Geol 108 Final Exam

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Final Essay Exam GEOL 108 1. Describe the paths of water through the hydrologic cycle. Explain the processes and the energy gains and losses involved in the changes of water between its 3 states. Operationally, we often most concerned with water does when it reaches the solid earth, both on the surface and in the sub-surface. Explain the relationship between the saturated zone, the water table, a ground water well and the cone of depression, all within the sub-surface. The hydrologic cycle can be viewed as a series of storage areas interconnected by various transfer processes, in which there is a ceaseless interchange of moisture in terms of both its geographic location and its physical state. Liquid water on Earth’s surface evaporates to become water vapor in the atmosphere. That vapor then condenses and precipitates, either as liquid water or as ice, back onto the surface. This precipitated water runs off into storage areas and later evaporates into the atmosphere once again. As this is a closed, circular system, we can begin the discussion at any point. It is perhaps clearest to start with the movement of moisture from Earth’s surface into the atmosphere. Zone of saturation, in which all pore spaces in the soil and cracks in the rocks are fully saturated with water. The moisture in the zone is called groundwater; it seeps slowly through the ground following the pull of gravity and guided by rocks structure. The saturated zone is referred to as the water table. The orientation and slope of the water table usually conform roughly to the slope of the land surface above, nearly always approaching closer to the surface in valley bottoms and being more distant from it beneath a ridge or hill. Where the water table intersects Earth’s surface, water flows out. A well dug into the zone of saturation fills with water up to the level of the water table. When water

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