Skip to Main Content
Book Chapter

Whole Earth geohydrologic cycle, from the clouds to the core: The distribution of water in the dynamic Earth system

By
Robert J. Bodnar
Robert J. Bodnar
Fluids Research Laboratory, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Tristan Azbej
Tristan Azbej
Fluids Research Laboratory, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Stephen P. Becker
Stephen P. Becker
Fluids Research Laboratory, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Claudia Cannatelli
Claudia Cannatelli
Fluids Research Laboratory, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
András Fall
András Fall
Fluids Research Laboratory, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Matthew J. Severs
Matthew J. Severs
Fluids Research Laboratory, Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Published:
September 01, 2013

The whole Earth geohydrologic cycle describes the occurrence and movement of water from the clouds to the core. Reservoirs that comprise the conventional hydrologic cycle define the exosphere, whereas those reservoirs that are part of the solid Earth represent the geosphere. Exosphere reservoirs thus include the atmosphere, the oceans, surface water, glaciers and polar ice, the biosphere, and groundwater. Continental crust, oceanic crust, upper mantle, transition zone, lower mantle and the core make up the geosphere. The exosphere and geosphere are linked through the active plate tectonic processes of subduction and volcanism.

While the storage capacities of reservoirs in the geosphere have been reasonably well constrained by experimental and observational studies, much uncertainty exists concerning the actual amount of water held in the geosphere. Assuming that the amount of water in the upper mantle, transition zone, and lower mantle represents only 10%, 10%, and 50% of their storage capacities, respectively, the total amount of water in the Earth's mantle (1.2 × 1021 kg) is comparable to the amount of water held in the world's oceans (1.37 × 1021 kg).

Fluxes between reservoirs in the geohydrologic cycle vary by ~7 orders of magnitude, and range from 4.25 × 1017 kg/yr between the oceans and atmosphere, to 5 × 1010 kg/yr between the lower mantle and transition zone. Residence times for water in the various reservoirs of the geohydrologic cycle also show wide variation, and range from 2.6 × 10-2 yr (~10 days) for water in the atmosphere, to 6.6 × 109 yr for water in the transition zone.

You do not currently have access to this article.

Figures & Tables

Contents

GSA Special Papers

The Web of Geological Sciences: Advances, Impacts, and Interactions

Marion E. Bickford
Marion E. Bickford
Department of Earth Sciences, 204 Heroy Geology Laboratory, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244-1070, USA
Search for other works by this author on:
Geological Society of America
Volume
500
ISBN print:
9780813725000
Publication date:
September 01, 2013

References

Related

Citing Books via

Related Articles
Close Modal
This Feature Is Available To Subscribers Only

Sign In or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal