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water cycle

continuos movement of water among Earth's atmosphere, oceans, and land surface through evaporation, condensation, and precipitation, driven by the sun's energy

transpiration

evaporation of water from inside the leaves of plants

runoff

water that flows over the ground surface rather than soaking into the ground

groundwater

water that fills the cracks and spaces in underground soil and rock layers

deposition

process by which sediments are laid down in a new location

erosion

process by which weathered rocks and solid paticles are carried to a new location

load

the amount of sediment carried by a river

watershed

land area in which runoff drains into a particular river system

rille

tiny stream

tributary

a stream or smaller river that feeds into a main river

source

beginning of a river

mouth

end of a river where it joins another larger body of water

alluvial fan

a wide sloping depsoit of sediment formed when a stream leaves a mountain range

delta

sediments deposited at the mouth of a river where it meets a larger body of water

levee

ridge of deposited sediments running parallel to the river

reservoir

artificial lake where freshwater is stored

saturated zone

underground region in which the pore spaces are filled with water

unsaturated zone

underground region in which the pore spaces ar filled mostly with air

water table

level below which the ground is saturated

meander

loop in a river

aquifer

layer of rock or sediment that allows water to pass through easily

artesian well

well from which water flows on its own without pumping

pollution

when harmful or unwanted substances contaminate a natural resource

flood plain

wide valley through which a river flows

oxbow lake

a meander cut off from a river

abrasion

the grinding away of rock by other rock particles

turbulence

a type of movement of water in which, rather than moving downstream, the water moves every which way

divide

a ridge of land that separates one watershed from another

wetland

a land area that is covered by a shallow layer of water during some or all of the year

permeable

characteristic of a material that is full of tiny, connected, air spaces that water can seep through

impermeable

characteristic of materials, such as clay and granite, through which water does not easily pass

spring

a place where groundwater flows to the surface

point source

a specific source of pollution that can be identified

nonpoint source

a widely spread source of pollution that is difficult to link to a specific point of origin

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