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Section 1
The Water Cycle

In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm, Section 1: The Water Cycle.

Inquiring Further

  1. To calculate the change in volume when water freezes, each student will need:
    • plastic milk jug with a screw-top cap and dimples on the side (small depressions in the plastic)
    • measuring cup (to measure volume)
    • water
    • access to a freezer.
  1. To learn more about volcanic eruptions and the water cycle, visit the following web sites:

    Volcanic Gases, Volcano World
    Describes the gases emitted during a volcanic eruption, their impact on the atmosphere, and the hazards they pose.

    Volcanic Gas, USGS
    Describes the gases released by volcanic eruptions, including water. 

    Summary of the Water Cycle, USGS
    Explains how water is introduced into the atmosphere through volcanic eruptions and is then cycled through the rest of the Earth system.

  2. To learn more about dating water, visit the following web site:

    Tracing and Dating Young Ground Water, USGS
    Reviews the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), tritium (3H), and other chemical and isotopic substances in ground water to date water.

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To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:

The Unusual Properties of Water

Water and Ice Module, EDinformatics
Compares the atomic structures of water and ice using text, color images, and movies.

The Water Cycle

The Hydrologic Cycle, NPS
Describes hydrologic cycle processes. Includes color images of the water cycle.

Natural Processes of Groundwater and Surface water Interaction: The Hydrologic Cycle and Interactions of Ground Water and Surface Water, USGS
Reviews the basics of the water cycle, with a focus on the movement of water between and within ground and surface water reservoirs. Includes several full color illustrations.  

Surface Water

Introduction to the Clean Water Act, EPA
Reviews the Clean Water Act and threats to the nation's surface water reservoirs. Also includes a FAQ section with advice on finding more information.


Groundwater, EPA
Introduces groundwater concepts, including what groundwater is, what an aquifer is, and how water moves underground.

Hydrogeology, International Association of Hydrogeologists
Explains the science of hydrogeology. Links at the bottom of the page provide information and images to review groundwater as a resource, pollution threats to groundwater, and steps that can be taken to protect groundwater supplies.

Ground Water Atlas of the United States, USGS
Click on your region of the map to open a new window that contains links that summarize groundwater resources in the area and information about each of the primary aquifers in that region.

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