Introduction to Groundwater
This unit discusses the parameters such as porosity and permeabililty that affect the viability of groundwater as a resource and how it may be contaminated.

Workshop Presentations

PowerPoint. Click to download the MS Powerpoint file (2.2 Mbytes).

HTML Click to view the presentation in html format. Videos may be viewable depending on browser and operating system.

PDF. Click to view or download the presentation in PDF (2 Mbytes).

Online lecture Click here to view a streaming lecture (~18 minutes).

Classroom Activities

Porosity and Permeability. This acitivity examines porosity and permeability of common earth materials and is important to understanding the nature of aquifers as a water resource. PDF. Word file.

Online Video and Media Resources

Groundwater, Beneath the Surface This animated video explains groundwater and its relationship to the water cycle.

The Groundwater Story This animated music video for kids discusses the importance of groundwater.

Useful Websites

USGS Groundwater Information Pages water.usgs.gov/ogw/ This USGS website contain information about groundwater in the U.S.

USGS Land Subsidence water.usgs.gov/ogw/subsidence.html This USGS website contains information on ground subsidence that is commonly caused by withdrawal of water from aquifers.

National Groundwater Association www.ngwa.org/Pages/default.aspx This is the website for an organization for groundwater professionals.

NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas

Grade 2
ESS2.B: Plate Tectonics and Large-Scale System Interactions. Maps show where things are located. One can map the shapes and kinds of land and water in any area.

Middle School
ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth's Surface Processes
Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land. (MS-ESS2-4)
Water's movements - both on the land and underground - cause weathering and erosion, which change the landÕs surface features and create underground formations. (MS-ESS2-2)
ESS3.A: Natural Resources Humans depend on Earth's land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Minerals, fresh water, and biosphere resources are limited, and many are not renewable or replaceable over human lifetimes. These resources are distributed unevenly around the planet as a result of past geologic processes. (MS-ESS3-1)
ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise. (MS-ESS3-3),(MS-ESS3-4)

Common Scientific Misconceptions

Groundwater primarily exists as vast subterranean rivers, lakes and seas (difficulty of conceiving of water flow through 'solid' rock, as well as older cosmologies, Hollywood movies and familiarity with surface water flow).

In contrast, the idea that groundwater only exists within pores of rock (some underground rivers and lakes really do exist and in many areas are more important than matrix flow!)

Groundwater and spring waters are pure, naturally filtered water systems (filtering emphasized in some texts & common literature, as well as Madison Avenue advertising).

There is no real connection between groundwater and surface water systems.

Groundwater is largely paleo-water from earlier periods in Earth's history (emphasized in many textbooks and focus on aquifers problems where this is true to some extent).

Lakes and rivers contain more freshwater than groundwater systems do.


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