Water covers how much of the earth's surface

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gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Water covers about 71% of the Earth's surface. Almost all of this water is present in the oceans, with very small quantity of water available in rivers and lakes. In face, oceans account for 96.5% of the water present on Earth. To put things in perspective, if all the water on Earth forms a sphere, its diameter would be about 860 miles. However, if a sphere is made out of all the freshwater in our rivers and lakes (or freshwater on Earth's surface), its diameter would be only 34.9 miles. A large quantity of freshwater is buried in the earth's surface as groundwater or locked in the glacier. 

Thus, much of the water available to us on Earth is salty and is not directly accessible for drinking and other daily uses. Interestingly, despite this high surface coverage, oceans account for only about 0.02% of the planet's mass.

Hope this helps.

megamind-616 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Water covers about 71% of the Earth. Roughly 96.5% of the Earth's water is housed in the oceans. Which means only about 3.5% of the water on Earth is freshwater. Of this 3.5%, about 68.7% of freshwater is locked in glaciers, 30.1% is groundwater, .3% is groundwater, and .9% is "other" 

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