A body of water or waterbody(often spelled water body) is any significant accumulation of water on the surface of Earth or another planet. The term most often refers to oceans, seas, and lakes, but it includes smaller pools of water such as ponds, wetlands, or more rarely, puddles. A body of water does not have to be still or contained; rivers, streams, canals, and other geographical features where water moves from one place to another are also considered bodies of water.
Most are naturally occurring geographical features, but some are artificial. There are types that can be either. For example, most reservoirs are created by engineering dams, but some natural lakes are used as reservoirs. Similarly, most harbors are naturally occurring bays, but some harbors have been created through construction.
Bodies of water that are navigable are known as waterways. Some bodies of water collect and move water, such as rivers and streams, and others primarily hold water, such as lakes and oceans.
Bodies of water are affected by gravity, which is what creates the tidal effects on Earth.
Note that there are some geographical features involving water that are not bodies of water, for example, waterfalls, geysers and rapids.
An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environments and are an example of an ecotone. Estuaries are subject both to marine influences such as tides, waves, and the influx of saline water, and to fluvial influences such as flows of freshwater and sediment. The mixing of seawater and freshwater provides high levels of nutrients both in the water column and in sediment, making estuaries among the most productive natural habitats in the world.
A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by a narrow landform, such as reefs, barrier islands, barrier peninsulas, or isthmuses. Lagoons are commonly divided into coastal lagoons and atoll lagoons. They have also been identified as occurring on mixed-sand and gravel coastlines. There is an overlap between bodies of water classified as coastal lagoons and bodies of water classified as estuaries. Lagoons are common coastal features around many parts of the world.
A marsh is a wetland that is dominated by herbaceous rather than woody plant species. Marshes can often be found at the edges of lakes and streams, where they form a transition between the aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They are often dominated by grasses, rushes or reeds. If woody plants are present they tend to be low-growing shrubs, and the marsh is sometimes called a carr. This form of vegetation is what differentiates marshes from other types of wetland such as swamps, which are dominated by trees, and mires, which are wetlands that have accumulated deposits of acidic peat.
The Hawaiian people practiced aquaculture through development of fish ponds, the most advanced fish husbandry among the original peoples of the Pacific. While other cultures in places like Egypt and China also used the practice, Hawaii’s aquaculture was very advanced considering the much smaller size of the area compared to others before it. These fishponds were typically shallow areas of a reef flat surrounded by a low lava rock wall built out from the shore. Several species of edible fish thrive in such ponds, and Hawaiians developed methods to make them easy to catch.
In oceanography, geomorphology, and geoscience, a shoal is a natural submerged ridge, bank, or bar that consists of, or is covered by, sand or other unconsolidated material and rises from the bed of a body of water to near the surface. It often refers to those submerged ridges, banks, or bars that rise near enough to the surface of a body of water as to constitute a danger to navigation. Shoals are also known as sandbanks, sandbars, or gravelbars. Two or more shoals that are either separated by shared troughs or interconnected by past or present sedimentary and hydrographic processes are referred to as a shoal complex.
Landforms are categorized by characteristic physical attributes such as their creating process, shape, elevation, slope, orientation, rock exposure, and soil type.
The underwater environment is the region below the surface of, and immersed in, liquid water in a natural or artificial feature, such as an ocean, sea, lake, pond, reservoir, river, canal, or aquifer. Some characteristics of the underwater environment are universal, but many depend on the local situation.
A tidal creek or tidal channel is a narrow inlet or estuary that is affected by ebb and flow of ocean tides. Thus it has variable salinity and electrical conductivity over the tidal cycle, and flushes salts from inland soils. Tidal creeks are characterized by slow water velocity resulting in buildup of fine, organic sediment in wetlands. Creeks may often be a dry to muddy channel with little or no flow at low tide, but with significant depth of water at high tide. Due to the temporal variability of water quality parameters within the tidally influenced zone, there are unique biota associated with tidal creeks which are often specialised to such zones. Nutrients and organic matter are delivered downstream to habitats normally lacking these, while the creeks also provide access to inland habitat for salt-water organisms.
In geography, a bank is the land alongside a body of water. Different structures are referred to as banks in different fields of geography, as follows.
An aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem formed by surrounding a body of water, in contrast to land-based terrestrial ecosystems. Aquatic ecosystems contain communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater ecosystems may be lentic ; lotic ; and wetlands.
The San Diego River is a river in San Diego County, California. It originates in the Cuyamaca Mountains northwest of the town of Julian, then flows to the southwest until it reaches the El Capitan Reservoir, the largest reservoir in the river's watershed at 112,800 acre-feet (139,100,000 m3). Below El Capitan Dam, the river runs west through Santee and San Diego. While passing through Tierrasanta it goes through Mission Trails Regional Park, one of the largest urban parks in America.
In landscape architecture and garden design, a water feature is one or more items from a range of fountains, jeux d'eau, pools, ponds, rills, artificial waterfalls, and streams. Before the 18th century they were usually powered by gravity, though the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon are described by Strabo as supplied by an Archimedean screw and other examples were supplied with water using hydraulic rams.
The Barker Inlet is a tidal inlet of the Gulf St Vincent in Adelaide, South Australia, named after Captain Collet Barker who first sighted it in 1831. It contains one of the southernmost mangrove forests in the world, a dolphin sanctuary, seagrass meadows and is an important fish and shellfish breeding ground. The inlet separates Torrens Island and Garden Island from the mainland to the east, and is characterised by a network of tidal creeks, artificially deepened channels, and wide mudflats. The extensive belt of mangroves are bordered by samphire saltmarsh flats and low-lying sand dunes.
The Hydrography of the San Francisco Bay Area is a complex network of watersheds, marshes, rivers, creeks, reservoirs, and bays predominantly draining into the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean.
A stream is a continuous body of surface water flowing within the bed and banks of a channel. Depending on its location or certain characteristics, a stream may be referred to by a variety of local or regional names. Long large streams are usually called rivers, while smaller, less voluminous and more intermittent streams are known as streamlets, brooks or creeks.
A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, and distinct from any river or other outlet that serves to feed or drain the lake. Lakes lie on land and are not part of the ocean, although, like the much larger oceans, they do form part of the Earth's water cycle. Lakes are distinct from lagoons, which are generally coastal parts of the ocean. Lakes are typically larger and deeper than ponds, which also lie on land, though there are no official or scientific definitions. Lakes can be contrasted with rivers or streams, which usually flow in a channel on land. Most lakes are fed and drained by rivers and streams.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to geography:
Forge River is a partially mixed estuary on the south shore of Long Island in the township of Brookhaven, Suffolk County, New York.
A gut is a narrow coastal body of water, a channel or strait, usually one that is subject to strong tidal currents flowing back and forth. The term is also used in some places for a small creek.
British...especially an inlet...(whereas) NZ, North American, Australian...stream or minor tributary.
North American, Australian, NZ...A stream, brook, or minor tributary of a river.
U.S., Canada , and Australia…a stream smaller than a river.
US, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand a small stream or tributary
a narrow stream
British...especially an inlet
Chiefly Atlantic States and British...a recess or inlet in the shore of the sea.
BRITISH a long narrow area of ocean stretching into the land
Chiefly British a narrow inlet or bay