111-23 - GY 111 Lecture Notes D Haywick(2008-09 1 GY 111...

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GY 111 Lecture Notes D. Haywick (2008-09) 1 GY 111 Lecture Note Series Groundwater and Hydrogeology Lecture Goals A) The hydrologic cycle B) Groundwater dynamics C) Mapping groundwater ( done in class not on the web notes ) A) The hydrologic cycle At the time I am writing these notes (early October 2008), the economy of the world is in major trouble. Banks are failing, money is drying up and even profitable geological ventures like oil, gold and base metal exploration are starting to lose their appeal. No mention of job losses in these geology professions yet, but if no one (including businesses) has any capitol to buy stuff, it will be difficult for geological companies to sell copper or zinc or even oil. But you know, there is one other commodity that geologists explore for that is unlikely to be impacted by any economic slowdown. It’s just too important…. water. Water is vital for most life forms on the planet and there is a lot of it. It is one of the most mobile substances on the planet and it is constantly being recycled from one form to another through the hydrologic (or hydrological) cycle. The hydrological cycle is a bit like the rock cycle, but instead of relating rocks and processes to one another, it relates water and processes. It is defined as all of the water on, over and in the Earth, and the processes by which that water moves between reservoirs . As they say, a picture is worth 1000 words, and the picture below saves me a lot of letters: The hydrologic cycle consists of 5 main reservoirs (storage places for water). In order of descending volume, they are: 1) Oceans (98% of all water) 2) Ice caps (1.8%) 3) Groundwater (0.6%) 4) Lakes and rivers (0.01%) 5) Atmosphere (0.001%)
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GY 111 Lecture Notes D. Haywick (2008-09) 2 Most people understand that the oceans and ice caps contain most of the planet’s water, but they are usually surprised that groundwater not river/lake water is the 3 rd most important reservoir in the hydrologic cycle. Truth be told, groundwater contains 40x as much water as all the rivers and lakes on the surface of the Earth which is the reason why it is so important to much of the world’s population (including the good old US of A). Anyone that has ever walked in Mobile in the summer knows that the volume of the reservoirs is not fixed (i.e., summer humidity in Mobile is extreme and it sometimes feels like there is more water in our atmosphere than in the oceans). Water is recycled between each of the reservoirs via the processes of: 1) evaporation (water to gas) 2) condensation (gas to liquid; e.g., clouds) 3) runoff (liquid water flowing over the land; e.g., rivers) 4) infiltration liquid water flows into the ground (groundwater) The cartoon above shows the hydrologic cycle budget. A staggering 100 million billion gallons of water a year are cycled through all of the reservoirs (1/1000 th of the total water on the planet!). Note that the majority of evaporation and condensation occurs over the oceans (especially in the
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111-23 - GY 111 Lecture Notes D Haywick(2008-09 1 GY 111...

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