Key words

Drainage basin
The area of land drained by a river
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Catchment area
The area within the drainage basin
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The process by which water vapour is converted into water
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Large amounts of energy (from heat) transform water into water vapour
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The total amount of moisture lost from a plant by evaporation and transpiration
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Groundwater flow
Groundwater flows through sedimentary rock to return to the basin
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When raindrops are prevented from directly reaching the soil
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The downward movement of water within the rock under the soil surface
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Water in any form which falls from the atmosphere to the earth's surface
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Soil moisture
The total amount of water, including the vapour, in an unsaturated soil
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Water which flows down stems to reach the ground
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Surface run-off
All the water that enters a river and eventually flows out the drainage basin
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Surface storage
The total volume of water held on the earth's surface in lakes, ponds and puddles
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When water drips off leaves during rainfall
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Water that moves down-slope through sub-soil
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The process of water movement through a plant and it's evaporation
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An area of ridge which separates water flowing to different drainage basins
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The global hydrological cycle
The continuous movement of water between land, sea and air
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A drainage basin hydrological cycle
The movement of water within a rivers drainage basin
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Potential evapotranspiration
The evapotranspiration that would occur if there was an unlimited supply of water in the soil
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Soil moisture utilisation
When soil moisture levels are going down, and stores are being used up
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Field capacity
The amount of water that soil can hold
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The water balance
Describes the balance between the water inputs and outputs of a drainage system
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River discharge
The volume of water passing a particular point in a river during any given time period
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A graph showing the variations in a rivers discharge over a short period of time
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River regime/annual hydrograph
A graph showing a rivers discharge over a year
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Water that reaches the channel via throughflow
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Lag time
The time delay between maximum rainfall and peak discharge
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Peak discharge
Indicates the highest flow in the channel
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Flood/storm hydrograph
A graph that shows the variation in a rivers discharge following a rainstorm or single precipitation event
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Antecedent discharge
The level of discharge before the storm
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The scraping action of the load on the banks and bed of the river channel
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Hydraulic action
The movement of loose rock due to the frictional drag of moving water
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When minerals in the rock are dissolved by weak acids in the water
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The reduction in size of particles and fragments of rock in a river due to processes erosion such as abrasion, corrosion and hydraulic action
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Boulders and stones roll along the river bed at periods of high discharge
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Small stones bounce along the river bed during periods of high discharge
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Very small particles of sand and silt are carried along by the river
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Dissolved minerals are transported within the mass of the moving water
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Capacity of a river
The amount of material a river can carry
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Competence of a river
The diameter of the largest particle a river can carry
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The heaviest boulders and largest calibre material that's too heavy to be permanently carried by the river
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Suspended load
This forms the bulk of the sediment carried by rivers and comprises of fine muds and clays
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Dissolved/solution load
The load picked up by the river if it runs though areas with soluble rocks
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Wetted perimeter
The total length of the river bed and banks in cross section that are in contact with water in the channel
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Hydraulic radius
Cross-sectional area / wetted perimeter
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An increase in a river's potential energy
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Isostatic change
A fall in base level relative to the level of the land
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Eustatic change
A rise in the land relative to sea level
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A graded river
A river which is flowing at base level
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Points in the river where the base level has dropped leaving a ridge, usually marked by the presence of a waterfall or rapid
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Incised meander
A meander which has been deepened and incised by a fall in the base level of a river
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Entrenched meander
Are symmetrical incised meanders which form when the rivers down cuts quickly and so vertical erosion occurs
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Ingrown meander
Are asymmetrical incised meanders which form when the river down cuts slowly allowing time for both lateral and vertical erosion
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Braided channel
A type of channel which is divided into smaller sub-channels by small, temporary islands called eyots
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Circular holes in the bed of a river caused by vertical erosion and processes of abrasion
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A winding curve of a river
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Ox-bow lakes
A curved lake formed from a horseshoe bend in a river where the main stream has cut across the narrow end and no longer flows around the loop of the bend
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Raised banks of a river that are created by material being deposited on the edges of a river during flooding
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A flat area surrounding a river inside a large valley
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A river or body of water's steep fall over a rocky ledge into a plunge pool below
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A fast flowing and turbulent part in the course of a river
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Areas of sediment deposited at the mouth of a river when it enters a slow moving body of water such as a lake or sea
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Recurrence interval
The interval of time at which a particular magnitude of flooding will occur
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The severity of a flood, it is related to it's frequency
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


The area within the drainage basin


Catchment area

Card 3


The process by which water vapour is converted into water


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Large amounts of energy (from heat) transform water into water vapour


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


The total amount of moisture lost from a plant by evaporation and transpiration


Preview of the back of card 5
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