AP Environmental Science : Surface Water and Underground Water

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Surface Water And Underground Water

Which of the following is not a reason that plants transpire?

Possible Answers:

To allow uptake of CO2 from the atmosphere

To prevent leaves from overheating

To promote gas exchange with the environment

To carry soil minerals into the leaves

To conserve water

Correct answer:

To conserve water

Explanation:

Transpiration invovles the opening of the stomata pores on the surface of the plant's leaves. When the pores are open, water is able to evaporate and be released from the plant. The result is a negative pressure differential that helps pull water upwards via capillary action through the xylem. Water is lost during transpiration, not conserved.

Example Question #2 : Surface Water And Underground Water

Approximately what percent of fresh water is readily available in bodies of above-ground water?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Fresh, above-ground water (rivers, lakes, reservoirs, etc.) compose roughly 0.5% of all fresh water on earth.

Example Question #2 : Surface Water And Underground Water

What percent of the world's fresh water is available in underground water tables?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Below-ground water tables consist of roughly 22% of all fresh water on Earth. 

Example Question #4 : Surface Water And Underground Water

Which of the following water bodies would be most likely to be oligotrophic?

Possible Answers:

A newly formed glacial lake

A lake that is located in a geographically mountainous area where clear-cutting is pervasive

A river that runs through a fertile, heavily-cultivated delta

A swamp-wetland ecosystem with a healthy population of aquatic vegetation

The rivers and freshwater lakes on and nearby Mount St. Helens shortly after the 1980 volcanic eruption

Correct answer:

A newly formed glacial lake

Explanation:

Oligotrophy occurs when there are insufficient nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus) for the development of aquatic vegetation. This phenomenon is common with newly-formed lakes where primary succession has not yet fixed enough nitrogen for larger plant communities. This is especially true for glacial lakes, where the receding of ice sheets uncover land often devoid of nutrients.

Example Question #5 : Surface Water And Underground Water

Which two factors contributed mostly to the 1930s Dust Bowl?

Possible Answers:

Over-dependence on chemical fertilizer and insufficient rainfall

Over-dependence on chemical fertilizer and failure to mulch regularly

Insufficient precipitation and soil that lacked a healthy root system

The soil was lacking a healthy root system and producing more food than the ecosystem could support

A market that lessened demand for cultivation and insufficient rainfall

Correct answer:

Insufficient precipitation and soil that lacked a healthy root system

Explanation:

Dried-out topsoil that has no root system or ground cover is at the highest risk of being lost to wind erosion. The Dust Bowl was mainly a result of a decrease in annual precipitation and farming methods that relied heavily on tilling, effectively destroying the root systems and organic cover from the native prairie grasses.

Example Question #41 : Introductory Concepts And Earth Science

Which of the following best describes a confined aquifer? 

Possible Answers:

An aquifer that is sealed off by manmade efforts (e.g. concrete) to limit percolation of water

An aquifer that has been contaminated by pollutants or pathogens and must be sealed off through manmade efforts to prevent contamination to other water tables through percolation

An aquifer where percolation occurs, but only upward toward above-ground sources

An aquifer that is surrounded by an impermeable bedrock or clay

An aquifer that can only be recharged by precipitation

Correct answer:

An aquifer that is surrounded by an impermeable bedrock or clay

Explanation:

A confined aquifer is a naturally occurring phenomenon where the water table is sealed by impermeable bedrock or clay. This geological phenomenon makes it impossible for the water table to recharge by precipitation or from above-ground water percolating through porous rock.

Example Question #7 : Surface Water And Underground Water

Which of the following is a serious drawback of pumping water from an unconfined aquifer compared to a confined aquifer?

Possible Answers:

An unconfined aquifer is usually further below ground and can be very expensive to drill into and pump water out of the well. 

There are few sources for an unconfined aquifer to recharge and it is very easy to pump out more water than what replenishes the table naturally. 

An unconfined aquifer is more likely to contain pathogens and pollutants. 

Sulfur deposits (which taste horrible) are more common in unconfined aquifers. 

An unconfined aquifer can be exhausted faster than a confined aquifer. 

Correct answer:

An unconfined aquifer is more likely to contain pathogens and pollutants. 

Explanation:

Unconfined aquifers are not as deep below ground as confined water tables and are usually surrounded by porous soil and bedrock. This results in a heightened potential for pathogens and pollutants (particularly from agricultural leeching) to make their way into the ground water. 

Example Question #46 : Ap Environmental Sciences

Which of the following is not a type of freshwater body?

Possible Answers:

Lake

River

Estuary

Pond

Wetlands

Correct answer:

Estuary

Explanation:

Lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, and glaciers are all examples of freshwater bodies. An estuary, on the other hand, is formed where freshwater and saltwater bodies mix.

Example Question #8 : Surface Water And Underground Water

Karl is a stream ecologists that researches riparian ecosystems. His research focuses on how runoff, sediments, and dissolved materials makes their way into a stream. This land area is referred to as a(n) __________

Possible Answers:

mesotrophic lake

drainage basin

estuary

source zone

Correct answer:

drainage basin

Explanation:

The correct response is drainage basin. This term refers to the entire landscape and how water and sediment moves from the terrestrial into the riparian zone. 

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