Water and other geofluids play an important role in the geochemical and rheological evolution of the Earth and other bodies in the solar system. These fluids are responsible for the formation of hydrothermal mineral deposits, affect eruption behavior in volcanic systems and the geophysical properties of the mantle, and significantly affect the way in which rocks deform and fracture. Water is required for life to develop and survive, and the search for life beyond Earth defaults to a search for water in the solar system. In this inaugural issue of Elements, current knowledge concerning the distribution and role of water in diverse geological processes and environments is considered.

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