Page Content By Kimberly Mullen, CPG
Students will be able to define terms pertaining to groundwater such as permeability, porosity, unconfined aquifer, confined aquifer, drawdown, cone of depression, recharge rate, Darcy’s law, and artesian well. Students will be able to illustrate environmental problems facing groundwater, (such as chemical contamination, point source and nonpoint source contamination, sediment control, and overuse).
Looking at satellite photographs of the planet Earth can illustrate the fact that the majority of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. Earth is known as the “Blue Planet.” Seventy-one percent of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. There also is water beneath the surface of the Earth. Yet, with all of the water present on Earth, water is still a finite source, cycling from one form to another. This cycle, known as the hydrologic cycle, is an important concept to help understand the water found on Earth. In addition to understanding the hydrologic cycle, you must understand the different places that water can be found—primarily above the ground (as surface water) and below the ground (as groundwater). Today, we will be starting to understand water below the ground.
Groundwater is defined as water that is found beneath the water table under Earth’s surface.
Groundwater, makes up about 98 percent of all the usable fresh water on the planet, and it is about 60 times as plentiful as fresh water found in lakes and streams. Because groundwater is not visible (in most cases), it is often overlooked when considering all of the water on Earth, and yet, water beneath the land surface is a valuable resource. Protecting it from contamination and carefully managing its use will ensure its future as an important part of ecosystems and human activity.
Water in the ground travels through pores in soil and rock, in fractures, and through weathered areas of bedrock.
This uses a large Plexiglass groundwater simulator.
Students will typically have many different questions concerning the terms and the scenario. Take time and really go over it with them. By watching the aquifers and seeing what happens with the simulator, students can understand and apply these difficult concepts to the real world. Students can also mark the different features on the simulator using a grease pencil.
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800 551.7379 (614 898.7791 outside the United States)
8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday
fax 614 898.7786
National Ground Water Association
601 Dempsey Rd.
Westerville, OH 43081
(614 898.7791 outside the US)
fax 614 898.7786