lesson 14 - Key Terms and Concepts groundwater steps of the...

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Key Terms and Concepts - groundwater - steps of the hydrological cycle - aquifer - aquiclude - aquitard - confined aquifer - unconfined aquifer - perched aquifer - well - spring - recharge zone - permeability - porosity - zone of saturation - zone of aeration - percolation - cone of depression - well interference - induced recharge - saltwater intrusion - water wars - how groundwater is used throughout the dry lands of the world - Ogallala Aquifer: about and future of - High Plains Aquifer - Ogallala Formation - precipitation patterns across the US and significance of 100th meridian - groundwater mining - economic depletion Introduction to groundwater resources In the previous lesson, we examined some ways that humans interact with soil, which is an important component of the hydrological cycle . Another part of the hydrological cycle is groundwater. As the name implies, groundwater is water that is stored in the ground, far below the surface of the Earth. Contrast this image with the type of water resources you see on a daily basis, like streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, etc., that channel or hold water flowing across the Earth's surface. In most cases, extensive groundwater reservoirs require tens of thousands, or even millions of years, to form. Although rivers get a great deal of attention, only 0.03% of all freshwater in the world is found in river systems. Twice as much is found in the soil, and ten times as much is found in lakes, and combined these sources barely amount to half a percent. Three-quarters of the world's freshwater
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is stored in glaciers and ice sheets, while the remaining one-quarter of the world's freshwater is stored deep within the Earth's crust as groundwater . Animation of the five processes of the hydrologic cycle. "Together, these five processes - condensation, precipitation, infiltration, runoff, and evapotranspiration - make up the Hydrologic Cycle. Water vapor condenses to form clouds, which result in precipitation when the conditions are suitable. Precipitation falls to the surface and infiltrates the soil [as subsurface flow , where it can recharge groundwater] or flows to the ocean as runoff. Surface water (e.g., lakes, streams, oceans, etc.), evaporates, returning moisture to the atmosphere, while plants return water to the atmosphere by transpiration." Groundwater is a vital natural resource that can be mined by humans for drinking water or to irrigate agricultural fields, among many other uses. This lesson will focus on some of the ways that people interact with this part of the environment and some of the political issues that are associated with this interaction. In order to provide the proper context for this discussion, the first part of the lesson will examine the way that groundwater accumulates and the geological conditions that are required for an extensive groundwater resource to develop. Subsequently, the lesson will investigate human interactions with this resource and the kinds of problems that are beginning to emerge.
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