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Rivers
More Geography pages
Intro to Rivers Major Rivers of the World US Rivers Glossary of River Terms The Water Cycle River Printouts, Maps

Glossary of River Terms


alluvial

Alluvial means deposited by running water.


banks

Banks are the sides of a river or stream between which the water normally flows.


bed

The bed (also called the river bed) is the bottom of the river (or other body of water).


brackish

Beackish water is water that is saltier than river water but less salty than sea water.


channel

A channel is an area that contains flowing water confined by banks.


channeled

Channeled means grooved or cut deeply.


delta

A delta is a large, silty area at the mouth of a river at which the river splits into many different slow-flowing channels that have muddy banks. New land is created at deltas. Deltas are often triangular-shaped, hence the name (the Greek letter 'delta' is shaped like a triangle).


effluent

Effluent is wastewater (like sewage water or factory runoff) that flows from a factory or other facility.


estuary

An estuary is the area where a river meets the sea or ocean, where fresh water from the river meets salt water from the sea.


headwaters

Headwaters are streams and rivers (tributaries) that are the source of a stream or river.
Watercycle

hydrologic cycle

The hydrologic cycle is another name for the water cycle.
meander

meander

Something that meanders follows a winding path.


mouth

The mought is the end of a river, where it empties into a large body of water.
oxbow lake

oxbow lake

An oxbow lake is a stagnant lake that is formed alongside a winding river when the river changes path because of soil erosion, leaving an abandoned stream channel, cut off from the rest of the river.


rill

A rill is a very small channel of water, caused mainly by runoff water that eroded the soil.


riparian

Riparian means located by the banks of a river, stream, or other body of water.


river

A river is a large, flowing body of water that usually empties into a sea or ocean.


riverbed

A riverbed is the bottom of the river (or other body of water).


riverine

Riverine means relating to, similar to, or formed by a river.


runoff

Runoff is water that drains into a river (or other body of water) from uncontrolled streams, drains, or sewage lines. There is runoff from agricultural irrigation water, snowmelt, storms, etc.


salinity

Salinity is the amount of salt dissolved in water.


sediment

Sediment is small particles of soil or rocks that are transported by water or the wind.


silt

Silt is very tiny particles of soil or rocks that are 3 to 60 micrometers in diameter.


siltation

Siltation is the deposit or accumulation of very tiny soil particles (silt).


source

The source is the beginning of a stream or river.


tributary

A tributary is a river or stream that flows into another stream, river, or lake.


trunk

The trunk is the main course of river.
Watercycle

water cycle

The water cycle the natural cycle in which the sun's energy evaporates water into the atmosphere, and the water vapor condenses, returning to the Earth as precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, etc.).


waterfall

A waterfall is a sudden drop in a river as it flows over a rock cliff. This happens when the river passes from a layer of hard rock to a layer of softer rock, and the water erodes away the softer rock.


watershed

A watershed is the term given to the land that drains water into a particular stream, lake, or river.



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