Take a good long look at the water in Lac Simon. Now -- can you guess how old it is? The water in Lac Simon may have fallen from the sky as rain just last week, but the water itself has been around pretty much as long as the earth has!
The earth has a limited amount of water. That water keeps going around and around and around and around; in what is call the "Water Cycle". This cycle is made up of a few main parts:
- evaporation (and transpiration): Evaporation is when the sun heats up water in rivers or lakes or the ocean and turns it into vapor or steam. The water vapor or steam leaves the river, lake or ocean and goes into the air.
- condensation: Water vapor in the air gets cold and changes back into liquid, forming clouds. This is called condensation.
- precipitation: Precipitation occurs when so much water has condensed that the air cannot hold it anymore. The clouds get heavy and water falls back to the earth in the form of rain, hail, sleet or snow.
- collection: When water falls back to earth as precipitation, it may fall back in the oceans, lakes or rivers or it may end up on land. When it ends up on land, it will either soak into the earth and become part of the “ground water” that plants and animals use to drink or it may run over the soil and collect in the oceans, lakes or rivers where the cycle starts