Glossary of Terms
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alluvium: the detrital materials eroded, transported and deposited by streams and rivers.
aquifer: a permeable body of rock capable of yielding quantities of groundwater to wells or springs
aquitard: a bed of low permeability adjacent to an aquifer; may serve as a storage unit for groundwater although it does not yield water readily
Archean: a term meaning ancient, which has been applied to the oldest rocks of the Precambrian.
basement: a set of rocks, usually of igneous or metamorphic rock, that is overlain by younger sedimentary strata. A crustal layer beneath a sedimentary one. The ancient continental igneous rock base that lies beneath Precambrian rocks.
bench: a terrace of level earth or rock that is raised and norrow and that breaks the continuity of a slope
braided river: complex tangle of converging and diverging stream channels separated by sand bars or islands. Characteristic of flood plains where amount of debris is large in relation to discharge .
crystalline rock: a rock made up of minerals in a clearly crystalline state; igneous or metamorphic rock as opposed to sedimentary rock
depositional environment: the environment in which materials were laid, placed or thrown down; specifically the constructive process of accumulation into beds, veins or irregular masses of any kind of loose, solid rock material by any kind of natural agent.
gneiss: a variety of rocks with a banded or coarsely foliated structure formed by regional metamorphism
groundwater: the water contained in interconnected pores located below the water table in an unconfined aquifer or located in a confined aquifer
grain size: average size of mineral particles composing a rock or sediment
impermeable: a rock or unit in which water can not flow thorough
paleotopography: the topography given to an area in geologic past
permeable: a porous formation or rock through which hydrocarbon fluids or water can flow
pore: an opening or channel way in rock or soil
porosity: the ratio of the volume of void spaces in a rock or sediment to the total volume of the rock or sediment
Quaternary: the second period of the Cenozoic geologic era, following the Tertiary, and including the last 2-3 million years
sediment: a mass of organic or inorganic solid fragmented material, or the solid fragment itself, that comes from weathering of a rock and is carried by, suspended in, or dropped by air, water or ice; or a mass that is accumulated by any natural agent that forms in layers on the earth's surface such as sand, gravel, silt, mud, fill or loess. A solid material that is not in solution and either is distributed through the liquid or has settle out of the liquid
stratigraphy: a branch of geology concerned with form, arrangement, geographic distribution, chronological succession, classification, correlation and mutual relationships of rock strata, especially sedimentary
surface water: water found in ponds, lakes, inland seas, streams and rivers
terrace: a horizontal or gently sloping embankment of earth along the contours of a slope to reduce erosion, control runoff or conserve moisture. A long narrow, nearly level surface bounded by a steeper descending slope on one side and by a steeper ascending slope on the other side.
Tertiary: the older major subdivision of the Cenozoic era, extending from the end of the Cretaceous to the beginning of the Quaternary, from 70,000,000 to 2,000,000 years ago
thin section: made by grinding down a slice of rock which has been glued to a glass slide until it reaches a thickness of about 0.03mm (30 microns). At this thickness most minerals become more or less transparent and can therefore be studied by a microscope using transmitted light (http://www.gly.bris.ac.uk/www/teach/opmin/mins.html)
unconformity: the relation between adjacent rock strata whose time of deposition was separated by a period of non-deposition or erosion; a break in the stratigraphic sequence