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Rivers Glossary

A

atmosphere
the blanket of air which covers the earth

B

basin
a bowl shaped land formation usually caused by a glacier
brackish
water that is not fresh but is not fully salt water

C

canyon
walls of rock along a river, sometimes very steep
condensation
water vapor that is forming droplets

D

dams
earth or other construction along a river to control water flow
debris
rock, soil or other material not considered useful
delta
a collection of rocks and soil at the mouth of a river
drainage basin
the area of land drained by a major river system

E

erosion
the movement of rock and soil
estuary
an area of a river where the fresh water meets the salt water
evaporation
the changing of water to water vapor

F

flood
excess water from a river which spills over its banks
flood plain
the area often affected by a flood
fork
the place where two rivers meet

G

gaseous
in a gas-like state; not solid, not liquid - like steam
glacier
a body of snow and ice that moves like a river

H

headwaters
the beginning of a river

M

meander
the twisting and turning of a river's flow
moraine
the leftover matter - usually rock and debris from a glacier
mouth
the point at which a river empties into another body of water

O

oxbow lake
a U shaped remnant of a part of a meander which forms a lake

P

plunge pool
the deep pool that forms at the bottom of a waterfall
precipitation
water that falls from the clouds - rain, snow, hail or sleet
prehistoric
before people were around to keep records of history

R

runoff
water that melts and runs off of a mountain

S

snowcaps
the snow at the top of a mountain

T

tributary
smaller rivers which collect together to make a bigger river

V

valleys
V shaped grooves formed by erosion

W

water cycle
the process of water moving from a lake or ocean to the clouds and back to the earth again

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