Before entering fully into the clarification of the meaning of the term aquifer, we must know its etymological origin. In this case, we can say that it is a word that derives from Latin, since it is the result of the sum of two elements of said language:
-The noun “aqua”, which can be translated as “water”.
-The verbal form “fero”, which is equivalent to “I carry”.
According to Digopaul, aquifer is a notion that is used in the fields of geology and biology. In the first case, an aquifer is an underground structure that houses water.
Aquifers are reservoirs of water that are located below the earth’s surface. These aquifers allow the circulation of water through various cracks and the porosity of its structure.
In aquifers it is possible to differentiate between the water table (the upper sector), the saturation zone (the space where the rocky pores fill with water) and the impermeable layer. Above the water table, and before the surface, there is another sector known as aeration zone.
Many classifications of aquifers can be made, since there are numerous modalities that exist. However, among the most frequent groups we can find the following:
-Based on what their hydraulic behavior is, we come across confined aquifers, which are those that are between two impermeable layers; the semi-confined; the underestimated or free, who are in direct contact with what is the subsaturated area of the soil; and the coastal ones.
-According to its structure, they can be classified into two large groups: the free and the confined.
-Starting from the criteria of what their textures are, we find the fissures and the porous ones.
-If we rely on what hydrodynamic behavior is, there are the aquifers, the aquicludes, the aquitards and the aquifuge.
It is important to note that aquifers allow a large part of the population around the world access to the water. However, uncontrolled exploitation and pollution threaten this resource. Chemical fertilizers used by agriculture, industrial waste and oil exploitation are some of the factors that can contaminate an aquifer.
Specifically, among the most polluting elements that exist and that seriously endanger aquifers are the waste that is generated in motor shops and gas stations, in paint shops, in dry cleaners, in manufacturers and in metallurgical industries. That without forgetting those derived from metal mines or oil extraction, among others.
An example of an aquifer is the Guaraní Aquifer, which occupies thousands of kilometers below Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. It is the largest planetary reserve of fresh water below the surface.
In the field of biology, on the other hand, an aquifer is a conduit that allows the transport of liquids in certain organisms. Echinoderms, to cite one case, have an aquifer vascular system with multiple ramifications throughout the body.