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Groundwater and the Hydrologic Cycle

Groundwater and the Hydrologic Cycle Geography STEM

The Hydrologic Cycle also impacts groundwater, as shown in this illustration from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

What is groundwater? The EPA gives us a good understanding of it:

Groundwater is fresh water (from rain or melting ice and snow) that soaks into the soil and is stored in the tiny spaces (pores) between rocks and particles of soil.  Groundwater accounts for nearly 95 percent of the nation's fresh water resources.  It can stay underground for hundreds of thousands of years, or it can come to the surface and help fill rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, and wetlands. 

Groundwater can also come to the surface as a spring or be pumped from a well.  Both of these are common ways we get groundwater to drink.  About 50 percent of our municipal, domestic, and agricultural water supply is groundwater.

We can't see groundwater in the landscapes which surround us because it is located underground where it moves in shallow and deep aquifers.  Wells, which provide a source of water for homes and other buildings, extend into those aquifers (as depicted in this image).

If contaminated water (from chemicals and other materials above ground) reaches the groundwater supply, the water which people extract from the aquifers, via their wells, can also be contaminated. 

This image depicts how chemicals can reach the groundwater.

 


Media Credits

Image, described above, from the EPA.  Image online, courtesy EPA.

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To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Groundwater and the Hydrologic Cycle" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Dec 13, 2017.
       <http://www.awesomestories.com/asset/view/Groundwater-and-the-Hydrologic-Cycle>.
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