In this fun and easy geology science demonstration, we’re going to explore and investigate groundwater.
- Two large glass flower vases (plastic two liter soda bottles with the top cut off will work also)
- Pitchers for pouring water
- Gravel or pebbles
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- In each of the glass containers, layer sand and gravel switching back and forth until they’re around 3/4 of the way full. This will produce an aquifer.
- An aquifer is the layers of rock, soil and sand which contain water.
- Little by little pour water into one of the containers. Observe how the water is working its way through the small openings as it goes down.
- In the first container, continue pouring until it is full and above the top layer of sand or gravel.
- After that, gradually pour water into the second container, ceasing about an inch BELOW the top of the aquifer. The level of the water in the second container is the water table. Below that, the aquifer is saturated. The glass of the container in this demonstration serves as impermeable rock.
- Demonstrate what would happen if it were to rain by very slowly introducing a little more water to the second container. Observe and take note of your observations. This illustrates the recharging of the groundwater.
- Keep your containers for several weeks so that you can see that in the first one, there was never any room for more water, but in the second, as the ground soaked up more of the water and as time passed, we were able to put in a little bit more water each time provided that we never filled it higher than the surface of the aquifer.
I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and had fun investigating and understanding groundwater. Groundwater plays an important role in natural ecosystems, in the water cycle, and in land formations on Earth. Groundwater is stored in aquifers underground, which are underground water reservoirs. Like giant rock sponges underground, these are often made of limestone and take thousands or millions of years to fill.
Pro tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons about geology, aquifers, groundwater, and more!
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