Hydrologic Cycle Essay

Hydrologic Cycle Essay

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There are four stages that are needed to have a successful hydrologic cycle ;they are precipitation, evaporation, run off, and infiltration. Now Mother Nature has very delicately monitored these four stages ever since the earth was created. The delicate balance of water being put into and taken out of the earth maintained a natural hydrological cycle world wide, but since man has inhabited the world, the cycle has changed. At first minor changes to the cycle did not really affect the efficiency of the natural balance, but now with the modern population the earth is drastically changing, along with the delicate water balance. For example in Disney's movie "The Lion King" Moofasa the lion king talked about a circle of life and how if one thing is taken out, the whole cycle will change, most times for the worst. This circle of life is also evident in the hydrologic cycle, if humans interfere the consequences can be drastic. The primary stage of the water cycle is the precipitation stage, this is when the accumulated water droplets know as rainfall, precipitate from the sky in condensed concentrations of water, know as clouds. With the water hitting the ground some of the droplets will instantly absorbed by the earth. The soil would act like a large sponge collecting the water until it is fully saturated. Before humans inhabited the earth had a balanced Eco-system that would naturally balance out the inflow and outflow of water. The excess water would become runoff, then would flow down hills into valleys or lakes creating rivers and lakes. When the rainfall exceeded the rivers capacity (load) there would be a flood. It would be a naturally controlled flood, and the overflow of water would run into the natural flood plain. Unfortunately with human interference in the fluvial process, the rivers have had to change the natural flow patterns, and floodplains have be drastically altered. Humans like to live near bodies of water, and therefore have built unnatural levees and dams to try to control the rate of flow and where the direction of the river. With the changes that have been made the rivers and lakes now erode different landforms, and can cause catastrophic damage to human and wildlife habitats. After the water has made its way to the ocean from the rivers and other such run off. It begins to evaporate, and cause clouds to form again. Thus replenishing the water cycle. Since humans have come along they have ;removed soil, black topped forests, cut highways into bedrock, built cities on deltas, thus totally changing the earth's surface. For example if there was an earthquake in Vancouver, British Columbia, many catastrophic disasters will occurs. Most of the dams built to create reservoirs will either crack or burst, unleashing a torrent of water that will descend on the residential areas that border the rivers. Richmond will sink, because most of the city if not all is built on the Fraser River delta. The soft sandy ground, which the city is built upon, will liquefy and the ground will become unstable under the pressure of most of the buildings placed upon it. And the reason for all these disasters is the human interference in the hydrologic cycle. When humans blacktop a certain stretch of land, it takes away the natural drains and sponges created by the vegetation. The water builds up and since there is no where to it to go, it sits in large puddles on the tarmac. A good example of this was when the city of North Vancouver built the Westview overpass. With all the new tarmac and concrete in place of the grassy median, the water had no where to infiltrate the soil, or to runoff. So massive puddles formed at the low point of the overpass, and stayed there until road crews installed a proper drainage system. Also with the new drainage system there were pipes that broke and caused the liquefaction of some of the upper portion of the new highway. Causing an unevenness of the tarmac and the total reconstruction of the highway. In summary, no matter how much man tries to control chaos it shall never be restrained. The hydrological cycle is mass chaos and to upset its fragile balance can lead to uncontrollable results. Human activities can cause the balance to change from positive to negative quite quickly. If humans continue to change the hydrologic cycle by rearranging the vegetation and infiltration rate, water will continue to erode the earth in unnatural ways. With more standing water evaporation will increase, and with increased evaporation the more precipitation. Therefor with more precipitation the rivers will become swollen and overflow their banks. Leading to flooding and the destruction of residential areas. And even though humans try to control the hydrological cycle, our futile attempts will lead to further destruction.

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