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This picture above how rainwater filters down to the saturated zone.

Groundwater

You have seen water in lakes, rivers, and even your bathtub. But some water hides below the ground. Itís called groundwater!

If you traveled underground deep enough, you would find that the rocks around you are full with water. Thatís deeper than the water table! The water in the rocks is called an aquifer. In dry places, the water table might be very deep, but in moist places it is very shallow. When the water table is higher than the ground, there are streams, rivers, and lakes on the land surface.

Water gets into an aquifer from the surface. Rainwater soaks into the ground and flows down to the water table.

Sometimes pollution gets into groundwater. We need to be careful to protect our water and keep it clean!


Last modified May 5, 2003 by Lisa Gardiner.

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The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, available in our online store, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.

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