Frozen for a Time

Why is water spewing forth from the dolomite cliff face? Well dolomite is a form of limestone, and limestone makes up bedrock, along with sandstone and granite to name a few. Remember my Cave post with the underground streams? The water is underground water encased in bedrock. These cliffs are where the cave was located. Now the water is frozen in time.

Bedrock has voids where groundwater accumulates. And the bedrock can become fractured due to winter’s expansion and contraction as an example, creating additional space for water to gather. Within bedrock, other denser materials that prevent downward movement of percolating water, like clay and granite act as a confining layer. This may stop the vertical movement and the water will pool. Then reaching a full capacity, the water then runs horizontal, leading to an opening where it can reach a surface.

Water at very shallow depths might be just a few hours old and at moderate depth, it may be 100 years old by the time it is freed from the aquifer. It is not the age of the bedrock that it is encased in. Aquifers are layers of rock and soil saturated with water.

The image below is surface runoff water.

Surface runoff is the flow that occurs when soil is infiltrated to full capacity and the excess of rain or water melt flows over the land and can not be absorbed.

Here is the difference between surface and ground water according to Purdue University.

Surface water is water found over the land surface in streams, ponds, marshes, lakes or other fresh (not salty) sources. Ground water is water occurring in the zone of saturation in an aquifer or soil. Other than the location, one of the primary differences between surface and ground water is that ground water moves much slower than surface water. This is because ground water experiences far more friction as it moves through the pores in soil then surface water experiences as it flows over the earth’s surface. Surface water is much more easily contaminated than ground water. Filtration through the soil helps clean ground water.

Ground water is the source of about 40 % of the water used for public supply. It provides drinking water for more than 97 % of the rural population who do not have access to public water-supply systems. Even some major cities, such as San Antonio, Texas, rely solely on ground water for all their needs. Between 30 % and 40 % of the water used for agriculture comes from ground water. Withdrawals of ground water are expected to rise in the coming century as the population increases and available sites for surface reservoirs become more limited. Purdue University

The water gets underground from rain, hail and snow. There is one hundred times more water in the ground than is in all the world’s rivers and lakes, source USGS.  Ground water makes up the third largest supply of water on Earth, behind the oceans at 97 percent. Glaciers are 68.5 percent of the 3 percent that is freshwater. Of this 3 percent fresh water, 30 percent is groundwater. Here is a chart showing it rather concisely. Click to enlarge.

In 1990, about 339,000 million gallons per day of fresh water was withdrawn from our surface and ground water sources, such as wells, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Purdue University

Here’s the breakdown by water-use category from the US Geological Survey:

  • Irrigation 40 %
  • Thermoelectric power 39 %
  • Public Supply 11 %
  • Industry 6 %
  • Livestock 1 %
  • Domestic 1 %
  • Mining 1 %
  • Commercial 1 %

These are just some interesting facts about water that you may be drinking or polluting. Hopefully no one reading this post is the latter. Just think about water runoff and what you might be contributing.

I know I will this coming year make a concerted effort to think about every drop on my property. I guess you can say it is what I will do better in my garden this year. My garden is very tiny so it is easier to make it better than new and different.  And on this note, I am linking this post to fer’s World Garden Carnival.

To get more information pertinent to your own live’s and water usage, go to Elephant’s Eye post, Water, drought in Beaufort West, and floods.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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34 Responses to Frozen for a Time

  1. Donna says:

    one of the reasons I build rain gardens is to avoid run off and use the water back in the garden…great post

  2. Town Mouse says:

    Wow, those photos of the frozen waterfall are amazing! Interesting about the irrigation, too, it’s always good to really know the numbers.

  3. Good pictures – it looks really cold there – and the water facts were very interesting – it is going to become a more and more scarce resource over the coming years

  4. love the photos, I took a walk along a frozen gorge in Jasper park it was magical being at the bottom looking up at the frozen waterfalls, Frances

  5. Alistair says:

    Fantastically informative Donna, and your pictures are stunning. Plenty surface water in Scotland.

    • I bet. Your whole area is know for lots of rain. That is why it is one of the greenest most beautiful places on Earth. If I did not suspect the middle East as having Eden like I read, I might have though Scotland or Ireland.

  6. Gail says:

    Beautiful photos~I love seeing the frozen ‘waterfalls’ around Nashville. I wonder what the numbers look like for TN? gail

    • I have been seeing water falls on sites a lot lately. They are all so pretty and should be preserved in the parks like here in the Falls. Olmsted pushed and led the movement to preserve this land for public parks. Good man, great designer. Plus Niagara Falls is THE first State park in the nation thanks to him.

  7. Very informative. I never knew that in addition to polluting, burning fossil fuels and nuclear power also require 39% of our water, which is one of our most precious resources. Did I just miss this or is it rarely mentioned?

  8. Ruth says:

    Wow! Those are gorgeous photographs! Isn’t water amazing??? 🙂

    • I am so amazed at what it can destroy too. It looks so innocuous but can cut through steel like butter, turn mortar to dust. It can destroy building foundations with no effort on its part, plus rot out wood in not time.

  9. Diane says:

    Amazing photos, Donna! Water frozen in time…just beautiful.

  10. lifeshighway says:

    Beautiful photos, Donna and great information. I have begun building bog gardens in the areas of runoff in my property. The water slows, fills my wet land garden and hopefully makes it way out a little cleaner.

  11. Cat says:

    Such pertinent information – we take our water for granted as a culture and it is great that you’re spreading the word. My neighbor just started collecting rain water and I’m hoping to follow suit this year.

  12. Always amazes me when I see trees growing out of solid rock, but I know now they are reaching down to the groundwater stored in the cracks and pockets in the rocks. I think I got a new wrinkle in my pea sized brain after reading your post. You are always so informative 🙂 I hope your hands thawed out after taking pictures of those frozen scenes!!!

    • I have images of big cedars growing right out of these cliff faces. I posted some I think. Somehow a little seed gets in the crevices and grows in the absolute worse conditions. How it hung on the first place with the water flowing out in summer and wind in winter really astounds me.

  13. Here in Utah, those irrigation numbers are even higher. And almost all of the water is potable that’s going into people’s landscapes. Shocking.

    • I bet they are much higher in Florida too. Since it is USGS info, it is averaged across all states. I bet your State Geo Dept. has those number listed. When I worked in a firm, we would get these numbers sent to us with the new state book each year.

  14. fer says:

    Great photos! And a lot of useful information, It sure makes you think.
    Thank you for your post. And best luck with your projects in this starting year.

  15. Those column graphs make the cold hard numbers so much easier to understand. Glad that our use of greywater helps to recharge the groundwater. What goes into our garden is mostly NOT costly drinking water.

  16. Laurrie says:

    Fascinating post and very informative. For us easterners it is hard to comprehend how little water is available when we have so much and it freezes in big waterfalls right in front of us. We worry about what goes into all that runoff. But my sons live in Colorado and California and what a different story out there. There the worry is depleting what little there is, and reusing it. If we can pipe oil hundreds and hundreds of miles from the North Slope of Alaska why don’t we pipe water over long distances? I’ve always wondered.

  17. What great photos and a very informative post. I always wondered about those “frozen waterfalls” – thanks!

  18. Thanks for sharing this important info..I learned some new facts and I’ll also try to think more about every drop of water i use. Loved the frozen photos, but it does make me look forward to warm spring weather!

  19. Gorgeous photographs of frozen water structures! I really appreciate this post as a cause close to my heart… it should be close to everyone’s since water is our most precious resource. Thanks!

  20. patty says:

    Amazing photos Donna. The graph certainly was an eye opener, and it held some surprises for me too. With water conservation in mind I will add a second rain barrel to the shed.

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