Related topics: water · drinking water · contaminants

Global database for Karst spring discharges

When carbonate rocks weather, karst landscapes are formed. The groundwater reserves in these layers of earth currently supply 10 to 20 percent of the world population with drinking water. So far, however, researchers have ...

As groundwater depletes, arid American West is moving east

Even under modest climate warming scenarios, the continental United States faces a significant loss of groundwater—about 119 million cubic meters, or roughly enough to fill Lake Powell four times or one quarter of Lake ...

Calculating 'run and tumble' behavior of bacteria in groundwater

Bacteria in groundwater move in surprising ways. They can passively ride flowing groundwater, or they can actively move on their own in what scientists call "run and tumble" behavior. However, most numerical models of bacterial ...

Freshwater reserves under the sea

Research at Flinders University is investigating and locating vital freshwater hidden beneath the sea.

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Groundwater is water located beneath the ground surface in soil pore spaces and in the fractures of rock formations. A unit of rock or an unconsolidated deposit is called an aquifer when it can yield a usable quantity of water. The depth at which soil pore spaces or fractures and voids in rock become completely saturated with water is called the water table. Groundwater is recharged from, and eventually flows to, the surface naturally; natural discharge often occurs at springs and seeps, and can form oases or wetlands. Groundwater is also often withdrawn for agricultural, municipal and industrial use by constructing and operating extraction wells. The study of the distribution and movement of groundwater is hydrogeology, also called groundwater hydrology.

Typically, groundwater is thought of as liquid water flowing through shallow aquifers, but technically it can also include soil moisture, permafrost (frozen soil), immobile water in very low permeability bedrock, and deep geothermal or oil formation water. Groundwater is hypothesized to provide lubrication that can possibly influence the movement of faults. It is likely that much of the Earth's subsurface contains some water, which may be mixed with other fluids in some instances. Groundwater may not be confined only to the Earth. The formation of some of the landforms observed on Mars may have been influenced by groundwater. There is also evidence that liquid water may also exist in the subsurface of Jupiter's moon Europa.

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