Land and Water

Term Definition
Continental Shelf The ocean floor that slopes downward away from continents
Continental Slope The edge of the continental shelf, more steeply sloped.
Continental Rise Region of gently increase slope where the ocean floor meets the continental slope
Abyssal Plains Large flat areas on the ocean floor
Seamount Underwater volcanoes
Volcanic Island The build up of lava in water
Guyot A volcanic island that eroded enough that the ocean covered it again
Canyons Deep, steep-sided valleys usually formed by rivers that cut through surrounding rock
Trenches Run parallel to the coast and are formed where two oceanic tectonic plates converge

Continental Divide

Also called the Great Divide;

Follows the Rocky Mountains and separates water flowing to the west into the Pacific ocean from water flowing north and east.

Why are some glacial lakes saltier than others? Ground water dissolves salts and minerals from soil and rock and then carries these materials into the lake
Glaciers Masses of ice and snow built up over thousands of years which occur in the high altitudes of mountains and near Earth’s poles
Crevasses Deep cracks created when a glacier moves over uneven ground and breaks the ice sheet
Cirques Small beginnings of glaciers where snow, ice and the freeze-thaw cycle create armchair-like hollows in the side of a mountain
Aretes When two cirques on a mountain erode toward each other, they create a sharp ridge between them
Horn Three or more aretes on a mountain eventually carve the mountain peak into a sharp pyramid shape
Hanging Valley Where a small glacier meets a large glacier and the valley floor of the large glacier below the bottom of the small glacier
Tides The rising and falling of the water level in an ocean caused by the Sun and the Moon and the rotation of Earth
Convection Current Current caused by temperature differences
Tidal Range The difference between the water levels at high tide and low tide
Tidal Bulge The rise of water level on an ocean in response to gravitational pull of the Sun and the Moon and rotation of Earth
Specific Heat Capacity A measure of substances capacity to keep its heat
Tsunami A large, often devastating wave caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or giant underwater landslides
Moraines A large ridge of gravel, sand and boulders that was pushed aside by a glacier and dragged to the end of a glacier
Sea Breeze A wind blowing from sea; caused when heated air over land rises and air moves from over ocean
Gyres A large, consistent, circular pattern of ocean currents
Weather Daily atmospheric conditions, like temperature, precipitations and humidity
Land Breeze wind blowing from land caused when heated air over water rises and air from land moves to replace rising air
Climate The average weather conditions over many years
Striations A groove or scratch on the surface of a rock, caused when boulders and gravel at bottoms of glaciers are dragged along rock surfaces
Icebergs A large chunk of ice that breaks off a glacier when the glaciers reaches the ocean
Eskers A long mound of sand and gravel marking the path of meltwater streams that passed through and under a glacier
Current Movement of water in an ocean or lake caused by temperature differences
Erratics A large boulder that was carried by glaciers and left behind
Fjords A long deep valley carved by a glacier that has become flooded with sea water

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