AP Environmental Science Test: Earth Systems & Resources

Congratulations - you have completed . You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
An area beneath the ocean floor where tectonic plates move away from each other is known as a

A
Subduction zone
B
Seafloor spreading
C
Divergent plate boundary
D
Convergent plate boundary
E
Transform fault boundary
Question 1 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). Beneath the ocean floor, tectonic plates move away from each other at the divergent plate boundary. A subduction zone is where the tectonic plates pass over one another. Seafloor spreading does not describe the movement of the plates; instead, it describes mantle pushing upward through to the surface. At a convergent plate boundary the tectonic plates move toward one another, and at a transform fault boundary, the plates move past each other. The tectonic plates move away from each other due to the force of magma rising through and splitting the lithosphere, of which the tectonic plates are made.
Question 2
Which of the following is an example of a metamorphic rock?

A
Granite
B
Basalt
C
Sandstone
D
Marble
E
Limestone
Question 2 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). Metamorphic rocks are formed when other rocks, such as igneous or sedimentary are subjected to high temperatures and pressures. As a result of these conditions, a new type of rock is formed. Marble is one example of a metamorphic rock. Granite and basalt are igneous rocks, while sandstone and limestone are sedimentary rocks.
Question 3
Which of the following layers of the earth is entirely liquid?

A
Inner core
B
Outer core
C
Mantle
D
Asthenosphere
E
Lithosphere
Question 3 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). The inner and outer core of the earth both consist of iron and nickel. Although the inner core is hotter than 5000 K, its accompanying 330-360 gigapascal pressure keeps it in the solid phase. The outer core, although hot, lacks the pressure to keep it in the solid phase; consequently, it is the only layer of Earth in the liquid phase. The mantle is made up of magma, which is molten rock, and not considered liquid. The asthenosphere is semi-molten, but not liquid. The lithosphere is composed of both the earth’s crust and the outer mantle, both of which are solid.
Question 4
The loss of some or all of a soil’s ability to support plant growth is called

A
Erosion
B
Soil degradation
C
Physical weathering
D
Chemical weathering
E
Base saturation
Question 4 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). Soil degradation describes the loss of some or all of a soil’s ability to support plant growth resulting from biological, chemical, or physical deterioration. Weathering describes the breakdown of rocks and minerals, not soil. Erosion describes the process by which rock fragments and soils are removed from a landscape, but does not specifically describe a soil’s capacity for supporting plant growth. Base saturation describes the proportion of soil bases to soil acids, and does not specifically relate to soil supported plant growth.
Question 5
A stair-like structure that allows migrating fish to navigate through a dam is known as a(n)

A
Ladder
B
Aqueduct
C
Dike
D
Levee
E
Reservoir
Question 5 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). Fish use a “fish ladder” or a “ladder” to make their way around a dam during migration. This structure functions like a set of stairs enabling fish to jump from landing to landing. The other answer choices refer to ways of transporting or damming water, not specifically to a method of assisting fish during migration.
Question 6
Which body of water has been significantly reduced in size due to water diversion?

A
The Baltic Sea
B
The Aral Sea
C
Lake Huron
D
The Mississippi River
E
The Nile River
Question 6 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). Water diversion has reduced the size of the Aral Sea to less than 10% of its original size. It was once one of the four largest lakes in the world, but has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects. The shrinking of the Aral Sea is considered to be one of the planet's worst environmental disasters. The other bodies of water listed here are all still large in size and have not been the victims of massive water diversion.
Question 7
If a deep well pumps water from an aquifer more rapidly than it can be regenerated, which of the following may form?

A
Cone of depression
B
Saltwater intrusion
C
Confined aquifer
D
Unconfined aquifer
E
Flood plain
Question 7 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). A cone of depression results when wells pump water at a rate faster than it can be renewed. When this happens, a depressed area, or “cone,” is formed due to the rapid withdrawal.
Question 8
Freshwater makes up what percentage of the earth’s water?

A
0.003%
B
0.037%
C
2.78%
D
22.22%
E
97.22%
Question 8 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). The earth’s water supply is primarily a combination of a small amount of fresh water and a large majority of saltwater. As you are not expected to recall the actual percentages of the earth’s water supply, it is more important to deduce the percentage of freshwater from your familiarity with the water cycle and the world atlas. Once it is deduced that oceans constitute greater than 90% of the earth’s water supply, the next step is deciding that it constitutes less than 99%. The only answer choice that fits is then 2.78%.
Question 9
Frost wedging and unloading are examples of:

A
Biological weathering
B
Soil erosion
C
Chemical weathering
D
Mechanical weathering
E
Oxidation
Question 9 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). Mechanical weathering is the physical breakdown of rocks through atmospheric conditions such as ice, water, and heat. Frost wedging occurs when freezing water, an atmospheric condition, cracks rock. Unloading occurs when upper layers of rocks erode, another atmospheric condition, causing a release of pressure on lower rock layers. When the pressure is released these lower layers expand and break apart.
Question 10
Which of the following lists the correct order of increasing organic content in soil?

A
Young soil, Immature soil, Mature soil
B
Immature soil, Young soil, Mature soil
C
Mature soil, Immature soil, Young soil
D
Mature soil, Young soil, Immature soil
E
Young soil, Mature soil, Immature soil
Question 10 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). As soil ages, the amount of organic material in it increases proportionally. Immature soil develops into young soil as plants and organisms die. Eventually, young soil becomes mature soil, which contains all of organic material present in each of the earlier stages.
Question 11
The elemental composition of the earth’s crust includes the following percentages:

  1. 46%
  2. 28%
  3. 8%
  4. 6%
  5. 4%

Which of the following elements is first in this list?

A
Oxygen
B
Aluminum
C
Silicon
D
Magnesium
E
Iron
Question 11 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). Oxygen makes up the majority of the earth’s crust, at 46%, so it must be represented by the largest percentage out of this group, number 1. Silicon makes up 28% and is number 2, Aluminum makes up 8% and is number 3, Iron makes up 6% and is number 4, and Magnesium makes up 4% of the earth’s crust, and is number 5.
Question 12
Which list shows the layers of the atmosphere in order, starting with the layer closest to earth?

A
Stratosphere, Troposphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere
B
Troposphere, Stratosphere, Mesosphere, Thermosphere
C
Stratosphere, Troposphere, Thermosphere, Mesosphere
D
Troposphere, Thermosphere, Mesosphere, Stratosphere
E
Mesosphere, Thermosphere, Troposphere, Stratosphere
Question 12 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). The troposphere is the lowest portion of the atmosphere and contains approximately 75% of the atmosphere's mass. The average depth of the troposphere is about 17 km. The stratosphere is the second layer of the atmosphere and contains the ozone layer. The mesosphere is the third layer, and is where most meteors burn up when entering the atmosphere. The Thermosphere is the fourth layer, and is where the International Space Station orbits.
Question 13
Which of the following correctly lists the layers of the earth from the innermost layer to the outside layer?

A
Solid inner core, liquid outer core, mantle, crust
B
Liquid outer core, solid inner core, mantle, crust
C
Solid inner core, liquid outer core, crust, mantle
D
Crust, mantle, liquid outer core, solid inner core
E
Liquid inner core, solid outer core, crust, mantle
Question 13 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). The innermost layer of the earth is the solid inner core, followed by the liquid outer core, then the mantle and finally the crust.
Question 14
Which type of plate interaction occurs when plates move sideways past each other?

A
Fault zone
B
Divergent plate boundary
C
Convergent plate boundary
D
Transform plate boundary
E
Volcanoes
Question 14 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). Transform plate boundaries occur when plates move sideways past each other.
Question 15
How many times greater in magnitude on the Richter scale is a magnitude 6.0 earthquake versus a magnitude 4.0 earthquake?

A
1 times
B
10 times
C
100 times
D
1000 times
E
10,000 times
Question 15 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). The Richter scale is logarithmic, and therefore the magnitude increases 10 times for each unit. An increase from magnitude 4.0 to 5.0 is 10, and another increase of 10 times to get up to 6.0. 10 times 10 is 100.
Question 16
Which type of rocks form when mud, sand or gravel is compressed by overlying materials?

A
Intrusive igneous rock
B
Extrusive igneous rock
C
Sedimentary rock
D
Metamorphic rock
E
Coal
Question 16 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). Sedimentary rock forms when sediments (mud, sand, gravel) are compressed by overlying sediments over long periods of time.
Question 17
Which soil horizon is composed mainly of mineral material with very little organic matter?

A
O horizon
B
A horizon
C
B horizon
D
C horizon
E
Zone of saturation
Question 17 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). The B horizon consists mostly of minerals and very little organic matter.
Question 18
The percentages of the soil’s sand, silt and clay is referred to as:

A
Texture
B
Minerals
C
Horizons
D
Relative particle size
E
Soil type
Question 18 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). A soil’s texture is determined by the percentages of sand, silt and clay contained in the soil.
Question 19
Where is the greatest amount of fresh water located on Earth?

A
Water bodies, such as rivers, lakes and ponds
B
Atmospheric water
C
Belowground water
D
Oceans
E
Ice and glaciers
Question 19 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). Less than 3% of the earth’s water is fresh water. Fresh water sources are distributed as follows:
0.03% Atmospheric water
0.47% Water bodies
22.22% Below ground water
77.28% Ice and glaciers
Question 20
Canals or ditches used to carry water from one location to another are called:

A
Levees
B
Dikes
C
Aqueducts
D
Dams
E
Channels
Question 20 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). Levees, dikes and dams are designed to hold water back. Aqueducts are designed to move water from one location to another.
Question 21
What is one way water-poor countries obtain fresh water by removing salt from salt water?

A
Hydroponics
B
Desalinization
C
Aquaculture
D
Diversion
E
Evaporation
Question 21 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). Desalinization is the process by which salt is removed from salt water to make it usable by humans. It is frequently used in water-poor countries, such as the Middle East.
Question 22
What is the most efficient agricultural irrigation technique?

A
Drip irrigation
B
Furrow irrigation
C
Flood irrigation
D
Spray irrigation
E
Mechanical irrigation
Question 22 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). The efficiency of the agricultural irrigation techniques is as follows:
65% Furrow irrigation
70-80% Flood irrigation
75-95% Spray irrigation
95% Drip irrigation
Question 23
Which of the following atmospheric layers is the closest to the earth?

A
Exosphere
B
Thermosphere
C
Troposphere
D
Mesosphere
E
Stratosphere
Question 23 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). The following lists the atmospheric layer from the closest to the Earth increasing in altitude:
Troposphere
Ozone layer
Stratosphere
Mesosphere
Thermosphere
Exosphere
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 23 questions to complete.
List
Return
Shaded items are complete.
12345
678910
1112131415
1617181920
212223End
Return

 

Next Practice Test:
The Living World >>

AP Environmental Science Main Menu >>