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Water Cycle Components

Earth's water is always in motion, 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.

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Water Cycle Diagrams

Learn more about where water is on Earth and how it moves using one of the USGS water cycle diagrams. We offer downloadable and interactive versions of the water cycle diagram for elementary students and beyond. Our diagrams are also available in multiple languages. Explore our diagrams below.
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Water Cycle Diagrams

Learn more about where water is on Earth and how it moves using one of the USGS water cycle diagrams. We offer downloadable and interactive versions of the water cycle diagram for elementary students and beyond. Our diagrams are also available in multiple languages. Explore our diagrams below.
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The Water Cycle

The water cycle describes where water is on Earth and how it moves. Human water use, land use, and climate change all impact the water cycle. By understanding these impacts, we can work toward using water sustainably.
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The Water Cycle

The water cycle describes where water is on Earth and how it moves. Human water use, land use, and climate change all impact the water cycle. By understanding these impacts, we can work toward using water sustainably.
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Downloadable Products

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) offers you the most comprehensive information about the natural water cycle anywhere, and, our information is available in many languages. Here you can download our water cycle diagrams as well as other educational products to assist you in the classroom or on your own learning adventure!
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Downloadable Products

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) offers you the most comprehensive information about the natural water cycle anywhere, and, our information is available in many languages. Here you can download our water cycle diagrams as well as other educational products to assist you in the classroom or on your own learning adventure!
Learn More

Мектептерге арналған су айналымы, The Water Cycle for Schools, Kazakh

Жер шарындағы су әрдайым қозғалыста болады. Гидрологиялық цикл ретінде белгілі табиғи су айналымы судың Жер бетіндегі және астындағы үздіксіз қозғалысын сипаттайды. Табиғатта су сұйық, мұз және бу күйінде кездеседі. Ол үнемі бір күйден екінші күйге ауысып отырады және бұл үдеріс миллиондаған жылдар бойы жүріп келеді.
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Мектептерге арналған су айналымы, The Water Cycle for Schools, Kazakh

Жер шарындағы су әрдайым қозғалыста болады. Гидрологиялық цикл ретінде белгілі табиғи су айналымы судың Жер бетіндегі және астындағы үздіксіз қозғалысын сипаттайды. Табиғатта су сұйық, мұз және бу күйінде кездеседі. Ол үнемі бір күйден екінші күйге ауысып отырады және бұл үдеріс миллиондаған жылдар бойы жүріп келеді.
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The Sun and the Water Cycle

Who's the boss? The real boss of the water cycle doesn't even live here on Earth. The sun is what makes the water cycle work. The sun provides what almost everything on Earth needs to go—energy, or heat.
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The Sun and the Water Cycle

Who's the boss? The real boss of the water cycle doesn't even live here on Earth. The sun is what makes the water cycle work. The sun provides what almost everything on Earth needs to go—energy, or heat.
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El Ciclo del Agua - The Water Cycle, Spanish

El ciclo del agua describe dónde se encuentra el agua en la Tierra y cómo se mueve. El uso del agua por parte de los humanos, el uso de la tierra y el cambio climático tienen un impacto en el ciclo del agua. Al comprender estos impactos, podemos trabajar hacia un uso del agua de manera sostenible.
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El Ciclo del Agua - The Water Cycle, Spanish

El ciclo del agua describe dónde se encuentra el agua en la Tierra y cómo se mueve. El uso del agua por parte de los humanos, el uso de la tierra y el cambio climático tienen un impacto en el ciclo del agua. Al comprender estos impactos, podemos trabajar hacia un uso del agua de manera sostenible.
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Dystrybucja wody na Ziemi, Earth's Water Distribution, Polish

Dystrybucja wody na Ziemi
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The Water Science School -- What We Offer

The U.S. Geological Survey's Water Science SchoolWhere anyone of any age can learn all about water.
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The Water Science School -- What We Offer

The U.S. Geological Survey's Water Science SchoolWhere anyone of any age can learn all about water.
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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.
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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.
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Water Science Photo Galleries

Learn about water using pictures
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Water Science Photo Galleries

Learn about water using pictures
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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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The Atmosphere and the Water Cycle

The atmosphere is the superhighway in the sky that moves water everywhere over the Earth. Water at the Earth's surface evaporates into water vapor which rises up into the sky to become part of a cloud which will float off with the winds, eventually releasing water back to Earth as precipitation. Note: This section of the Water Science School discusses the Earth's "natural" water cycle without...
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The Atmosphere and the Water Cycle

The atmosphere is the superhighway in the sky that moves water everywhere over the Earth. Water at the Earth's surface evaporates into water vapor which rises up into the sky to become part of a cloud which will float off with the winds, eventually releasing water back to Earth as precipitation. Note: This section of the Water Science School discusses the Earth's "natural" water cycle without...
Learn More