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Meandering Stream

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

Meandering Bend

each curve of the stream.

Meander Scars

the area of the floodplain on the inside of the meander bend shows a large number of these ridges

Oxbow Lake

a curved lake.


groundwater flows slowly through porous underground sediments and rocks.


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


a small, natural stream of water.


natural streams of running water that are smaller than rivers


expresses the loss in elevation of the stream or river with distance downstream.


erosion of a valley by a stream.


when high-gradient streams cut ther valleys vertically downward too rapidly for the valleys to widen out.

Stream Discharge

the volume of water passing a point along the river in a unti of time.


A large natural stream of water flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another stream.


A small, narrow river, or run or flow in a continuous current in a specified direction.

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, usually the ocean.

drainage divides

boundaries between drainage basins.

water cycle

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

closed system

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


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


water that 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 saturation, 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 that 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 a sediment and rock are completely filled with water.


process in which water enters the ground.


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

water table

the upper surface of the zone of saturation.


a layer of rock that is sufficiently porous to absorb and transmit water in quantities that can be economically removed.

confined aquifer

a permeable layer between two impermeable layers.

artesian well

when water will reach the surface and spill out.

water cycle

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


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.


any body of sediment or rock that has sufficient size and sufficiently high porosity and permeability to provide an adequate supply of water from wells.

saturated zone

the zone, beneath the water table where all of the pores are filled with water.

water table

the surface between the saturated zone and the unsaturated zone (zone of aeration).


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

unconfined aquifer

an aquifer that has a free connection upward to the surface.


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


a body of rock that will absorb water slowly, but will not transmit it fast enough to supply a well.


a system of large surface pipes and channels used to transport water.


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

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