CAE Reading and Use of English Part 5
You are going to read a newspaper article. For questions 31-36 choose the answer (A, B, C or D) which you think fits best according to the text.
The land under the sea
Underwater maps reveal a hidden history
Ten thousand years ago, as the last ice age drew to a close, sea levels around the world were far lower than they are today. Much of the land under both the North Sea to the east of Britain and the English Channel which now separates France and Britain was part of a huge region of forests and grassy plains, where herds of horses and reindeer roamed free and people lived in villages by the lakes and rivers. Then the climate gradually became warmer (a phenomenon certainly not confined to our own age!) and the water trapped in glaciers and ice caps was released. This ancient land was submerged in the resulting deluge and all that remains to tell us that it was once lush and verdant – and inhabited – is the occasional stone tool, harpoon or mammoth tusk brought up from the seabed by fishing boats.
Now the development of advanced sonar technology, known as bathymetry, is making it possible to study this flooded landscape in extraordinary detail. A special echo sounder is fixed to the bottom of a survey vessel, and it makes wide sweeps across the seabed. While previous technology has only been able to produce two-dimensional images, bathymetry can now deploy computers, satellite-positioning equipment and special software to create accurate and remarkably detailed maps. For the first time, an ancient riverbed leaps out of the three-dimensional image, complete with rocky ledges rising up from the bottom of the valley. The sites of prehistoric settlements can now be pinpointed, and it is also possible to see in stunning detail the sunken shipwrecks that litter this part of the seabed.
According to archaeologist Dr Linda Andrews, this technological development is of huge significance. ‘We now have the ability to map the seabed as accurately as we can map dry land,’ she says. She is, however, scathing about the scale of financial support for such projects. ‘We have better images of Mars and Venus than of two-thirds of our own planet! Britain is an interesting case. It’s been a maritime nation for much of its history, and the sea has had such a massive influence on it, and in view of this, it’s an absolute scandal that we know so little about the area just off the country’s shores!’
Once bathymetric techniques have identified sites where people might have built their homes and villages, such as sheltered bays, cliffs with caves and the shores of freshwater lakes, divers can be sent down to investigate further. Robot submarines can also be used, and researchers hope they will find stone tools and wood from houses (which survives far longer in water than on dry land) as proof of human activity. The idea shared by many people in Britain of their country as a natural island kingdom will be challenged by these findings: Britain has been inhabited for about 500,000 years, and for much of this time, it has been linked on and off to continental Europe. It remains to be seen how far this new awareness is taken on board, however.
In fact, the use of bathymetry scanners will not be limited to the study of lost landscapes and ancient settlements. It will also be vital in finding shipwrecks. Records show that there are about 44,000 shipwrecks off the shores of Britain, but there is good reason to believe that the real figure is much higher. In addition, commercial applications are a real possibility. Aggregates for the construction industry are becoming increasingly expensive, and bathymetry scanners can be used to identify suitable sites for quarrying this material. However, mapping the seabed will also identify places where rare plants and shellfish are living. Government legislation could prevent digging at such sites, either to extract material for a profit or to make the water deeper. This is significant in view of the plans to dredge parts of the English Channel to provide deeper waterways for massive container ships.
31 What point is made in the first paragraph about the area now under the sea?
The fact that it was populated has only recently been discovered.
It was created by the last ice age.
Ancient man-made objects have been found there.
It was flooded, drowning the inhabitants.
32 How does the new sonar technology work?
It has an echo sounder placed on the seabed.
It produces two-dimensional images of the sea floor.
It makes use of a number of different devices.
It bases its calculations on the location of archaeological sites.
33 How does Dr Andrews feel about the lack of accurate maps of the waters around Britain?
34 In the fourth paragraph, the writer suggests that a better understanding of the settlements on the seabed may
inspire more people to take an interest in archaeology.
modify the attitudes of the British to their country’s history.
provide confirmation about the need to deal with climate change.
alter the perception people in other countries have about Britain.
35 Quarrying is mentioned in the final paragraph to show that
there are ways of obtaining funds for research.
underwater surveys should be completed as soon as possible.
damage to the seabed has not been recorded accurately so far.
there are potentially practical benefits for industry.
36 The use of bathymetry scanners may help to
preserve the marine environment.
promote the clearing of the English Channel.
identify new species of plants and animals.
obtain approval to look for shipwrecks.