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Types of Surface Water

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Surface Water Questions & Answers

Our planet is covered in water. We see it in our oceans and on land we see it in our lakes and rivers. The vast amount of water on the Earth's surface is in the oceans, and only a relatively small amount exists as fresh surface water on land. Yet, it is vitally important to all life on Earth. Here at the Water Science School we have the answers to your questions about surface water.
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Surface Water Questions & Answers

Our planet is covered in water. We see it in our oceans and on land we see it in our lakes and rivers. The vast amount of water on the Earth's surface is in the oceans, and only a relatively small amount exists as fresh surface water on land. Yet, it is vitally important to all life on Earth. Here at the Water Science School we have the answers to your questions about surface water.
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Water Q&A: Why are wetlands and aquatic habitats important?

Learn more about wetlands, which are transitional areas between permanently flooded areas and well-drained uplands, and one of the most productive habitats on earth.
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Water Q&A: Why are wetlands and aquatic habitats important?

Learn more about wetlands, which are transitional areas between permanently flooded areas and well-drained uplands, and one of the most productive habitats on earth.
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Snowmelt Runoff and the Water Cycle

Perhaps you've never seen snow. Or, perhaps you built a snowman this very afternoon and perhaps you saw your snowman begin to melt. Regardless of your experience with snow and associated snowmelt, runoff from snowmelt is a major component of the global movement of water, possibly even if you live where it never snows. Note: This section of the Water Science School discusses the Earth's "natural"...
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Snowmelt Runoff and the Water Cycle

Perhaps you've never seen snow. Or, perhaps you built a snowman this very afternoon and perhaps you saw your snowman begin to melt. Regardless of your experience with snow and associated snowmelt, runoff from snowmelt is a major component of the global movement of water, possibly even if you live where it never snows. Note: This section of the Water Science School discusses the Earth's "natural"...
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Ice, Snow, and Glaciers and the Water Cycle

Ice and glaciers are part of the water cycle, even though the water in them moves very slowly. Ice caps influence the weather, too. The color white reflects sunlight (heat) more than darker colors, and as ice is so white, sunlight is reflected back out to the sky, which helps to create weather patterns. Read on to learn how glaciers and ice caps are part of the water cycle. Note: This section of...
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Ice, Snow, and Glaciers and the Water Cycle

Ice and glaciers are part of the water cycle, even though the water in them moves very slowly. Ice caps influence the weather, too. The color white reflects sunlight (heat) more than darker colors, and as ice is so white, sunlight is reflected back out to the sky, which helps to create weather patterns. Read on to learn how glaciers and ice caps are part of the water cycle. Note: This section of...
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Surface Water Photo Gallery

Learn about surface water using pictures.
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Surface Water Photo Gallery

Learn about surface water using pictures.
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The Water Cycle

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) offers you the most comprehensive information about the natural water cycle anywhere. We've developed Web pages aimed at both younger students and kids and at adults and advanced students, so choose your path below and begin learning.
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The Water Cycle

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) offers you the most comprehensive information about the natural water cycle anywhere. We've developed Web pages aimed at both younger students and kids and at adults and advanced students, so choose your path below and begin learning.
Learn More

Runoff: Surface and Overland Water Runoff

When rain falls onto the landscape, it doesn't just sit there and wait to be evaporated by the sun or lapped up by the local wildlife—it begins to move (due to gravity). Some of it seeps into the ground to refresh groundwater, but most of it flows down gradient as surface runoff. Runoff is an intricate part of the natural water cycle.
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Runoff: Surface and Overland Water Runoff

When rain falls onto the landscape, it doesn't just sit there and wait to be evaporated by the sun or lapped up by the local wildlife—it begins to move (due to gravity). Some of it seeps into the ground to refresh groundwater, but most of it flows down gradient as surface runoff. Runoff is an intricate part of the natural water cycle.
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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.
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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.
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Rivers, Streams, and Creeks

Rivers? Streams? Creeks? These are all names for water flowing on the Earth's surface. Whatever you call them and no matter how large they are, they are invaluable for all life on Earth and are important components of the Earth's water cycle.
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Rivers, Streams, and Creeks

Rivers? Streams? Creeks? These are all names for water flowing on the Earth's surface. Whatever you call them and no matter how large they are, they are invaluable for all life on Earth and are important components of the Earth's water cycle.
Learn More