Earth Science Ch.13: Climate Comprehensive Vocabulary

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atoll

ring-shaped coral reef around a lagoon

barrier reef

coral reef that forms around a sunken volcanic island

continental shelf

part of a continent that slopes gently away from the shoreline

continental slope

part of a continent between the continental shelf and the ocean floor

coral

small animals found in warm, shallow ocean waters

Coriolis effect

bending of Earth's winds and ocean currents by Earth's rotation

crest

highest point on an ocean wave

current

stream of water flowing in the oceans

density current

stream of water that moves up and down in ocean depths

ebb tide

outgoing, or falling tide

flood tide

incoming, or rising tide

fringing reef

coral reef that is directly attached to a shore

guyot

flat-topped, underwater seamount

lagoon

shallow body of water between a reef and the mainland

nodule

mineral lump found on the ocean floor

oceanography

study of Earth's oceans

ooze

ocean sediment that contains the remains of many ocean organisms

salinity

amount of dissolved salts in ocean water

seamount

volcanic mountain on the ocean floor

sonar

echo-sounding system that bounces sound waves off the ocean floor

submersible

underwater research vessel

thermocline

layer of ocean water in which the temperature drops sharply with depth

tide

regular change in the level of Earth's oceans

trench

deep canyon on the ocean floor

trough

lowest point of an ocean wave

wave

regular up-and-down movement of water

world ocean

body of salt water covering much of Earth's surface

condensation

changing of a gas to a liquid

evaporation

changing of a liquid to a gas

geyser

heated groundwater that erupts onto Earth's surface

groundwater

water that collects in pores in soil and sinks into the ground

kettle lake

lake formed by a retreating glacier

lake

low spot in Earth's surface filled with still water

meander

loop in a mature river

oxbow lake

curved lake formed when a bend in a river is cut off at both ends

pond

body of water similar to a lake but usually smaller and shallower

pore

tiny hole or space

precipitation

water that falls to Earth's surface from the atmosphere

rapids

part of a river where the current is swift

reservoir

artificial lake

spring

natural flow of groundwater to Earth's surface

water cycle

repeated pattern of water movement between Earth and the atmosphere

waterfall

steep fall of water, as of a stream, from a height

water table

upper layer of saturated rock and soil

well

hole dug below the water table that fills with groundwater

abrasion

wearing away of rock particles by wind and water

cave system

series of connected underground caves

deflation

removal of loose material from Earth's surface by wind

delta

triangular deposit of sediment located at the mouth of a river

deposition

process by which material carried by erosion is dropped in new places

drumlin

oval-shaped mound of till

erosion

process by which weathered material is removed and carried from a place

erratic

boulder left behind by a retreating glacier

floodplain

flat area on the side of a river where sediments are deposited during floods

glacier

moving river of ice and snow

hanging valley

small glacial valley above a main valley

iceberg

large piece of a glacier that enters the ocean

ice cap

large sheet of ice found near Earth's poles

karst topography

land that has sinkholes, caverns, and underground rivers

kettle lake

lake formed by a retreating glacier

loess

thick deposits of windblowen dust

longshore current

movement of water parallel to a shoreline

mass erosion

downhill movement of weathered materials caused by gravity

moraine

ridge of till deposited by a melting glacier

runoff

water from rain or snow that flows into streams and rivers from surface areas

sand bar

long, offshore underwater deposit of sand

sea arch

gap formed when waves cut completely through a section of rock

sea stack

column of rock remaining after the collapse of a sea arch

sediment

rock particles carried and deposited by water, wind, or ice

sinkhole

large hole in the ground formed when the roof of a cavern collapses

spit

long, narrow deposit of sand connected at one end to the shore

talus

pile of rocks and rock particles that collects at the base of a slope

till

rock material deposited by a glacier

tribuitary

smaller stream that flows into the main stream of a river system

wave-cut terrace

flat section of rock formed by the erosion of a sea cliff

acid rain

rain containing acids produced by water chemically combined wtih certain gases

bedrock

soild rock that lies beneath the soil

carbonation

chemical reaction that occurs when carbonic acid reacts with certain minerals

chemical weathering

weathering that changes the chemical makeup of rocks

horizon

soil layer

humus

decaying remains of plants & animals

hydrolysis

chemical reaction that occurs when minerals with little water content react with water

ice wedging

mechanical weathering caused by the freezing & melting of water

leaching

removing or washing away the minerals in soil

mechanical weathering

weathering in which the chemical makeup of rocks does not change

oxidation

chemical change that occurs when oxygen reacts with another substance

residual soil

soil remaining on top of the bedrock from which it formed

soil

mixture that includes silt, sand, and clay

soil profile

all the layers that make up the soil in an area

texture

size of soil particles

transported soil

soil moved away from the bedrock from which it was formed

weathering

breaking down of rocks and other materials on Earth's surface

continental drift

theory that the continents were at once one or more times a single landmass that broke apart and eventually moved into the positions they are in today.

convection current

movement of a gas or a liquid caused by changes in temperature.

hot spot

place where magma reaches the surface of a tectonic plate.

magma chamber

underground pocket of molten rock.

mid-ocean ridge

an ocean-floor feature resembling a mountain ridge on land.

Pangaea

single, giant landmass, or continent, that later broke apart.

plate boundary

place where two plates meet.

rift valley

flat area between two ridges that is formed by spreading plates.

seafloor spreading

process that forms new seafloor.

subduction zone

place where old oceanic crust is forced back down into an ocean trench.

tectonic plate

large, solid piece of Earth's surface.

theory of plate tectonics

theory that Earth's crust is broken into plates that float on the upper part of the mantle.

trench

deep canyon on the ocean floor.

anticline

upward fold of a mountain.

caldera

large hole that forms when the roof of a magma dome collapses.

cinder cone

volcanic cone made up of rock particles, dust, and ash.

composite cone

volcanic cone made up of alternating layers of lava and rock particles.

crater

pit at the top of a volcanic cone.

dome mountain

mountain formed when upfolds in rocks created a rounded structure that looks like a bowl turned upside down.

earthquake

sudden, strong movement of Earth's crust.

elevation

height of a point on Earth above or below sea level.

epicenter

place on Earth's surface directly above the focus.

fault

break in Earth's crust along which movement occurs.

fault-block mountains

mountain formed when normal faults uplift a block of rock.

focus

point beneath Earth's surface where an earthquake starts.

folded mountain

mountain formed by the folding of rock layers.

fracture

break in a rock.

L-wave

surface wave.

landform

physical feature of Earth's solid surface.

lava

magma that reaches Earth's surface.

P-wave

fastest earthquake wave.

plain

large, flat area just above sea level.

plateau

large, flat area at a high elevation.

Richter scale

scale that measures the energy released by an earthquake.

Ring of Fire

major earthquake and volcano zone that almost forms a circle around the Pacific Ocean.

S-wave

second earthquake wave to be recorded at a seismograph station.

seismic wave

earthquake wave.

seismograph

instrument that detects and measures earthquakes.

shield cone

volcanic cone made up of layers of hardened lava.

summit

highest point on a mountaintop.

syncline

downward fold of a mountain.

tsunami

large ocean wave caused by an earthquake.

vent

volcano opening from which lava flows.

volcanism

movement of magma inside Earth.

volcano

vent and the volcanic material around it.

absolute age

true age of a rock or fossil

amber

hardened tree sap

cast

mold filled with hardened sediments

coprolite

fossilized dung or the stomach contents of ancient animals

fossil

remains or traces of an organism that lived long ago

fossil fuel

natural fuel that was formed from the remains of living things, such as: coal, oil, or natural gas

gastrolith

stone used to grind food

geologic time scale

outline of the major divisions in Earth's history

half-life

length of time it takes for one-half the amount of a radioactive element to change into a stable element

index fossil

fossil used to help determine the relative age of rock layers

law of superposition

states that each undisturbed sedimentary rock layer is older than the layer above it

mold

imprint or hollow in rock that is shaped like and made by an organism

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