About 96.5% of the Earth's water is saltwater found in oceans, seas, and bays.
Photograph by Galyna Andrushko, Shutterstock
Water never goes away, it just moves and changes from a liquid, to vapor, to ice.
Photograph by Mac99, iStockphoto
Ice and glaciers make up about 68% of the Earth's freshwater. Another 30% is below ground.
Photograph by Groveb, iStockphoto
The water you're drinking might have come out of a dinosaur's nose! Before you spit it out you should know water has been everywhere. Water travels. The water you drink could have come from a volcano, then filtered through a giant sequoia, rode the rapids, evaporated into the atmosphere, turned into grapefruit-sized hail, plummeted to the earth, disappeared into a stream, then circled the world again and again until it ended up in your glass. That is the water cycle.
The water cycle is the constant movement of water throughout the Earth. The Earth's water supply never changes it just travels. The Earth always has 332.5 million cubic miles (mi3) (1,386 million cubic kilometers (km3)) of water.
Besides oceans, lakes and rivers, the Earth stores and transports water in many ways. Water moves through condensation, evaporation, and precipitation (rain and snow). It's stored in ice, snow, and underground (groundwater). Even magma contains water, so volcanic eruptions bring water from deep in the earth to the surface. The atmosphere also transports water molecules. A water molecule hangs out in the air for about 10 days before condensing and becoming rain, hail, or maybe the morning dew. Then it continues on its trip around the world.
The water cycle – storing and transporting water for billions of years!
One way water molecules move around is through evaporation from plants. It's called transpiration. Think of it as a plant's version of sweating. Water moves through a plant from the root and eventually evaporates from tiny pores in the leaves. In one year, a large oak tree can "transpire" 40,000 gallons (151,000 liters) of water!
• Water never goes away it just moves and changes from a liquid, to vapor, to ice.
• About 96.5% of the Earth's water is saltwater found in oceans, seas, and bays.
• Ice and glaciers make up about 68% of the Earth's freshwater. Another 30% is below ground.
The Water Cycle for Kids (USGS Water School): http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycle-kids.html
The Water Cycle (USGS): http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclehi.html