Unit 1 Vocabulary

Photo courtesy of (nz)dave/Flickr.

Week 1

Aquifer: underground layer of permeable rock, from which groundwater can be easily extracted using a well.

water changes from a gas to a liquid.

Condensation nuclei: particles of dust, pollen, salt, ice, etc. around which water vapor condenses

Evaporation: water changes to water vapor

Evapotranspiration: evaporation + transpiration

Groundwater: water stored underground, in the pore spaces of rocks and soil

Humidity: measure of the amount of water vapor in the air

Infiltration: water that seeps into the soil and can become groundwater

Precipitation: water falls to Earth as rain, snow, sleet, hail, etc.

Reservoir: place where water is stored

Residence Time:
amount of time a water molecule will stay in one reservoir

Runoff: water on the surface of earth that does not infiltrate the ground

Transpiration: liquid water from the leaves of plants changes to water vapor

Water Table: top surface of groundwater

Week 2

Bioaccumulation: pollutants accumulate in the tissues of organisms and become more concentrated as they are passed up the food chain

Central Utah Project (CUP):
federal water management project designed to provide water for the state of Utah

Clean Water Act:
federal law that protects our nation's waterways from pollution

Dissolved Oxygen:
measure of the amount of oxygen available to aquatic organisms; used to measure an increase in organic and/or nutrient pollution

a type of pollution where there are excessive nutrients in a body of water

Hydrogen Bond:
characteristic that makes water molecules attracted to one another; caused by water's polar nature

Nonpoint Source Pollution: pollution that comes from a diffuse area (e.g. stormwater runoff, agricultural fields)

determines the concentration of hydrogen in the water; a measure of the acidity of a water body

Point Source Pollution:
pollution that can comes from one particular source (e.g. factory smokestack, industrial pipeline)

Polar Molecule
- one end has a slight negative charge and the other a slight positive charge
;l water is a polar molecule

Specific Conductivity: a measure of the amount of dissolved solids (salts, minerals) in the water

Specific Heat: refers to the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of a substance by 1 degree Celsius

Turbidity: a measure of the amount of particulates in the water

Universal Solvent: water can dissolve more substances than any other liquid
Week 3

Abyssal Plains: smooth, flat, muddy plains on the sea floor

the area in which sediment is deposited along the shore

Continental Rise:
extends beyond the steep continental slope. It is more gently sloping and is composed of the sediments deposited by turbidity currents at the base of the continental slope

Continental Shelf:
extends seaward from the shore and is the shallowest part of the continental margin

Continental Slope:
area of the seafloor just beyond the continental shelf, where the slope of the seafloor becomes steeper

highest point of a wave

Deep Sea Trenches: the deepest areas in the ocean

El Niño: climate phenomenon that influences sea surface temperatures and ocean currents

places where large rivers empty into the ocean

Fetch: distance the wind travels over the ocean surface

Gyres: circular pattern of ocean surface currents

Ions: charged atoms

Longshore Currents: one way sand is deposited on a beach. They are caused by waves striking the beach at an angle

Period: the amount of time that passes between one wave to the next

Polar Easterlies:
winds that are closest to the poles and blow from east to west, pushing surface currents westward

Prevailing Westerlies: winds found at mid-latitudes and move from west to east, creating surface currents that also move in that direction

Rip Currents: formed in low areas or breaks in sandbars. They move perpendicularly away from the shore & towards the ocean

Salinity: a measure of the concentration of dissolved salts in a body of water. It is measured as a concentration of grams of salt per kilogram of seawater

Sonar: stands for sound navigation and ranging, works by emitting pulses of sound waves from a ship, which bounce off any objects they hit and return to their source. Allows scientists to map the sea floor

Thermohaline Circulation: network of surface and deep ocean currents that constantly circulates ocean water from one side of the globe to another. Caused by salinity and temperature differences

Trade Winds: winds closest to the equator, blow from east to west; they drive the ocean surface currents from the east to west as well

Trough: lowest point of a wave

Turbidity Currents: fast moving currents of water, mud and sediment

Wave: a disturbance that travels through space and transports energy

Wave Height: distance between the wave's trough and crest

Wavelength: the distance between two consecutive wave crests

Week 4

Abyssal Zone: habitat zone found on the flat, muddy, open plains of the seafloor

Aphotic Zone: light zone found on the ocean floor and receives no sunlight

Bathal Zone: habitat zone found on the continental slope

Benthic: deep waters

Disphotic Zone: light zone located beneath the photic zone; receives some sunlight, but it is very dim at this depth in the ocean

live on top of the seafloor

Euphotic Zone: light zone that receives the most sunlight, and is found at shallow depths in the ocean

Hadal Zone: habitat zone located in the deep ocean trenches

Infauna: benthic organisms that bury themselves in the mud and sediments on the seafloor

Low Intertidal Zone: exposed only during the lowest tides

Mid-Intertidal Zone: generally submerged except during low tide

Nekton: organisms that can propel themselves through the water column

Neritic Zone: habitat zone located in the shallowest waters above the continental shelf

Oceanic Zone: habitat zone found in the open ocean waters

Pelagic: shallow water

Photic Zone: light zone located beneath the euphotic zone; receives abundant sunlight, and therefore supports photosynthetic vegetation

Plankton: float in open waters

Seamounts: underwater, extinct volcanoes that reach a height of greater than 1,000 meters

Spray Zone: can be underwater during very high tides, spring tides, or severe storms

Sub-Tidal Zone: located below the low spring tide line

Tidal Range or Intertidal Zone: difference between the water level at high tide and low tide

Upper Intertidal Zone: flooded during peak tides, but exposed at other times
Last modified: Tuesday, 21 September 2010, 9:39 PM