Hydrosphere – Natural sciences – Geology

We explain the hydrosphere and how it is distributed on planet Earth. Also, some features of this system.

What is the hydrosphere?

In Earth Sciences, the hydrosphere is known as the system of water deposits and circulations on the planet’s solid surface, including oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, groundwater, ice, and snow.

Earth is the only planet in the Solar System with deposits of liquid water, making it ideal for life as we know it. Water covers approximately two-thirds of the surface of the terrestrial planet, for a total of more or less 1400 trillion liters, distributed in various steps as follows:

  • Oceans. About 1,370,323,000 km3 equivalent to 93.96%
  • groundwater. From 60,000,000 to 4,000,000 km3 for 4.12%
  • Inland waters and glaciers. 24,000,000 km3 for 1.65%
  • Reservoirs and lakes. from 280,000 to 5,000 km3 for 0.019%
  • Soil moisture. 85,000 km3 for 0.006%
  • Atmospheric humidity. 14,000 km3 for 0.001%
  • River water. 1,200 km3 for 0.0001%

Its renewal capacity and rate of change will vary depending on where the water is. In its gaseous form, it is wholly renewed about 34 times a year, while it ultimately leaves the atmosphere in 10 days. In contrast, ocean water takes about 3,700 years to renew itself completely.

The hydrosphere constantly moves and exchanges fluids as the hydric cycle, or water cycle is fulfilled. This liquid evaporates, precipitates, and freezes cyclically, depending on the pressure and temperature conditions of the different regions. This cycle is essential for life on the planet: precipitation moistens the soil and feeds mountain rivers, while evaporation keeps the air and removes excess water, perpetuating the cycle.

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