Water Science School

Water Basics

"Water, Water, Everywhere...."
You've heard the phrase, and for water, it really is true. Earth's water is (almost) everywhere: above the Earth in the air and clouds, on the surface of the Earth in rivers, oceans, ice, plants, in living organisms, and inside the Earth in the top few miles of the ground. The Water Science School allows you to explore all the basics about water.

All Water Basics Topics

All Water Basics Topics

View a list of all of our science topics about the basics of water.

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The Water Cycle

The Water Cycle

The natural water cycle describes where water is and how it moves around.

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Filter Total Items: 40
Date published: September 16, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Basics Questions & Answers

The Earth is covered in water. We find it in the air, under the ground, in our bodies, and most noticeably on Earth's surface. With so much water around us we might begin to ask all the where, when, and why's about water. 

Date published: July 17, 2019
Status: Completed

The Water Science School -- What We Offer

The U.S. Geological Survey's Water Science School
Where anyone of any age can learn all about water.

Date published: July 7, 2019
Status: Completed

How Much Does a Cloud Weigh?

I don't know anyone who is afraid to walk underneath a cumulus cloud because they are afraid it might fall on them. We don't think of clouds even having weight because they are floating. But, clouds are made up of a physical substance, water, and water is quite heavy, so clouds must have weight. We will explain this "paradox" to you if you read on.

Date published: July 6, 2019
Status: Completed

Rain and Precipitation

Rain and snow are key elements in the Earth's water cycle, which is vital to all life on Earth. Rainfall is the main way that the water in the skies comes down to Earth, where it fills our lakes and rivers, recharges the underground aquifers, and provides drinks to plants and animals.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: July 5, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Science Photo Galleries

Learn about water using pictures

Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&A: Why is water the "universal solvent"?

Learn why water's chemical composition and physical attributes make it such an excellent solvent.

Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&A: Does a little leak in my house really waste water?

Learn how a long-term leak can waste lots of water.

Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&A: Does a little leak in my house really waste water?

Water Questions & Answers
Does a little leak in my house really waste water?

Date published: June 20, 2019
Status: Completed

Water Q&A: How much water falls during a storm?

Learn how calculate how many gallons of rainwater fall during a storm.

Date published: June 8, 2019
Status: Completed

Watersheds and Drainage Basins

When looking at the location of rivers and the amount of streamflow in rivers, the key concept is the river's "watershed". What is a watershed? Easy, if you are standing on ground right now, just look down. You're standing, and everyone is standing, in a watershed.

Date published: June 7, 2019
Status: Completed

How Much Water is There on Earth?

The Earth is a watery place. But just how much water exists on, in, and above our planet? Read on to find out.

Date published: May 23, 2019
Status: Completed

Why is the Ocean Salty?

The oceans cover about 70 percent of the Earth's surface, and that about 97 percent of all water on and in the Earth is saline—there's a lot of salty water on our planet. Find out here how the water in the seas became salty.