Concept

Hydrosphere

Summary
The hydrosphere () is the combined mass of water found on, under, and above the surface of a planet, minor planet, or natural satellite. Although Earth's hydrosphere has been around for about 4 billion years, it continues to change in shape. This is caused by seafloor spreading and continental drift, which rearranges the land and ocean. It has been estimated that there are 1.386 billion cubic kilometres (333 million cubic miles) of water on Earth. This includes water in gaseous, liquid and frozen forms as soil moisture, groundwater and permafrost in the Earth's crust (to a depth of 2 km); oceans and seas, lakes, rivers and streams, wetlands, glaciers, ice and snow cover on Earth's surface; vapour, droplets and crystals in the air; and part of living plants, animals and unicellular organisms of the biosphere. Saltwater accounts for 97.5% of this amount, whereas fresh water accounts for only 2.5%. Of this fresh water, 68.9% is in the form of ice and permanent snow cover in the Arctic,
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