Water is one of the most important substances on our planet. While its essential nature for human consumption is well-known to the general public, its key role in the proper functioning of the geochemical system of our planet. In fact, either through its direct impact or indirectly, water supports all aspects of the global environment.
First of all, water is the major shaper of the landscape we see all around us. Being extremely solvent, it has a tremendous influence on erosion processes. As an agent of erosion, it carries soil, sediment and rock to form the constantly fluid landscape of Earth. Moreover, the very availability of land on the planet depends on the level of water in the sea. Due to climate change, the melting of glaciers and subsequent rising sea level affect the image of coastlines around the world.
Secondly, it is important to note the transport function of water. The healthy environment heavily depends on the permanent water cycle that has been repeating exponentially for millions of years. Water can be naturally found in its three major physical forms, and the changes of these physical forms are associated with the transport carries various minerals that support geomorphological processes on the planet. Evaporation of ocean and ground water is the indispensable mechanism of supporting an atmosphere that is necessary for flora and fauna. Another example is the interaction between water and magma. Due to the unique thermodynamic qualities of water it can transform thermal energy into mechanical energy and contribute to explosive volcanic reactions. It is a vivid example of how water can have an indirect influence on the changes in the current landscape of our planet.
Overall, it is without any doubt that the unique properties of water make it an indispensable element of the forces that shape the landscape of the world.
- Lollar, Barbara Sherwood. Environmental geochemistry. Vol. 9. Elsevier, 2005.