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Explain Salt Marsh

Salt Marsh Explained!

Salt Marsh Technical Terms

Salt Marsh: Flat, poorly drained area that is subject to periodic or occasional overflow by salt water, containing water that is brackish to strongly saline, and usually covered with a thick mat of grassy halophytic plants; e.g., a coastal marsh periodically flooded by the sea, or an inland marsh, (or salina) in an arid region and subject to intermittent overflow by salty water. Compare - tidal marsh, mud flat. GG

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Explain Salt Pond

Salt Pond Explained!

Salt Pond Technical Terms

Salt Pond: A large or small body of salt water in a marsh or swamp along the seacoast. GG

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Remember Sand Boil

Sand Boil Remembered!

Sand Boil Technical Terms

Sand Boil: An accumulation of sand commonly in the form of a low mound, produced by the expulsion of liquefied sand to the ground surface; sometimes called sand volcanoes (not preferred). Examples are found on top of some landslide deposits (i.e. spreads) or on the upper surface of highly contorted layers of laminated sediments. SW & GG

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Expose Sand Flow

Sand Flow Exposed!

Sand Flow Technical Terms

Sand Flow: a) A flow of wet sand, as along banks of noncohesive clean sand that is subject to scour and to repeated fluctuations in pore-water pressure due to rise and fall of the tide. b) A flow of loose, dry sand, as along the slip face of a sand dune; typically a microfeature. SW, CV & GG

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Expose Sandhills

Sandhills Exposed!

Sandhills Technical Terms

Sandhills: A region of semi-stabilized sand dunes or sandy hills, either covered with vegetation or bare, as in north-central Nebraska and the midlands of the Carolinas. GG

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Explain Sand Pit

Sand Pit Explained!

Sand Pit Technical Terms

Sand Pit: A depression, ditch or pit excavated to furnish sand for roads or other construction purposes off-site; a type of borrow pit. SW

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Discover Sand Plain

Sand Plain Discovered!

Sand Plain Technical Terms

Sand Plain: (a ) [geomorphology] A sand-covered plain, which may originate by deflation of sand dunes, and whose lower limit of erosion is governed by the water table. Also spelled sandplain. GG (b) [glacial geology] (not preferred – refer to sandy outwash plain) A small outwash plain composed chiefly of sand deposited by meltwater streams flowing from a glacier. GG

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Remember Sand Ramp

Sand Ramp Remembered!

Sand Ramp Technical Terms

Sand Ramp: A sand sheet blown up onto the lower slopes of a bedrock hill or mountain and forming an inclined plane, sometimes filling small mountain-side valleys and even crossing low passes. Compare – climbing dune, sand sheet. FFP & SW

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Expose Sand Ridge

Sand Ridge Exposed!

Sand Ridge Technical Terms

Sand Ridge: (a) (not preferred) An imprecise, generic name for any low ridge of sand, formed at some distance from shore, e.g. submerged (longshore bar) or emergent (barrier beach). (b) One of a series of long, wide, extremely low, parallel ridges believed to represent the eroded stumps of former longitudinal sand dunes, as in western Zimbabwe. GG

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Remember Sand Sheet

Sand Sheet Remembered!

Sand Sheet Technical Terms

Sand Sheet: A large, irregularly shaped, commonly thin, surficial mantle of eolian sand, lacking the discernible slip faces that are common on dunes. GG

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Remember Sanitary Landfill

Sanitary Landfill Remembered!

Sanitary Landfill Technical Terms

Sanitary Landfill: A land area where municipal solid waste is buried in a manner engineered to minimize environmental degradation. Commonly the waste is compacted and ultimately covered with soil or other earthy material. Compare – dump. GG

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Explain Saprolite

Saprolite Explained!

Saprolite Technical Terms

Saprolite: Soft, friable, isovolumetrically weathered bedrock that retains the fabric and structure of the parent rock (Colman and Dethier, 1986) and exhibiting extensive inter-crystal and intra-crystal weathering. In pedology, saprolite was formerly applied to any unconsolidated residual material underlying the soil and grading to hard bedrock below. Compare - grus, residuum. SW & HP

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Remember scabland

scabland Remembered!

scabland Technical Terms

scabland: An elevated, flat-lying, basalt-floored area, with little if any soil cover, sparse vegetation, and usually deep, dry channels scoured into the surface, especially by glacial meltwaters such as the Channeled Scablands of eastern Washington. Compare - coulee. GG

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Expose scalped area

scalped area Exposed!

scalped area Technical Terms

scalped area: a) A modified slope, feature, or land area where much or all of the natural soil has been mechanically removed (e.g. scraped off) due to construction or other management practices. Compare – truncated soil. b) A forest soil area where the ground vegetation and root mat has been removed to expose mineral soil in preparation for planting or seeding. Compare – truncated soil. SW

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Remember scarp

scarp Remembered!

scarp Technical Terms

scarp: An escarpment, cliff, or steep slope of some extent along the margin of a plateau, mesa, terrace, or structural bench. A scarp may be of any height. Compare - escarpment. GG

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Remember scarp slope

scarp slope Remembered!

scarp slope Technical Terms

scarp slope: The relatively steeper face of a cuesta, facing in a direction opposite to the dip of the strata. Compare - dip slope. GG

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Discover Scoria

Scoria Discovered!

Scoria Technical Terms

Scoria: (a) [soils] Vesicular, rock fragments > 2 mm in at least one dimension and a specific gravity > 2.0, or a cindery crust of such material on the surface of andesitic or basaltic lava; the vesicular nature is due to the escape of volcanic gases before solidification; it is usually heavier, darker, and more crystalline than pumice. Compare - cinder, pumice, tephra; (b) [geology] The same as (a) except no size restrictions are applied. SW

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Expose Scour

Scour Exposed!

Scour Technical Terms

Scour: (a) The powerful and concentrated clearing and digging action of flowing air, water, or ice, especially the downward erosion by stream water in sweeping away mud and silt on the outside curve of a bend, or during the time of a flood; a process. (b) A place in a stream bed swept (scoured) by running water, generally leaving a gravel bottom. GG

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Discover Scour And Fill

Scour And Fill Discovered!

Scour And Fill Technical Terms

Scour And Fill: A process of alternate excavation and refilling of a channel, as by a stream or the tides; especially such a process occurring in time of flood, when the discharge and velocity of an aggrading stream are suddenly increased, causing the digging of new channels that become filled with sediment when the flood subsides. Compare - cut and fill. GG

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Remember Scree

Scree Remembered!

Scree Technical Terms

Scree: A collective term for an accumulation of coarse rock debris or a sheet of coarse debris mantling a slope. Scree is not a synonym of talus, as scree includes loose, coarse fragment material on slopes without cliffs. Compare - talus, colluvium, mass movement. HP

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Discover Sea

Sea Discovered!

Sea Technical Terms

Sea: A large inland body of salt water (e.g. the Sultan Sea, CA). b) A geographic subdivision of an ocean (e.g. the South China Sea). Compare – gulf, ocean, salt pond. GG

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Explain Scree Slope

Scree Slope Explained!

Scree Slope Technical Terms

Scree Slope: A portion of a hillside or mountainslope mantled by scree and lacking an up-slope rockfall source (i.e. cliff). Compare – talus slope, scree, talus. SW

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Expose Sea Cliff

Sea Cliff Exposed!

Sea Cliff Technical Terms

Sea Cliff: A cliff or slope produced by wave erosion, situated at the seaward edge of the coast or the landward side of the wave-cut platform. It may vary from an inconspicuous slope to a high, steep escarpment. GG

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Remember Sediment

Sediment Remembered!

Sediment Technical Terms

Sediment: Material, both mineral and organic, that is in suspension, is being transported, or has been moved from its site of origin by water, wind, ice or mass-wasting and has come to rest on the earth's surface either above or below sea level. Sediment in a broad sense also includes materials precipitated from solution or emplaced by explosive volcanism, as well as organic remains; e.g., peat that has not been subject to appreciable transport. HP

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Discover Sedimentary Peat

Sedimentary Peat  Discovered!

Sedimentary Peat Technical Terms

Sedimentary Peat : An accumulation of organic material that is predominantly the remains of floating aquatic plants (e.g. algae) and the remains and fecal material of aquatic animals, including coprogenous earth. Compare - herbaceous peat, moss peat, woody peat, peat, muck, and mucky peat. SSM

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Explain Seep

Seep Explained!

Seep Technical Terms

Seep: An area, generally small, where water outflows slowly at the land surface. Flow rates for seeps are too small to be considered as springs, but reflow and / or lateral subsurface flow keeps the surface or near soil saturated during dry periods. SW & GG

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Explain Seif Dune

Seif Dune Explained!

Seif Dune Technical Terms

Seif Dune: A large, sharp-crested, elongated, longitudinal (linear) dune or chain of sand dunes, oriented parallel, rather than transverse (perpendicular), to the prevailing wind. If unmodified, the crest, in profile, commonly consists of a succession of curved slip faces produced by strong, but infrequent cross winds. A seif dune may be as much as 200 m high and from 400 m to more than 100 km long. Compare – longitudinal dune. GG and HP

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Expose Semi-Open Depression

Semi-Open Depression Exposed!

Semi-Open Depression Technical Terms

Semi-Open Depression: A topographically enclosed basin that generally functions as a closed depression and lacks a defined exit channel. Surface water loss may occur via overland flow through a topographic low area or gap in response to large storm events. Semi-open depressions commonly contain small lakes, ponds, or wet meadows dominated by hydric soils (e.g. in karst valleys, or in low areas on marine terraces with < 1 % slopes). SW

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Expose Slick Rock

Slick Rock Exposed!

Slick Rock Technical Terms

Slick Rock: A barren, highly smoothed and subrounded bedrock pavement with considerable, irregular topography sculpted primarily by wind in an arid climate; a type of rock outcrop common on the top of massive sandstone bedrock (e.g. Navajo, Windgate, or Kayenta Formations), especially on summits of ridges and near the leading edge of plateaus, mesas and cuestas. Compare – pavement karst. SW

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Discover Sewage Lagoon

Sewage Lagoon Discovered!

Sewage Lagoon Technical Terms

Sewage Lagoon: Any artificial pond or other water-filled excavation for the natural oxidation of sewage or disposal of animal manure. GG

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Explain Shale

Shale Explained!

Shale Technical Terms

Shale: Sedimentary rock formed by induration of a clay, silty clay, or silty clay loam deposit and having the tendency to split into thin layers, i.e., fissility. HP

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Discover Shield Volcano

Shield Volcano Discovered!

Shield Volcano Technical Terms

Shield Volcano: A volcano having the shape of a very broad, gently sloping dome, built by flows of very fluid basaltic lava or rhyolitic ash flows. Compare - stratovolcano. GG & MA

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Explain Semi-Bolson

Semi-Bolson Explained!

Semi-Bolson Technical Terms

Semi-Bolson: A wide desert basin or valley that is drained by an intermittent stream, an externally drained (open) intermontane basin. Compare - bolson GG

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Explain Shoal

Shoal Explained!

Shoal Technical Terms

Shoal: A surficial ridge, bank, or bar consisting of sand or other subaqueous deposit that has become permanently exposed by the retreat or lowering of a proglacial lake or other body of water. Compare - longshore bar [relict]. GG

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Explain shoreline

shoreline Explained!

shoreline Technical Terms

shoreline: The intersection of a specified plane of water with the beach; it migrates with changes of the tide or of the water level. Compare - shore complex, beach, swash zone. GG

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Remember Shoulder

Shoulder Remembered!

Shoulder Technical Terms

Shoulder: The hillslope profile position that forms the convex, erosional surface near the top of a hillslope. If present, it comprises the transition zone from summit to backslope. Compare - summit, crest, backslope, footslope, and toeslope. SW & HP

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Discover Shrub-Coppice Dune

Shrub-Coppice Dune Discovered!

Shrub-Coppice Dune Technical Terms

Shrub-Coppice Dune: A small, streamlined dune that forms around brush and clump vegetation. GG

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Explain Side Slope

Side Slope Explained!

Side Slope Technical Terms

Side Slope: A geomorphic component of hills consisting of a laterally planar area of a hillside, resulting in predominantly parallel overland water flow (e.g., sheet wash); contour lines generally form straight lines. Side slopes are dominated by colluvium and slope wash sediments. Slope complexity (downslope shape) can range from simple to complex. Compare - head slope, nose slope, free face, interfluve, crest, base slope. SW; The slope bounding a drainageway and lying between the drainageway and the adjacent interfluve. It is generally linear along the slope width. RR

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Explain Sill

Sill Explained!

Sill Technical Terms

Sill: A tabular, igneous intrusion that parallels the bedding or foliation of the surrounding sedimentary or metamorphic rock. Compare - dike. GG

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Discover Sinkhole Karst

Sinkhole Karst Discovered!

Sinkhole Karst Technical Terms

Sinkhole Karst: A landscape dominated by subsurface drainage and sinkholes (dolines) that range widely in sizes and density; the most common type of karst in upland areas of temperate regions (e.g. Highland Rim of TN, northern FL, southwestern MO, etc.); also called doline karst (not preferred). Compare fluviokarst, pavement karst, glaciokarst, karst. SW, WW, & GG

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Discover Siltite

Siltite Discovered!

Siltite Technical Terms

Siltite: A compact, weakly metamorphosed rock formed by alteration of siltstone, mudstone or silty shale. Siltite is more indurated than mudstone or shale and lacks either shale fissility or slate-like cleavage. Siltite differs from argillite in that silt-size grains (0.002 to 0.062 mm) dominate the matrix rather than clay-size particles (-0.002 mm). Siltite differs from siltstone, mudstone, or shale in that it exhibits very low to low grade metamorphic or diagenetic layer silicate and feldspar alteration to sericite, chlorite, and albite (subgreenschist to greenschist metamorphic facies) (Maxwell, 1973; Kidder, 1987). SW

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Expose Siltstone

Siltstone Exposed!

Siltstone Technical Terms

Siltstone: An indurated silt having the texture and composition of shale but lacking its fine lamination or fissility; a massive mudstone in which silt predominates over clay. GG.

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Discover Sinkhole

Sinkhole Discovered!

Sinkhole Technical Terms

Sinkhole: A closed, circular or elliptical depression, commonly funnel-shaped, characterized by subsurface drainage and formed either by dissolution of the surface of underlying bedrock (e.g., limestone, gypsum, salt) (solution sinkhole) or by collapse of underlying caves within bedrock (collapse sinkhole); diameters range from a few meters to as much as 1000 m. Complexes of sinkholes in carbonate-rock terrain are the main components of karst topography. Synonym (not preferred) - doline. Compare – karst valley, interior valley, cockpit. SW & WW

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Explain Skid Trail

Skid Trail Explained!

Skid Trail Technical Terms

Skid Trail: Irregularly spaced, roughly linear to radial depressions or small mounds associated with shallow to deep soil disturbance caused by dragging logs across a slope from where they were cut down to a central processing area such as a log landing during timber harvest operations. SW

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Expose Slackwater

Slackwater Exposed!

Slackwater Technical Terms

Slackwater: A quiet part of, or a still body of water in a stream. Compare - backswamp. GG

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Remember Slide

Slide Remembered!

Slide Technical Terms

Slide: A category of mass movement processes, associated sediments (slide deposit) or resultant landforms (e.g., rotational slide, translational slide, and snowslide) characterized by a failure of earth, snow, or rock under shear stress along one or several surfaces that are either visible or may reasonably be inferred. The moving mass may or may not be greatly deformed, and movement may be rotational (rotational slide) or planar (translational slide). A slide can result from lateral erosion, lateral pressure, weight of overlying material, accumulation of moisture, earthquakes, expansion owing to freeze-thaw of water in cracks, regional tilting, undermining, fire, and human agencies. Compare - fall, topple, lateral spread, flow, complex landslide. SW & DV (b) The track of bare rock or furrowed earth left by a slide. (c) The mass of material moved in or deposited by a slide. Compare - fall, flow, complex landslide, landslide. SW & GG

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Discover Slip Face

Slip Face Discovered!

Slip Face Technical Terms

Slip Face: The steeply sloping surface on the lee side of a dune, standing at or near the angle of repose of loose sand, and advancing downwind by a succession of slides wherever that angle is exceeded. GG

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Discover Slip Surface

Slip Surface Discovered!

Slip Surface Technical Terms

Slip Surface: A landslide displacement surface, often slickensided and striated, or brecciated, and subplanar. It is best exhibited in argillaceous materials and in those materials which are highly susceptible to clay alteration when granulated; also called shear surface (not preferred). Compare – main scarp, landslide, escarpment. GG

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Explain Slope

Slope Explained!

Slope Technical Terms

Slope: The inclination of the land surface from the horizontal. Percent slope is the vertical distance divided by the horizontal distance, then multiplied by 100. SW

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Explain Slope Alluvium

Slope Alluvium Explained!

Slope Alluvium Technical Terms

Slope Alluvium: Sediment gradually transported down mountain or hill slopes primarily by non-channel alluvial processes (i.e., slope wash processes) and characterized by particle sorting. Lateral particle sorting is evident on long slopes. In a profile sequence, sediments may be distinguished by differences in size and/or specific gravity of coarse fragments and may be separated by stone lines. Sorting of rounded or subrounded pebbles or cobbles and burnished peds distinguish these materials from unsorted colluvial deposits. Compare – colluvium, slope wash. SW & HP