Where is the majority of Earth's water found? Where is most freshwater found?

1 Answer
Jul 10, 2018

Water: oceans. Freshwater: glaciers


About 96% of Earth's water is found in the oceans, and it is of course saline water. There is a very small portion of water that is still saline but not found in the oceans. Saltwater lakes and marshes can account for this 0.9% of water on Earth.

A little over two thirds (68%) of freshwater is found in glaciers and icecaps such as in Greenland, the poles, and other glaciers. Another 30% is found in groundwater, which basically means aquifers. The Ogallala Aquifer is a massive one in the Midwestern/Southern US, and, though it's being dried up because of overuse, it's one of the largest aquifers in the world.

Only 1% of freshwater is found in surface water such as lakes, rivers, etc. The Great Lakes in the Northeastern US are a pretty big chunk of this. About 20% of this surface water is found in lakes, while about 69% is found in permafrost and other surface ice.

The rest of surface water is found in rivers, living things, and the atmosphere.

Hope that helps!