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Science

Our research provides scientific knowledge that engineers, planners and resource managers can use to make informed water-resources decisions. Learn more about our past and ongoing research under each of the science themes below. 

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Water Availability

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Water Quality

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Biology and Ecosystems

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Floods and Droughts

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Climate Change

FAQs

What is the Earth's "water cycle?"

The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water as it makes a circuit from the oceans to the atmosphere to the Earth and on again.Most of Earth's water is in the oceans. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it evaporates as vapor into the air. Rising vapor cools and condenses into clouds. Cloud particles grow and...

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What is the Earth's "water cycle?"

The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water as it makes a circuit from the oceans to the atmosphere to the Earth and on again.Most of Earth's water is in the oceans. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it evaporates as vapor into the air. Rising vapor cools and condenses into clouds. Cloud particles grow and...

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How much of the Earth's water is stored in glaciers?

About 2.1% of all of Earth's water is frozen in glaciers.97.2% is in the oceans and inland seas2.1% is in glaciers0.6% is in groundwater and soil moistureless than 1% is in the atmosphereless than 1% is in lakes and riversless than 1% is in all living plants and animals.About three-quarters of Earth's freshwater is stored in glaciers. Therefore, glacier ice is the second largest reservoir of water...

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How much of the Earth's water is stored in glaciers?

About 2.1% of all of Earth's water is frozen in glaciers.97.2% is in the oceans and inland seas2.1% is in glaciers0.6% is in groundwater and soil moistureless than 1% is in the atmosphereless than 1% is in lakes and riversless than 1% is in all living plants and animals.About three-quarters of Earth's freshwater is stored in glaciers. Therefore, glacier ice is the second largest reservoir of water...

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How important is groundwater?

Groundwater, which is in aquifers below the surface of the Earth, is one of the Nation's most important natural resources. Groundwater is the source of about 37 percent of the water that county and city water departments supply to households and businesses (public supply). It provides drinking water for more than 90 percent of the rural population who do not get their water delivered to them from...

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How important is groundwater?

Groundwater, which is in aquifers below the surface of the Earth, is one of the Nation's most important natural resources. Groundwater is the source of about 37 percent of the water that county and city water departments supply to households and businesses (public supply). It provides drinking water for more than 90 percent of the rural population who do not get their water delivered to them from...

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Education

The Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater

The International Continental Scientific Drilling Program and the U.S. Geological Survey drilled a 1,766-m-deep test hole near the center of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure in 2005 and 2006. Learn more here.

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The Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater

The International Continental Scientific Drilling Program and the U.S. Geological Survey drilled a 1,766-m-deep test hole near the center of the Chesapeake Bay impact structure in 2005 and 2006. Learn more here.

Learn More