Ch 23: Intro to Earth's Hydrosphere

About This Chapter

In this chapter, you'll review a short series of lessons that cover basic information about the Earth's hydrosphere. Consult the chapter whenever you need to study these particular topics for upcoming exams, science projects, homework assignments or any other class need.

Intro to Earth's Hydrosphere - Chapter Summary

For a thorough overview of the Earth's hydrosphere, simply work through these engaging video and text-based lessons. Taught by expert science instructors, this chapter helps you quickly refresh your understanding of the Earth's water systems and the hydrologic cycle. You'll also look intriguing facts about different bodies of water around the world. Upon completion of the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Outline the entire hydrologic cycle
  • Describe the characteristics of the Earth's oceans, seas, gulfs, lakes and rivers
  • Discuss the geological role of groundwater systems
  • Compare types of glaciers, identify glaciation periods and recognize glacial deposition results
  • Assess the characteristics of shorelines, beaches and estuaries
  • Explain how barrier islands are formed

The chapter is available to study online at any time that fits your schedule. In addition to the lessons, the chapter comes equipped with short self-assessments to help you remember key concepts and definitions. You can print out the lesson transcripts for offline reference, and if you have any questions along the way, simply use the chapter's handy Ask the Expert feature.

11 Lessons in Chapter 23: Intro to Earth's Hydrosphere
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Hydrologic Cycle: Definition, Process & Diagram

1. The Hydrologic Cycle: Definition, Process & Diagram

The hydrologic, or water, cycle describes the storage and movement of all water on Earth. This lesson will cover the different reservoirs where water can be stored and how it moves between them.

The Earth's Oceans, Seas & Gulfs

2. The Earth's Oceans, Seas & Gulfs

After watching this video, you will be able to explain what oceans, seas and gulfs are and point out some of the most well-known ones on a world map. A short quiz will follow.

Lakes: Definition & Facts

3. Lakes: Definition & Facts

Learn about the different types of lakes, from glacier lakes to oxbow lakes, and how they are formed. Explore how lakes are part of every ecosystem and found on every continent.

Rivers: Definition & Explanation

4. Rivers: Definition & Explanation

Explore rivers and how they develop from small streams to swiftly flowing rapids. Learn about how rivers shape the land around them, creating canyons, flood plains and deltas.

Groundwater System: Definition & Geological Role

5. Groundwater System: Definition & Geological Role

Surprisingly, most of Earth's liquid freshwater is not where you might think! In this video lesson, you will learn about groundwater, as well as the important roles it plays in sustaining life and shaping Earth.

What Are Glaciers? - Definition, Types & Processes

6. What Are Glaciers? - Definition, Types & Processes

Learn about the two major types of glaciers: continental and alpine glaciers. These glaciers shape the landscape around them and affect our everyday lives, even if the nearest glacier is thousands of miles away.

Glaciation: Definition, Periods & Causes

7. Glaciation: Definition, Periods & Causes

In this lesson, we explore glaciation. Referring to the movement and formation of glaciers, glaciation has played an important role in human history, including allowing for the implementation of one of humanity's most important practices.

Glacial Deposition: Definition & Results

8. Glacial Deposition: Definition & Results

As glaciers move and retreat, they push and drop rocks and sediments in a process known as glacial deposition. Learn about this glacial process and the interesting landforms that result from it, including moraines, erratics and drumlins, in this lesson.

Characteristics of Shorelines & Beaches

9. Characteristics of Shorelines & Beaches

Shorelines and beaches are constantly changing due to forces, such as waves, winds and currents. Learn about characteristics of shorelines, including headlands, bays, beach berms, sand dunes, spits, tombolos, barrier islands and lagoons.

Barrier Islands: Formation, Shape & Location

10. Barrier Islands: Formation, Shape & Location

In this lesson, we'll define barrier islands and learn how they form. We'll also look at how these types of islands, unlike other islands, can suddenly change shape or shift location over time. Lastly, we'll cover why these land masses are important to coastal areas.

Estuary: Definition, Facts, Characteristics & Examples

11. Estuary: Definition, Facts, Characteristics & Examples

Have you ever gone swimming, kayaking, or exploring in a marshy coastal area? If so, you were enjoying the natural beauty of an estuary, a place where rivers meet large bodies of water. These unique ecosystems are important, but also under threat.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.