DIRECTIONS: In the passages that follow, some words and phrases are underlined and numbered. In the answer column, you will find alternatives for the words and phrases that are underlined. Choose the alternative that you think is best, and fill in the corresponding bubble on your answer sheet. If you think that the original version is best, choose “NO CHANGE,” which will always be either answer choice A or F. You will also find questions about a particular section of the passage, or about the entire passage. These questions will be identified either by an underlined portion or by a number in a box. Look for the answer that clearly expresses the idea, is consistent with the style and tone of the passage, and makes the correct use of standard written English. Read the passage through once before answering the questions. For some questions, you should read beyond the indicated portion before you answer.
Peat: an Ancient and Modern Fuel
For the country of Ireland, peat is an abundant and plentiful Q1 natural resource that has been heating stoves and homes since the 8th century. The soft organic material lies in huge bogs. Across Q2 17 percent of the Irish countryside. The plant, fungus, and animal detritus that composes peat is kept from fully decomposing among Q3 the acidic environment of these marshlands. When peat is harvested, it Q4 can be dried and compressed to form a solid fuel. Ancient inhabitants of Ireland relied on this combustible material in areas of the island where trees were scarce. Even today, stacks of freshly dug peat can be seen dryer Q5 in rural Irish villages. Peat remains as useful as ever for heat production and soil enrichment. Using millions of stacks of dried peat each year, Q6 Ireland still generates 13 percent of its power from peat-fired turbines.
Prior to the advent of heavy farming machinery, peat farmers plowed trenches throughout a virgin bog to drain the peat, which consist of about Q7 95-percent water. Following the several years that it took for the peat to dry sufficiently, farmers would undertake the arduous task of hand-carving peat blocks from the earth. Today, the Irish peat industry is overseen by the state-owned company Bord Na Móna. Which Q8
produces over four million metric tons of peat every year. About three-quarters is used for domestic energy production, while the remainder Q9 is processed for horticultural applications.
Modern peat harvesting is a four-stage process. First, large tractors mill a thin layer of peat over a large area of bog. Over the next several days, a machine called a harrow Q10 passes over the milled peat, turning the crop several times to expedite drying. During the next step, a ridging machine passes over the dry peat, channeling it into straight rows ready for collection. Finally, the harvester past Q11 its large vacuum over the ridges, drawing the peat Q12 into a large collection bin. The peat is then taken to processing facilities where it is further dried for briquette production or use in power plants.