can house recordings, grammars, dictionaries and other data on endangered languages. To fill the archive, the foundation has dispatched field linguists to document Aweti (100 or so speakers in Brazil), Ega (about 300 speakers in Ivory Coast), Waima’a (a few hundred speakers in East Timor), and a dozen or so other languages unlikely to survive the century. The Ford Foundation has also edged into the arena. Its contributions helped to reinvigorate a master-apprentice program created in 1992 by Leanne Hinton of Berkeley and Native Americans worried about the imminent demise of about 50 indigenous languages in California. Fluent speakers receive $3,000 to teach a younger relative (who is also paid) their native tongue through 360 hours of shared activities, spread over six months. So far about 5 teams have completed the program, Hinton says, transmitting a least some knowledge of 25 languages. “It’s too early to call this language revitalization,” Hinton admits. “In California, the death rate of elderly speakers will always be greater than the recruitment rate of young speakers. But at least we prolong the survival of the language.” That will give linguists more time to record these tongues before they vanish.
But the master-apprentice approach hasn’t caught on outside the U.S., and Hinton’s effort is a drop in the sea. At least 440 languages have been reduced to a mere handful of elders, according to the Ethnologue, a catalogue of languages produced by the Dallas-based group SIL International that comes closest to global coverage. For the vast majority of these languages, there is little or no record of their grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation or use in daily life. Even if a language has been fully documented, all that remains once it vanishes from active use is a fossil skeleton, a scattering of features that the scientist was lucky and astute enough to capture. Linguists may be able to sketch an outline of the forgotten language and fix its place on the evolutionary tree, but little more. “How did people start conversations and talk to babies? How dis husbands and wives converse?” Hinton asks. “Those are the first things you want to learn when you want to revitalize the language.”
But there is as yet no discipline of “conservation linguistics,” as there is for biology. Almost every strategy tried so far has succeeded in some places but failed in others, and there seems to be no way to predict with certainty what will work where. Twenty years ago in New Zealand, Maori speakers set up “language nests,” in which preschoolers were immersed in the native language. Additional Maori-only classes were added as the children progressed through elementary and secondary school. A similar approach was tried in Hawaii, with some success – the number of native speakers has stabilized at 1,000 or so, reports Joseph E. Grimes of SIL International, who is working on Oahu. Students can now get instruction in Hawaiian all the way through university.
One factor that always seems to occur in the demise of a language is that the speakers begin to have collective doubts about the usefulness of language loyalty. Once they start regarding their own language as inferior to the majority language, people stop using it in all situations. Kids pick up on the attitude and prefer the dominant language. In many cases, people don’t notice until they suddenly realize that their kids never speak the language, even at home. This is how Cornish and some dialects of Scottish Gaelic is still only rarely used for daily home life in Ireland, 80 years after the republic was founded with Irish as its first official language.
Linguists agree that ultimately, the answer to the problem of language extinction is multilingualism. Even uneducated people can learn several languages, as long as they start as children. Indeed, most people in the world speak more than one tongue, and in places such as Cameroon (279 languages), Papua New Guinea (823) and India (387) it is common to speak three of four distinct languages and a dialect or two as well. Most Americans and Canadians, to the west of Quebec, have a gut reaction that anyone speaking another language in front of them is committing an immoral act. You get the same reaction in Australia and Russia. It is no coincidence that these are the areas where languages are disappearing the fastest. The first step in saving dying languages is to persuade the world’s majorities to allow the minorities among them to speak with their own voices.
The reading passage has eight paragraphs, A-H. Choose the correct heading for paragraphs A-H from the list below.
List of headings
i. data consistency needed for language
ii. consensuses on an initial recommendation for saving dying out languages
iii. positive gains for protection
iv. minimum requirement for saving a language
v. Potential threat to minority language
vi. a period when there was absent of real effort made.
vii. native language programs launched
viii. Lack of confidence in young speakers as a negative factor
ix. Practice in several developing countries
x. Value of minority language to linguists.
xi. government participation in the language field
14. Paragraph A
15. Paragraph B
16. Paragraph D
17. Paragraph E
18. Paragraph F
19. Paragraph G
20. Paragraph H
Use the information in the passage to match the people (listed A-F) with opinions or deeds below. Write the appropriate letters A-F in boxes 21-25 on your answer sheet.
Joseph E. Grimes
Sarah G. Thomason
Keneth L. Hale
Douglas H. Whalen
21. Reported language conservation practice in Hawaii
22. Predicted that many languages would disappear soon
23. The experienced process that languages die out personally
24. Raised language fund in England
25. Not enough effort on saving until recent work
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
26. What is the real result of a master-apprentice program sponsored by The Ford Foundation?
Teach children how to speak
Revive some endangered languages in California
postpone the dying date for some endangered languages
Increase communication between students
27. What should the majority language speakers do according to the last paragraph?
They should teach their children endangered language in free lessons
They should learn at least four languages
They should now their loyalty to a dying language
They should be more tolerant of minority language speaker
With a quarter of the world’s plants set to vanish within the next 50 years, Dough Alexander reports on the scientists working against the clock the preserve the Earth’s botanical heritage. They travel the four corners of the globe, scouring jungles, forests and savannas. But they’re not looking for ancient artefacts, lost treasure or undiscovered tombs. Just pods. It may lack the romantic allure of archaeology or the whiff of danger that accompanies going after a big game, but seed hunting is an increasingly serious business. Some seek seeds for profit-hunters in the employ of biotechnology firms, pharmaceutical companies and private corporations on the lookout for species that will yield the drugs or crops of the future. Others collect to conserve, working to halt the sad slide into extinction facing so many plant species.
Among the pioneers of this botanical treasure hunt was John Tradescant, an English royal gardener who brought back plants and seeds from his journeys abroad in the early 1600s. Later, the English botanist Sir Joseph Banks – who was the first director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and travelled with Captain James Cook on his voyages near the end of the 18th century – was so driven to expand his collections that he sent botanists around the world at his own expense.
Those heady days of exploration and discovery may be over, but they have been replaced by a pressing need to preserve our natural history for the future. This modern mission drives hunters such as Dr Michiel van Slageren, a good-natured Dutchman who often sports a wide-brimmed hat in the field – he could easily be mistaken for the cinematic hero Indiana Jones. He and three other seed hunters work at the Millennium Seed Bank, an 80 million [pounds sterling] international conservation project that aims to protect the world’s most endangered wild plant species.
The group’s headquarters are in a modern glass-and-concrete structure on a 200-hectare Estate at Wakehurst Place in the West Sussex countryside. Within its underground vaults are 260 million dried seeds from 122 countries, all stored at -20 Celsius to survive for centuries. Among the 5,100 species represented are virtually all of Britain’s 1,400 native seed-bearing plants, the most complete such collection of any country’s flora.
Overseen by the Royal botanic gardens, the Millennium Seed Bank is the world’s largest wild-plant depository. It aims to collect 24,000 species by 2010. The reason is simple: thanks to humanity’s effort, an estimated 25 per cent of the world’s plants are on the verge of extinction and may vanish within 50 years. We’re currently responsible for habitat destruction on an unprecedented scale, and during the past 400 years, plant species extinction rates have been about 70 times greater than those indicated by the geological record as being ‘normal’. Experts predict that during the next 50 years further one billion hectares of wilderness will be converted to farmland in developing countries alone.
The implications of this loss are enormous. Besides providing staple food crops, plants are a source of many machines and the principal supply of fuel and building materials in many parts of the world. They also protect soil and help regulate the climate. Yet, across the globe, plant species are being driven to extinction before their potential benefits are discovered.
The world Conservation Union has listed 5,714 threatened species is sure to be much higher. In the UK alone, 300 wild plant species are classified as endangered. The Millennium Seed Bank aims to ensure that even if a plant becomes extinct in the wild, it won’t be lost forever. Stored seeds can be used the help restore damaged or destroyed the environment or in scientific research to find new benefits for society- in medicine, agriculture or local industry- that would otherwise be lost.
Seed banks are an insurance policy to protect the world’s plant heritage for the future, explains Dr Paul Smith, another Kew seed hunter. “Seed conservation techniques were originally developed by farmers,” he says. “Storage is the basis what we do, conserving seeds until you can use them just as in farming,” Smith says there’s no reason why any plant species should become extinct, given today’s technology. But he admits that the biggest challenge is finding, naming and categorizing all the world’s plants. And someone has to gather these seeds before it’s too late. “There aren’t a lot of people out there doing this,” he says. “The key is to know the flora from a particular area, and that knowledge takes years to acquire.”
There are about 1,470 seedbanks scattered around the globe, with a combined total of 5.4 million samples, of which perhaps two million are distinct non-duplicates. Most preserve genetic material for agriculture use in order to ensure crop diversity; others aim to conserve wild species, although only 15 per cent of all banked plants is wild.
Many seed banks are themselves under threat due to a lack of funds. Last year, Imperial College, London, examined crop collections from 151 countries and found that while the number of plant samples had increased in two-thirds of the countries, the budget had been cut in a quarter and remained static in another 35 per cent. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research has since set up the Global Conservation Trust, which aims to raise the US $260 million to protect seed banks in perpetuity.
Do the following statements agree with the information given in reading passage? In boxes 28-33 on your answer sheet, write
if the statement agrees with the information
if the statement contradicts the information
if there is no information on this
28. The purpose of collecting seeds now is different from the past.
29. The millennium seed bank is the earliest seed bank.
30. One of the major threats for plant species extinction is farmland expansion into wildness.
31. The approach that scientists apply to store seeds is similar to that used by farmers.
32. Technological development is the only hope to save plant species.
33. The works of seed conservation are often limited by financial problems.
Complete the following summary of the paragraphs of reading passage using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS
from the reading passage for each answer.
Some people collect seeds for the purpose of protecting certain species from (34)……………….. others collect seeds for their ability to produce (35)……………… They are called seed hunters. The (36)………………. Of them included both gardeners and botanists, such as (37)……………….., who financially supported collectors out of his own pocket. The seeds collected are usually stored in seed banks, one of which is the famous millennium seed bank, where seeds are all stored in the (38)………………. at a low temperature.
Choose the correct letter, A-E. Write your answers in boxes 39-40 on your answer sheet. Which TWO
of the following are provided by plants to the human?