Groundwater

Apr 11, 2019

Environmental Enlightenment #309

Groundwater is vital for our existence. The information below has been extracted from a publication by the United States Geological Survey and enriched with images borrowed or procured on the web.

The ground-water environment is hidden from view. From observations on the land surface, we form an impression of a “solid” Earth. We do not see the myriad openings that exist between the grains of sand and silt, between particles of clay, or even along the fractures in granite.

It is estimated that the total volume of subsurface openings (which are occupied mainly by water, gas, and petroleum) is on the order of 125,000 cubic miles beneath the United States alone. If we visualize these openings as forming a continuous cave beneath the entire surface of the United states, its height would be about 186 feet.

Most subsurface openings contain water, and the importance of this water to mankind can be readily demonstrated by comparing its volume with the volumes of water in other parts of the Earth’s surface.
Limiting our discussion to freshwater only, we find:

84.96% in ice sheets and glaciers

14.1% in ground water

0.55% in lakes and reservoirs
0.3% in soil moisture
0.05% in atmospheric vapors, and
0.04% in rivers.

Many people are surprised to learn that only 14% of all fresh water is groundwater.

If we eliminate ice sheets and glaciers, 94% of all surface and subsurface freshwater is groundwater.

Enjoy the spring.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment—Probabilities and Possibilities

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment—Probabilities and Possibilities

Environmental Enlightenment #245Probability is the extent to which something is probable; the likelihood of something happening or being the case. (Google) Probability is a scale of certainty: How certain is it that an undeveloped piece of land will be contaminated...

Environmental Base Line

Environmental Base Line

Environmental Enlightenment #175 In dealing with physical matters, absolutes do not exist. One establishes value only by comparison. A “base line” is any precisely determined line forming a side of a triangle so that when the adjacent angles are measured, the relative...

Basins

Basins

Environmental Enlightenment #313 If you dip into environmental reports, you will likely run into the term basin.   The essential concept of basin is water container (derives from Latin bacinus, bacca) A natural depression on the earth's surface, typically containing...