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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


evaporation of water from inside the leaves of plants


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


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


process by which sediments are laid down in a new location


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


the amount of sediment carried by a river


land area in which runoff drains into a particular river system


tiny stream


a stream or smaller river that feeds into a main river


beginning of a river


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


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


ridge of deposited sediments running parallel to the river


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


loop in a river


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

artesian well

well from which water flows on its own without pumping


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


the grinding away of rock by other rock particles


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


a ridge of land that separates one watershed from another


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


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


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


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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