Related topics: water · drinking water · contaminants

Satellite data shows sustained severe drought in Europe

Europe has been experiencing a severe drought for years. Across the continent, groundwater levels have been consistently low since 2018, even if extreme weather events with flooding temporarily give a different picture. The ...

Road salt found to impact groundwater year-round

For many parts of the United States, winter weather can impact road conditions. To reduce hazardous conditions caused by snow and ice, many counties, municipalities, homeowners, and others use deicers. Salt is the most common ...

Tracing the flow of water with eDNA

Where does the water come from that provides drinking water to people in a particular region? What feeds these sources and how long does it take for groundwater to make its way back up to the surface? This hydrological cycle ...

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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 Groundwater is also often withdrawn for agricultural, municipal and industrial use by constructing and operating extraction wells.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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