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        Saltwater and Freshwater Distribution on Earth

        Learn about the distribution of water on Earth with these NASA and USGS graphics. The Earth graphic represents the relative amounts of all salt water and freshwater on Earth as proportionally sized spheres. The spheres help convey the idea that although most of Earth’s surface is covered by water, the relative amount of water compared to the planet is quite small. The layered pie chart contrasts the significant difference between the amounts of salt water and freshwater on Earth as well as breaking down the percentages of freshwater by source.

        To view the Background Essay and Teaching Tips for this media gallery, go to Support Materials below. This resource was developed through WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project, in collaboration with NASA. Click here for the full collection of resources.

        Spherical Representations of Water on Earth

        This image of Earth visually represents all water on the planet, all freshwater, and water in only lakes and rivers as proportionally sized spheres.

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        Saltwater and Freshwater Percentages

        This graphic provides a visual breakdown of the distribution of water by location and type on Earth by percentages.

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