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ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY

ENCYCLOPEDIC ENTRY

hydrosphere

hydrosphere

A hydrosphere is the total amount of water on a planet. The hydrosphere includes water that is on the surface of the planet, underground, and in the air.

Grades

3 - 12+

Subjects

Chemistry, Earth Science, Geography, Physical Geography

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Morgan Stanley

A hydrosphere is the total amount of water on a planet. The hydrosphere includes water that is on the surface of the planet, underground, and in the air. A planet's hydrosphere can be liquid, vapor, or ice.

On Earth, liquid water exists on the surface in the form of oceans, lakes and rivers. It also exists below ground—as groundwater, in wells and aquifers. Water vapor is most visible as clouds and fog.

The frozen part of Earth's hydrosphere is made of ice: glaciers, ice caps and icebergs. The frozen part of the hydrosphere has its own name, the cryosphere.

Water moves through the hydrosphere in a cycle. Water collects in clouds, then falls to Earth in the form of rain or snow. This water collects in rivers, lakes and oceans. Then it evaporates into the atmosphere to start the cycle all over again. This is called the water cycle.

Fast Fact

Hydrosphere in Space
Some scientists believe a hydrosphere exists on Europa, a moon of Jupiter, that consists of a frozen outer layer and a giant, liquid ocean underneath it.

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Writers
Kim Rutledge
Melissa McDaniel
Santani Teng
Hilary Hall
Tara Ramroop
Erin Sprout
Jeff Hunt
Diane Boudreau
Hilary Costa
Illustrators
Mary Crooks, National Geographic Society
Tim Gunther
Editors
Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing, Emdash Editing
Kara West
Educator Reviewer
Nancy Wynne
Producer
National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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