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Water: Home

This guide contains information on the study of water in the world.

Key Terms

water cycle - the movement of water from the air to and below the Earth's surface and back into the air

evaporation - water changing into vapour and rising into the air

condensation - water vapour changing back into liquid

precipitation - water falling toward the Earth's surface in the form of rain, drizzle, hail, sleet, or snow

transpiration - evaporation of water through the leaves of plants

infiltration (also called percolation) - the entrance or flow of water into the soil, sediment or rocks of the Earth's surface

glacier - a large mass of ice formed on land by the compacting and recrystallisation of snow; glaciers survive from year to year, and creep downslope or outward due to the stress of their own weight

groundwater - water under ground, such as in wells, springs and aquifers

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Introduction

Nearly three-fourths of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Perhaps the most important liquid in the world, water is usually easy to get from rain, springs, wells, streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. It fills the vast ocean beds. As vapour, water is also present in the air, where it often condenses into clouds. The bodies of most living things contain a large proportion of water.

Earth’s water has a profound effect on where and how people live.  Although all water is important, it is fresh water that is needed to sustain life.

Encyclopedia Britannica Inc, 2015

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