Unit 5 – Hydrology and Oceanography

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Biotic Index
Biotic Index
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A (1-10) scale that gives a measure of the quality of an ecosystem by the presence and abundance of species living in it; Involves levels of tolerance, diversity and abundance of organisms
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River Basin
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The entire geographical area drained by a river and its tributaries
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Headwaters
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The source of a river (A)
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Tributary
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A stream or river that flows into a larger river
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Drainage Basin
Drainage Basin
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the area from which a single stream or river and its tributaries drains all of the water
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Channal
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The bed of a stream or river
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Gradient
Gradient
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a rate of inclination; a slope
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Sediment
Sediment
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Small particles of dirt, rock, and sand suspended in water
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Streams
Streams
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any body of flowing water confined within a channel, regardless of size
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Alluvial Fan
Alluvial Fan
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A fan-shaped deposit of sediment formed when a stream’s slope is abruptly reduced
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Floodplain
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A low plain adjacent to a river that is formed chiefly of river sediment and is subject to flooding
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Levee
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A wall built along a river bank to prevent flooding
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Meander
Meander
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A looplike bend in the course of a river
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Oxbow Lake
Oxbow Lake
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A crescent-shaped lake (often temporary) that is formed when a meander of a river is cut off from the main channel
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Fall line
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An area along which rivers form waterfalls or rapids as the rivers drop to lower land.
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Wetland
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A land area that is covered with a shallow layer of water during some or all of the year
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Marsh
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Sea of reeds
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Swamp
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An area of low, spongy land too wet to farm but usually supporting an abundance of coarse grasses, trees, or other vegetation.
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Sonar
Sonar
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A device that determines the distance of an object under water by recording echoes of sound waves
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Oceanography
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Study of the Ocean
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Continental Margin
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boundary between continental land deep ocean basins
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Ocean Basin
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The deepest part of the ocean floor; made up of rolling hills and flat plains.
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Ocean Shelf
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this gently sloping plain forms an apron of shallow water along the edge of most continents
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Continental Slope
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a steep incline of the ocean floor leading down from the edge of the continental shelf
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Continental Rise
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the gently sloping surface at the base of the continental slope
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Mid- Ocean Ridge
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An underwater mountain chain where new ocean floor is formed
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Abyssal Plain
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A large, flat, almost level area of the deep-ocean basin
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Ocean Trench
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Deep valley in the ocean floor that forms along a subduction zone
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Rift Valley
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A deep valley that forms where two plates move apart
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Seamount
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A mountain on the ocean floor that is completely underwater
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Guyot
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A large, flat-topped seamount resulting from erosion of an island volcano when it was above sea level.
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Traditional Aquaculture
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Rapid development and expansion of intensive aquaculture for species such as salmon and shrimp has, for example, resulted in widespread degradation of the environment and the displacement of coastal fishing and farming communities.
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Sustainable Aquaculture
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Dynamic concept and the sustainability of an aquaculture system depends on environmental impacts, economic impacts, and community practices.
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Thermocline
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In water, a distinctive temperature transition zone that separates an upper layer that is mixed by wind and a colder, deep layer that is not mixed
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pH scale
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measurement system used to indicate the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) in solution; ranges from 0 to 14
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Surface Current
Surface Current
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A horizontal movement of ocean water that is caused by wind and that occurs at or near the ocean’s surface
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Thermohaline
Thermohaline
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an oceanic circulation pattern that drives the mixing of surface water and deep water
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Coriolis Effect
Coriolis Effect
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The apparent curving of the path of a moving object from an otherwise straight path due to the earth’s rotation
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Crest
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Highest point of a wave
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Trough
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Lowest point of a wave
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Fetch
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The distance that the wind has traveled across open water
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Refraction
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Change in direction of a wave when it changes speed as in travels from one material to another.
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Undertow
Undertow
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a subsurface current that is near shore and that pulls objects out to sea
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Rip Current
Rip Current
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A rush of water that flows rapidly back to sea through a narrow opening
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Shoreline Stabilization
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Shorelines are dynamic interfaces, constantly undergoing erosion and sediment deposition
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Artificial Stabilization
Artificial Stabilization
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implementing man made methods or structures to stop or slow the erosion of beaches
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Longshore Current
Longshore Current
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A water current that travels near and parallel to the shoreline
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Turbulence
Turbulence
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A type of movement of water in which, rather than moving downstream, the water moves every which way.
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Sea Arch
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an arch formed by wave erosion when caves on opposite sides of a headland unite
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Tombolo
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A ridge of sand that connects an island to the mainland or to another island
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Sandbar
Sandbar
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A ridge of sand deposited by waves as they slow down near shore.
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Groin
Groin
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A wall made of rocks or concrete that is built outward from a beach to reduce erosion
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Jetty
Jetty
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A structure that projects into the water and protects the shore
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Seawall
Seawall
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a barrier constructed to prevent waves from reaching the area behind the wall. Its purpose is to defend property from the force of breaking waves.
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Artesian Well
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A pressurized groundwater system, including an impermeable base layer, and a cap rock.
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Divide
Divide
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A high land area that separates one watershed from another.
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Eutrophication
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Process by which lakes becomes rich in nutrients from the surrounding watershed, resulting in a change in the kinds of organisms in the lake.
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Rejuvenation
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When a stream actively resumes the process of down-cutting toward its base level.
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Aquifer
Aquifer
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Permeable underground layer through which groundwater flows relatively easily.
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Bed Load
Bed Load
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Describes sediments that are too heavy or large to be kept in suspension or solution and are pushed or rolled along the bottom of a stream bed.
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Delta
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Triangular deposit, usually made up of silt and clay particles, that forms where a stream enters a large body of water.
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Discharge
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Measure of a volume of stream water that flows over a specific location in a particular amount of time.
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Flood Plain
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Broad, flat, fertile area extending out from a stream’s bank that is covered with water during floods.
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Karst Topography
Karst Topography
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Irregular topography with sinkholes, sinks, and sinking streams caused by groundwater dissolution of limestone.
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Wave Refraction
Wave Refraction
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A difference in wave speed causes initially straight wave crests to bend when part of the crest moves into shallow water
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Barrier Island
Barrier Island
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Long ridge of sand or other sediment deposited or shaped by longshore currents that is separated from the mainland and can be up to tens of kilometers long.
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Density Current
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Movement of ocean water that occurs in depths too great to be affected by surface winds and is generated by differences in water temperature and salinity.
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Estuary
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Coastal area of brackish water formed where the lower end of a freshwater river or stream enters the ocean; provides an excellent source of food and shelter to commercially important marine organisms.
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Salinity
Salinity
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Measure of the amount salts dissolved in seawater, which is 35 ppt on average.
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Temperature Profile
Temperature Profile
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Plots changing ocean water temperatures with depth, which varies, depending on location and season.
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Tide
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Rapidly flowing ocean current that can cut deep-sea canyons in continental slopes and deposit the sediments in the form of continental rise.
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Hydrologic Cycle
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The continuous circulation of water among the atmosphere, the oceans, and the earth.
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Evaporation
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Liquid to gas
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Transpiration
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the emission of water vapor from the leaves of plants
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Condensation
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Gas to Liquid
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Precipitation
Precipitation
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Condensed droplets of water that fall to the Earth as snow, rain, sleet or hail.
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Infiltration
Infiltration
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Flow of water from the land surface into the subsurface.
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Groundwater
Groundwater
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water that fills the cracks and spaces in underground soil and rock layers
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Lithosphere
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A rigid layer made up of the uppermost part of the mantle and the crust.
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Aquifer Depletion
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removal of groundwater more rapidly than it can be recharged by precipitation or melting snow
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Watershed
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An area of land that drains into a river or lake.
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Aquitard
Aquitard
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A slab of impervious surface at the bottom of an aquifer that does not allow water to go through
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Porosity
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The percentage of the total volume of a rock or sediment that consists of open spaces.
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Permeability
Permeability
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Ability of rock or soil to allow water to flow through it
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Zone of Aeration
Zone of Aeration
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Region above the water table where materials are moist, but pores contain mostly air.
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Zone of Saturation
Zone of Saturation
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Region below Earth’s surface where all the pores of a material are completely filled with groundwater.
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Capillary Fringe
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region above the water table with water drawn up by capillary action
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Water Table
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The upper level of the saturated zone of groundwater
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Springs
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A natural source of water formed when water from an aquifer percolates up to the ground surface.
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Geyser
Geyser
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A fountain of water and steam that builds up pressure underground and erupts at regular intervals.
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Water Treatment
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The process of purifying water to make it suitable for consumption and utilization
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Saltwater Intrusion
Saltwater Intrusion
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Movement of salt water into freshwater aquifers in coastal and inland areas as groundwater is withdrawn faster than it is recharged by precipitation.
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Subsidence
Subsidence
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A depression of the land surface as a result of groundwater being pumped. Cracks and fissures can appear in the land. Subsidence is virtually an irreversible process.
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Breakwater
Breakwater
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A structure protecting a nearshore area from breaking waves.
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Beach Nourishment
Beach Nourishment
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The process by which large quantities of sand are added to the beach system to offset losses caused by wave erosion.
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Ebb
Ebb
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Movement of water out at sea (or tide)
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Flow
Flow
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Movement of water in (rising tide)
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Tidal Range
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The difference in levels of ocean water at high tide and low tide
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Spring Tide
Spring Tide
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When the tidal range is greatest. (full moon and new moon)
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Neap Tide
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A tide with the least difference between consecutive low and high tides.
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Waning
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(of the moon) pertaining to the period during which the visible surface of the moon decreases
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Waxing
Waxing
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(of the moon) pertaining to the period during which the visible surface of the moon increases
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Gibbous
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Moon phase in which more than half of the Moon appears to be illuminated.
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Crescent
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Moon phase in which less than half of the Moon appears to be illuminated.

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