Related topics: water · drinking water · contaminants

Satellite study finds major shifts in global freshwater

A new global, satellite-based study of Earth's freshwater distribution found that Earth's wet areas are getting wetter, while dry areas are getting drier. The data suggest that this pattern is due to a variety of factors, ...

Research team releases new global groundwater maps

NASA researchers have developed new satellite-based, weekly global maps of soil moisture and groundwater wetness conditions and one to three-month U.S. forecasts of each product. While maps of current dry/wet conditions for ...

Hidden source of carbon found at the Arctic coast

A previously unknown significant source of carbon just discovered in the Arctic has scientists marveling at a once overlooked contributor to local coastal ecosystems—and concerned about what it may mean in an era of climate ...

New evidence of deep groundwater on Mars

In mid-2018, researchers supported by the Italian Space Agency detected the presence of a deep-water lake on Mars under its south polar ice caps. Now, researchers at the USC Arid Climate and Water Research Center (AWARE) ...

The state, the drought and El Nino—a complicated relationship

Just last year, researchers were saying there was no end in sight for California's recent drought. During the past four years—the driest the state has been in a half-century— reservoirs and lake levels plummeted, leaves ...

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Groundwater

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 Groundwater is also often withdrawn for agricultural, municipal and industrial use by constructing and operating extraction wells.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