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Geosciences LibreTexts

11: Hydrology

  • Page ID
    2591
  • This section focuses on hydrology. It goes without saying how important water is to all life on the planet. We simply cannot survive without it. Water is what sets the Earth apart from the other planets in our solar system. While the oceans cover roughly 74% of the Earth’s surface and are the driving force behind the hydrologic cycle, it is the availability of freshwater that is of most concern today.

    • 11.1: Why It Matters
      This section focuses on hydrology. It goes without saying how important water is to all life on the planet. We simply cannot survive without it. Water is what sets the Earth apart from the other planets in our solar system. While the oceans cover roughly 74% of the Earth’s surface and are the driving force behind the hydrologic cycle, it is the availability of freshwater that is of most concern today.
    • 11.2: Water Cycle
    • 11.3: The Water Cycle
      Water is simply two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together. Despite its simplicity, water has remarkable properties. Water expands when it freezes, has high surface tension (because of the polar nature of the molecules, they tend to stick together), and others. Without water, life might not be able to exist on Earth and it certainly would not have the tremendous complexity and diversity that we see.
    • 11.4: Streams
    • 11.5: Water Erosion and Deposition
      Streams—any running water from a rivulet to a raging river—complete the hydrologic cycle by returning precipitation that falls on land to the oceans (figure 1). Some of this water moves over the surface and some moves through the ground as groundwater. Flowing water does the work of both erosion and deposition.
    • 11.6: Streams
    • 11.7: Groundwater
    • 11.8: Groundwater
    • 11.9: Back to Basics on Groundwater
    • 11.10: Aquifers
    • 11.11: Wells
    • 11.12: Aquifers
    • 11.13: Karst Topography, Geysers, and Springs
    • 11.14: Karst Topography
      Throughout the world karst landscapes vary from rolling hills dotted with sinkholes, as found in portions of the central United States, to jagged hills and pinnacle karst found in the tropics. The development of all karst landforms requires the presence of rock which is capable of being dissolved by surface water or ground water. The term karst describes a distinctive topography that indicates dissolution (also called chemical solution) of underlying soluble rocks by surface water or ground wat
    • 11.15: Geysers, Fumaroles, and Hot Springs
    • 11.16: Springs
    • 11.17: Putting It Together

    Thumbnail:The Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, a few miles below Glen Canyon Dam. Image used with permission (CC BY-SA 3.0 Paul Hermans).

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