The Glossary of Bodies of Water

Aquifer – An aquifer is a layer of material such as rock or sand, gravel, etc. that is found underground and from which water can be extracted.

Basin – The term basin refers to lands that desc into streams or rivers.

Bay – A bay is a body of water partially enclosed by land.

Bayou – The term bayou refers to a slow-moving river, stream, or a marshy wetland or lake. Bayous are most often found in low-lying, flat areas.

Canal – A canal is a water channel that is man made.

Channel – A channel is a body of water which connects two larger bodies of water.

ConfluenceA confluence is a combination of two or more streams flowing together.

Cove – A cove is a small body of water along a coast. The land surrounding the cove is often made up of soft rock.

Creek – A creek is a small stream of water that often times merges with a larger river.

Delta – A delta is the watery land that forms at the mouth of a river.

Draw – A draw is a valley or gorge that is found between rock clefts.

Endorheic Basin – An endorheic basin is a basin that does not flow to a major ocean.

Estuary – An estuary is the area where a river comes into contact with a sea or ocean.

FjordA fjord is a long and narrow sea inlet that has steep sides and is formed when a glacier cuts a valley into the surrounding bedrock.

Floodplain – A floodplain is nearly flat or flat land that is located next to a river or stream and that experiences occasional flooding.

Gulf – A gulf is a portion of the sea or ocean that is partially surrounded by land.

Harbor – A harbor is a protected inlet of a lake, sea, etc.

Hydrothermal Vent – A hydrothermal vent is a fissure on the Earth’s surface where heated water comes forth from underground.

Inlet – An inlet is a body of water, typically seawater, that has characteristics of other bodies of water such as fjords, bays, coves, and so on.

Lagoon – A lagoon is a body of water that is shallow and found along a coast.

Lake – A lake is a large body of water that is surrounded by land on all sides.

Loch – A loch is another term for a body of water such as a lake, bay, fjord, sea inlet, etc.

Ocean – An ocean is a large body of saltwater that surrounds the Earth’s continents.

Reservoir – A reservoir is an artificial body of water, such as a lake, that is used for storing water.

River – A river is a body of water that flows and typically empties into an ocean or sea.

Sea – A sea is a large body of saline water that many times connects to an ocean. It may also describe a lake which does not have a natural outlet to an ocean.

Sound – A sound is a wide inlet that separates two bodies of land.

Spring – A spring is a place at which groundwater flows up out of the ground.

Strait – A strait is a narrow body of water that connects larger bodies of water to each other.

StreamA stream is a small body of water that has a flowing current and it contains banks and a bed.

Swamp – A swamp is a type of wetland that contains freshwater.

Tributary – A tributary is a river or stream that flows into a larger river.

WhirlpoolA whirlpool is water that occurs in a rapid, swirling motion. It is caused by the meeting of two opposing currents.


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