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a small or large flow of water in natural channels


a relatively large flow of water in a natural channel


a term used for a small stream


a term used for a small stream


the slope of a stream or river expressed as a loss in elevation of the stream or river with distance downstream


the areas of the river system that are farthest away from the mouth of the river


erosion of a valley stream


the area of a river valley next to the channel, which is built of deposoted sediments and is covered with water when the river overflows its banks at flood stage

Stream Discharge

the volume of water passing a point along the river in a unit of time

Meandering Streams

a stream with a channel that curves or loops back and forth on a wide floodplain

Meandering Bend

one of a series of curves or loops in the course of a mature river

Meandering Scars

low ridges on the part of the floodplain inside the meander bend caused by deposition of sediment on the point bar during a flood

Oxbow Lake

a crescent- shaped body of standing water situated in the abandoned channel (oxbow) of a meander after the stream formed a neck cutoff and the ends of the original bend were plugged up by fine sediment.


a body of porous rock or sediment that is sufficiently permeable to conduct groundwater.

Tributary System

a group of streams that contribute water to another stream

Trunk Stream

a major river, fed by a number of fairly large tributaries; the main stream in a river system

Distributary System

an outflowing branch of a river, such as what occurs characteristically on a delta

Drainage Basin

the area from which all of the rain that falls eventually flows to the same final destination, ussualy in the ocean

Drainage Divide

the boundary between adjacent drainage basins

Water Cycle

the constant circulation of water from sea, through the atmosphere, to the land, and its eventual return to the atmosphere by way of transpiration and eveaporation from the land and evaporation from the sea

Closed System

a system which material moves from place to place but is not gained or lost from the system


the change of state from a liquid to a gas. Heat is absorbed


water falls to the surface from the atmosphere as rain, snow, hail, or sleet

Surface Runoff

the part of the water that travels over the ground surface without passing beneath the surface

Ground Water

the part of the subsurface water that is in the zone of sauration, including underground streams


the process by which water absorbed by plants, usually through the roots, is emitted into the atmosphere from the plant surface in the form of water vapor


a place in the earth system thart holds water


the movement of water from one reservoir to another

Zone of Aeration

The upper zone which usually isn't completely filled with water, but with rocks and soil too. ( Is about Ground water)

Zone of Saturation

an area beneath the earth's surface which extends downward until all of the open spaces in sediment and rock are completely filled with water


the process in which water enters the ground


the force of attraction between water and a solid surface such as a sediment grain

Water Table

the upper surface of the zone of saturation

Confined Aquifer

A groundwater storage area trapped between two impermeable layers of rock.

Artesian Well

a well drilled through impermeable strata into strata that receive water from a higher altitude so there is pressure to force the water to flow upward


a measure of the percentage of pores (open spaces) in a material


a measure of how easy it is to force water to flow through a porous material

Saturated Zone

A layer of permeable rock or soil in which the cracks & pores are COMPLETELY FILLED with water


loss of warter from a land area through transpiration of plants and evaporation from the soil and surface water

Unconfined Aquifer

aquifer in which there is no impermeable layer restricting the upper surface of the zone of saturation


addition of new water to an aquifer by downward flow of surface water


a layer of impermeable rock adjacent to one that is permeable


a conduit that resembles a bridge but carries water over a valley


the process of removing dissolved salts from sea water in oreder to make it potable

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