Mission 1 - Wayward Water! – Explore the Hydrosphere
Let's recap what we have learned in our investigation.
The "trees" data showed us that some of the water from the soil was being withdrawn by the trees and plants. This water accounts for a relatively small amount of the total water in the pond, but represents an important process we call "transpiration". We contacted our GeoGarage Experiment Division to learn more about how to demonstrate the release of water from trees through this process.
The "mud" section allows us to gather data on the contribution of water from the land below the pond. Because the mud is drying up, no water from the pond is moving into the mud. We learned that some water from the ground below is actually moving into the pond! We cannot expect much water to be leaving the pond via the ground.
We introduced a new term here, water table. Is that a table made out of water? No! Its the level to which groundwater rises up and intersects the land surface. Here our pond is at the same height, or elevation, as the groundwater table, so water flows into the pond from the rocks nearby preventing the pond from drying up completely.
The nearby houses get their water from wells drilled in the soil and rock around the pond. This is our aquifer - a term we will learn more about in Lesson 3 - but for now we see that the water is not directly being removed from the pond itself, but instead from rocks below ground filled with water.
The "pond" itself gives more clues as to where the water may be going. We learn that a short period time has passed since the nanodroplet arrived here - which means the water must have moved quickly. Here we learn that the windy, hot air passing over the pond is causing a high loss of water to the air through a process called evaporation.
After some discussion, what is the best explanation for the loss of water from the pond based on the data we have at hand?
We learned that water, in windy dry and warm conditions, can convert form a liquid to a gas through the process of Evaporation! Evaporation is part of what we call the Hydrologic, or water, cycle. Water can also leave this pond by transpiration, which is where plants convert water to water vapor, and also through infiltration into the underlying mud and rock. But our data shows that here, water is coming into the pond from the ground, and little water is being removed by plants or by people. That means our water droplet has been converted.... into water vapor, a gas!
Before we move on, open the "Resources" tab, and Click "the Knowledge Scanner" document, or fill out one your teacher may have printed for you!
Now we are done at the pond, we will need to take the Terravator high to try and get a fix on the nanodroplet - until the water droplet appears again in liquid for it will be impossible for us to track!
Click "Next Lesson" to take the Terravator up into the sky to search for the nanodroplet.
Knowledge Scanner for Mission 2: Lesson 2
QR: There are no linked rocks, mineral or fossils for this lesson.