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Earth's water is always in movement, and the natural water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth. Water is always changing states between liquid, vapor, and ice, with these processes happening in the blink of an eye and over millions of years.
Note: This section of the Water Science School discusses the Earth's "natural" water cycle without human interference.
• Water Science School HOME • The Water Cycle •
The links below will give you an in-depth explanation of the components of the natural water cycle, as well as to allow you to view and download water-cycle diagrams and illustrations (in over 60 languages!). These links are aimed more at high school students and adults, but we have an extensive set of water-cycle information aimed at younger students and kids, too.
Note: Our information only covers the natural water cycle, which does not take human activities into account. In today's world, humans have a major impact on many components of the water cycle.
Versions for students and kids:
Versions for adults and advanced students:
More topics about the water cycle:
Below are multimedia items associated with the water cycle.