What is an aquifer?

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An aquifer refers to an underground layer of porous and permeable rock and other materials. This layer beneath the Earth’s surface allows groundwater to pass through various pores and small passages that are created by so-called unconsolidated materials.  Groundwater that is present in aquifers exist because of the porous and permeable nature of the rocks, sand, soil, and other materials in this particular layer. The water present in this layer may pass through and move to other areas but only at a slow pace over a long period of time.  This is mainly because of the limitation imposed by various underground materials like rocks, stones, and sand for example.

The amount of groundwater that is present in aquifers may vary depending on the climate or season.  Rainy season for example will dump more water underground and this will increase the amount of water that is present in the underground layer of the Earth called aquifers.  Nearby rivers and lakes are also sources of groundwater presence in aquifer areas.  The closer these bodies of water are, the higher will be the concentration or amount of water in aquifers.  Replenishment of the water content in aquifers is also dependent on nearby bodies of water like rivers.  During summer and dry seasons for example, some rivers and lakes may be dried out and this will also result to the drying out of some areas in aquifers.

Aquifers are typically protected areas in many parts of the world because they provide a great source of extractable and potable water.  For remote areas, wells may also be created into aquifers to have a water source.  In the creation of wells, people just basically need to dig deep enough to get to the aquifer layer where groundwater is present.  In undeveloped areas or remote areas for example, the water that is sourced from wells in aquifers is considered very healthy and rich in minerals.  Some groundwater from aquifers meanwhile may be contaminated with unwanted minerals and chemicals if the area is found near man-made structures like manufacturing plants and good processing facilities.

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