Water is the most abundant substance on the Earth’s surface. About 1.4 trillion cubic kilometers of water in liquid and frozen form make up the oceans, lakes, streams, glaciers, and groundwater found there. It is this enormous volume of water, in its various manifestations, that forms the discontinuous layer, which encloses much of the earth’s surface, known as the hydrosphere .

What is the hydrosphere?

It is a large body of water that is part of our planet and that is covering three quarters of the earth. It is the base and foundation for all living beings that inhabit the planet.

The hydrosphere is the total amount of water that exists on earth and this includes the water that is found on the surface of the planet, either underground or in the air and can be liquid, vapor or ice.

  • Hydrosphere characteristics
  • How the hydrosphere was formed
  • Composition
  • Distribution
  • Properties
  • Function of the hydrosphere
  • Movements
  • The movements of the sea and the movements of continental waters
  • Importance of the hydrosphere
  • Contamination

Hydrosphere characteristics

The main characteristics of the hydrosphere are the following:

  • It is the layer that surrounds the earth .
  • The water inside it circulates continuously changing its physical state.
  • It needs the sun to be able to make changes in the state of the water.
  • The salinity of the seas is 35 gr / l.
  • Its temperature can vary depending on latitude and depth.
  • Its density depends on the salinity.
  • The gases found in water are the same as those found in air.

How the hydrosphere was formed

The hydrosphere was formed due to the condensation and solidification of the water vapor that were in the primitive atmosphere , due to the high temperatures that caused the water to be in the form of vapor. It was formed approximately 4.6 billion years ago.


The hydrosphere is made up of all the waters on earth including:

  • Liquid water , such as those in oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, streams, and groundwater.
  • State water solid in Antarctica and the Arctic, and glaciers.
  • Water in a gaseous state , found in the atmosphere, such as water vapor.

The greatest source of water on the planet is the sea, which constitutes all salty waters and at the same time is the largest source of water vapor . In the sea exist least 77 elements important as the sodium and chlorine, magnesium and bromine being exploited commercially in the seawater .

Although not properly from seawater, but under it, from the seabed of the central Pacific, important minerals such as nickel, copper, cobalt , zinc, chromium, uranium, tungsten and lead have been found.


As we mentioned earlier, the greatest amount of water is located in the oceans and seas . Much of the water is sweet, it is in the form of ice and is also in the waters underground . The water in rivers and that found in the atmosphere is much less than the rest of the water on the planet. There is a distribution for the hydrosphere, and this is:

  • Ocean waters
  • Seas
  • Continental waters
  • Groundwater or groundwater
  • Lentic or lake waters
  • Running or lotic waters


The molecule that makes up water is made up of two atoms of the chemical element known as Hydrogen , which are linked to the element Oxygen . The chemical formula for water is H2O . The way atoms join, or create the structure of the molecule, causes water to have fundamental properties for the development of life on Earth.

Function of the hydrosphere

The hydrosphere fulfills the following functions:

  • It regulates the planet’s temperature by transporting energy through sensible heat and latent heat .
  • It is responsible for the hydrological cycle of the planet.
  • Produces the evaporation of water through the sun’s rays.
  • It supplies water necessary for life.
  • It allows life to develop on the planet.


We know that the hydrosphere is the liquid layer that surrounds our planet and covers almost three-quarters of its surface. These masses of water are in constant motion and are related to the rotational and translational movement of the planet and the energy of the sun .

The main movement of the hydrosphere is the hydrological cycle which consists of three different aspects:  evaporation , condensation and precipitation . It shows how the water is in constant motion thanks to the sun and the force of gravity. Evaporation will depend on the amount of energy supplied by the sun and depends on atmospheric pressure , temperature and air currents.  Condensation occurs when cools the air which is filled with water vapor. Precipitation is the fall of water that comes from condensed steamin the clouds, and that falls on seas and continents, due to the force of gravity .

The movements of the sea and the movements of continental waters

Continental waters are a very important part of the hydrological cycle because they will always reach the sea and for this reason they are in constant movement . The movements of the sea are always constant and never stop. Two important movements occur in the sea, one is the one that moves marine waters to other places, which are ripples that cannot displace large amounts of water, and then we have the tides and waves. Tides are changes in water levels caused by the attraction of the moon and the sun , and waves are ripples produced by the wind .

Importance of the hydrosphere

Water is the source of life and without it it would be practically impossible to live. From protecting our environment to allowing humans and animals to survive, it plays a huge role in the cycle of life . Another important aspect of the hydrosphere is the water cycle , which is vital to all living things.


Water becomes contaminated when its natural state is affected and modified and it no longer has the necessary conditions for the uses it had. The causes of pollution are many, among them we can mention:

  • Waste from livestock and agricultural exploitation
  • Waste that is discharged into urban wastewater
  • Mining exploitation
  • Industrial spills
  • Radioactive particles
  • Biological contaminants

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *