Question Answer
condensation the process by which a gas changes into a liquid; water vapor becomes liquid water
precipitation any form of water that falls from clouds such as rain, snow, sleet, or hail evaporation the process by which a liquid changes into a gas; liquid water turns into water vapor
water cycle cycle in which Earth’s water moves through the environment; the process by which water moves through the ground, evaporates from earth into the air, forms clouds, and falls back to earth as rain or snow
water vapor water in its gaseous state (invisible)
surface water water that stays on the earth’s surface rather than sinks into the soil
meander a large bend in a stream channel that develops when soil is eroded from one bank and deposited on another
aquifer a layer of underground rock or sediment that contains water
flood overflow of a body of water beyond its banks or shore
ground water water that has soaked into the soil (fills in cracks and spaces in underground soil and rock layers)
drought a long period of dry weather
flow the amount of water or water-saturated material that passes a channel point in a given amount of time
wastewater water that has been used
oxbow lake a lake that forms when a river breaks through the neck of a meander and moves straight onward
irrigation the process by which humans supply water to land by artificial means, such as pipes
reservoir a place where large amounts of water are stored for future use (may be natural or man-made)
sediment soil components that have been eroded and deposited by moving water, wind, or ice
flood plain the land surrounding rivers that is covered by water during a flood, formed from sediments deposited by a river
levee a bank along a stream or river that is intended to prevent flooding (may be natural or man-made)
deposition the process by which water or a glacier lays down earth materials
watershed an area of land that is drained by a stream or river and its branches (also called a drainage basin)
erosion the process by which earth materials are broken down and moved from place to place (caused by water, wind, or ice)
ground cover trees, shrubs, grasses, plants, and decayed plant material
load something carried; for example, the sediment carried by a stream or river
compaction the process by which soil particles pack together
ecosystem a community that includes all the living and nonliving things found in a certain area
landforms the features of earth’s surface, such as mountains, plateaus, and plains
canyon a deep, narrow river valley with steep slopes
hanging glacier a glacier that has broken off from a main glacier
crevasse a deep crack in a glacier
iceberg a large piece of ice that has broken off a glacier and has moved into the water
horn a sharp mountain peak
valley glacier a glacier that forms in the V-shaped valley formed by a river
cirque a bowl-shaped hole in a mountain that has been carved out by a glacier
glacier a huge mass of ice that moves very slowly over land
topographic map a map that shows the shape of the earth’s surface by using contour lines (shows elevation and geographical features of land)
contour lines lines that represent imaginary lines on earth that show elevation
aerial drawing a drawing or picture of earth as viewed from above
divide an imaginary line, usually along a ridge of land, that separates the drainage of two streams
altitude the height of a thing above a reference level, especially above sea level or above the earth's surface
delta an area of land where a stream drops sediment and other materials as it empties into the sea or another large body of water; often triangle-shaped
landforms the features of earth’s surface, such as mountains, plateaus, and plains
fog very fine droplets of water suspended in the air at or near the surface of the earth (clouds that form at ground level)
Soil the top layer of earth; composed of organic materials (humus), inorganic materials (sand, silt,and clay), water, and air
weathering the process by which earth materials are broken down by natural forces (such as water, wind, ice, animals, or chemicals)
moraine an accumulation of rocks and other earth materials that are deposited by the sides or end of a glacier