What is the water cycle?

1 Answer
Jan 6, 2016

The water cycle describes the movement of water on earth.


The water cycle describes the movement of water on earth. This movement can occur on the surface of the planet, below the surface of the earth, and in the atmosphere. The water cycle includes water in many forms (rain, ice, water vapor, etc.). The water cycle is always moving, although some changes occur quickly other changes may take millions of years.


The water cycle describes changes as water moves from one reservoir (such as the ocean, a lake, or an aquifer) to another. This cycle is powered by the sun, which provides needed energy.

Water evaporates from the oceans, freshwater sources, soils, and etc and absorbs energy. It releases energy during the process of condensation and precipitation. When You can watch a short animation of a water drop moving through the water cycle here.

The USGS has an excellent interactive site on the water cycle that can be found here.

See this same question answered in Earth Sciences and check out these related questions on phase changes and the water cycle and how human activities affect the water cycle.