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.

Learn more

The Water Cycle

The Water Cycle

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

Explore
Filter Total Items: 40
Date published: June 9, 2018
Status: Completed

Water, the Universal Solvent

We need to take the statement "Water is the universal solvent" with a grain of salt (pun intended). Of course it cannot dissolve everything, but it does dissolve more substances than any other liquid, so the term fits pretty well. Water's solvent properties affect all life on Earth, so water is universally important to all of us.

Contacts: Ask USGS
Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Completed

Sea Level and Climate

Sea level and climate. If you wondering how they relate to one another all you need to think of is water storage. How does the earth store water during cold periods and how is water stored when the earth warms? If you're curious about the delicate connection the earth has between climate and sea level, don't stop here. Read on!

Contacts: Ask USGS
Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Completed

Facts About Water

Yes, of course the most obvious fact about water is that it is wet, at least in the liquid state. But, there are many more facts about water that make it a most fascinating substance, one that all life on and in the Earth depends on.

Contacts: Ask USGS
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Completed

How Wet is Your State? The Water Area of Each State

What percent of your state do you think is water covered? Which state has the highest percentage of water area? Is the West really "drier" than the rest of the country?

Contacts: Ask USGS
Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Completed

Tsunamis and Tsunami Hazards

You don't hear about tsunamis very often, but when they do strike, they can be huge newsmakers and can have drastic and devastating effects. The occurrence and potential for tsunamis on the coasts of the United States is not out of the question. Read on to learn about tsunamis.

Contacts: Ask USGS
Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Completed

Rainbows (Water and Light)

If you are going to find your pot of gold at the end of a rainbow you need to understand why they exist and how they form. Are rainbows just a visual illusion or are they real physical aspects of nature. We will give you the answers.

Contacts: Ask USGS
Date published: June 8, 2018
Status: Completed

Glaciers: Things to Know

The following topics provide background on some of the scientific issues regarding glaciers.

Contacts: Ask USGS
Date published: June 6, 2018
Status: Completed

The Little Cloud That Could... But Why?

As a child, you heard about "The little engine that could", but what about "The little cloud that could"? You can see in this picture a small, solitary little cloud in an otherwise totally clear sky. What is it about that tiny spot in the sky that allows that cloud to form?

Contacts: Ask USGS
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: June 6, 2018
Status: Completed

Are Raindrops Shaped Like Teardrops?

We all know that raindrops are shaped like teardrops, right? Actually, that is not true. Read on to find out the facts.

Contacts: Ask USGS
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: June 6, 2018
Status: Completed

Raindrops are Different Sizes

You've seen a light mist hanging in the air before. And you've had "full sized" water drops splash you in the face, too. So, raindrops are different sizes, but why? Find out below.

Contacts: Ask USGS
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: June 6, 2018
Status: Completed

Where is Earth's Water?

"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 and on the surface of the Earth in rivers, oceans, ice, plants, and in living organisms. But did you know that water is also inside the Earth? Read on to learn more.

Contacts: Ask USGS
Date published: June 6, 2018
Status: Completed

Lakes and Reservoirs

A lake really is just another component of Earth's surface water. A lake is where surface-water runoff and groundwater seepage have accumulated in a low spot, relative to the surrounding countryside.

Contacts: Ask USGS