The water cycle depicts water moving through the atmosphere and on and under the surface of the earth. Another term for the water cycle is hydrologic cycle. Water moves
- downward as precipitation, into the soil and through the unsaturated zone as infiltration, and through the saturated zone to shallow and deep aquifers as recharge;
- laterally on the surface as surface runoff to lakes, wetlands, streams, and rivers and underground as groundwater flow;
- upward as evapotranspiration from lakes, wetlands, streams, and rivers, plants, soil, and groundwater, and as groundwater discharge to surface waters; and
- laterally aloft as atmospheric moisture, where condensation forms clouds.
Arrows depict movements in the water (hydrologic) cycle.
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