AP Environmental Science Unit 4 - Earth Systems & Resources

2 min readoctober 14, 2021

AP Environmental Science ♻️

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AP Environmental Science Earth Systems Review

Here's an organized outline for AP Environmental Science Unit 4 reviews. This outline has been adapted from the 2019 Course Description published by College Board. You can use this to build an AP Enviro Unit 4 study guide.


Geological formations are created by shifts in Earth’s plate boundaries.  
  • Geological features including; mountains, island arcs, earthquakes, volcanoes, and seafloor spreading are all found at tectonic plate boundaries. 
  • An earthquake occurs when built up stress is finally released at a fault, releasing stored energy in the form of waves that cause shaking of the Earth.
Read: AP Environmental Science - Tectonic Plates
Soil is a valuable global resource and has given characteristics. 
Watch: AP Environmental Science - 🎥 Soil Comparison

Atmosphere and Climate

The atmosphere has varying properties and composition of gases that can be organized into layers.   
  • The layers of the atmosphere is organised into layers based on temperature gradients.  These include the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere.
Read: AP Environmental Science - Earth's Atmosphere
Earth’s climate is dynamic and is influenced by geologic features, the sun's energy and the movement of water and air. 

Unit 4 Vocab

  • Atmospheric gases
  • Atmospheric layers
  • Convergent boundaries
  • Coriolis effect
  • Distribution of plate boundaries
  • Divergent boundaries
  • Earth’s seasons
  • Earthquakes
  • El Niño and La Niña
  • Global wind patterns
  • Soil erosion
  • Soil horizons
  • Soil texture triangle
  • Solar radiation
  • Transform boundaries
  • Water holding capacity
  • Watershed characteristics
  • Weather and climate
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🏜Unit 1 – The Living World: Ecosystems
🐠Unit 2 – The Living World: Biodiversity
👪Unit 3 – Populations
🌏Unit 4 – Earth Systems & Resources
🏖Unit 5 – Land & Water Use
⚡️Unit 6 – Energy Resources & Consumption
💨Unit 7 – Atmospheric Pollution
♻️Unit 8 – Aquatic & Terrestrial Pollution
🔥Unit 9 – Global Change
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