An aquifer is a Latin-based [aqua means water as in aqueduct] name for sub-surface or underground water. Because of gravity falling water, rain or snow seep deeply into the ground depending on the surface and underground rock formations. The level beneath the surface where the water settles is called the water table. Any water table is determined by the amount of water under the ground, the porosity of the surface and underlying soil, sand, gravel, or rock and the amount, intensity, and frequency of precipitation (snow, rain, fog and ice) in an area.
As this cross-sectional diagram displays, the water underneath the ground is more important and usually four times the amount as is found on the surface. This underground reservoir of water is referred to hydrologists {geologists of water flow} as an aquifer. As a consequence of the overlaying sand above the water table, anything deposited on the surface of the land finds its way into and may contaminate the water table.
A cross section of a watershed to reveal the aquifer.  
Aquifers of great value are associated with artesian wells and springs because of the pressure that causes water to flow from beneath the ground out onto the surface.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2011 after 5/1/2001.

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