Earth Science

 

Infiltration

 

Process by which precipitation that has fallen on land trickles into the ground. 

 

Zone of saturation

 

Region below the Earth’s surface in which groundwater fills all the pores of material. 

 

Water table

 

Upper boundary of the zone of saturation 

 

Zone of aeration

 

Area above water table.  Materials are moist, but not saturated. 

 

Permeability

 

Tendency of material to let water pass through it. 

 

Aquifers

 

Water flows through permeable sediment and rock into large pore spaces.

 

Aquicludes

 

Impermeable layers that are barriers to groundwater flow. 

 

Springs

 

Natural discharges of groundwater. 

 

Hot springs

 

Springs with temperatures higher than the human body. 

 

Geyers

 

Explosive hot springs. 

 

Cave

 

Natural underground opening with a connection to the surface. 

 

Sinkhole

 

A depression in the ground caused by the collapse of a cave 

 

Karst topography

 

Limestone regions that have sinkholes and disappearing streams. 

 

Stalacite

 

Hangs from the cave’s ceiling 

 

Stalagmites

 

Grow from cave floor 

 

Drawdown

 

Difference between original water table and water level in a pumped well. 

 

Recharge

 

Water from precipitation replenishes the water content of an aquifer. 

 

Artesian well

 

An aquifer that contains water under pressure 

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