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The Sun's heat provides energy to EVAPORATE water from the Earth's surface (oceans, lakes, etc.)
The water vapor eventually CONDENSES, forming tiny droplets in clouds.
Water continues to evaporate in the cool air, forming clouds. The clouds are formed by evaporated water vapors (gas) that condense and eventually lead to precipitation.
When the clouds meet cool air over land, PRECIPITATION (rain, sleet, or snow) is triggered, and water returns to the land (or sea). Some of the precipitation soaks into the ground.
Some of the precipitation soaks into the ground.
Some of the underground water is trapped between rocks or clay layers; this is called groundwater.
Most of the water flows downhill as RUNOFF (above ground or underground), eventually returning to the seas as slightly salty water.
THE WATER CYCLE STARTS ALL OVER AGAIN!