A body of water or waterbody(often spelled water body) is any significant accumulation of water, generally on a planet's surface. 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.
The term body of water can also refer to a reservoir of water held by a plant, technically known as a phytotelma.
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.
Loch is the Irish, Scottish Gaelic and Scots word for a lake or for a sea inlet. It is cognate with the Manx lough, Cornish logh, and one of the Welsh words for lake, llwch.
In geology, a fjord or fiord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides or cliffs, created by a glacier. There are many fjords on the coasts of Alaska, Antarctica, British Columbia, Chile, Denmark, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Ireland, Kamchatka, the Kerguelen Islands, New Zealand, Norway, Novaya Zemlya, Labrador, Nunavut, Newfoundland, Quebec, Scotland, South Georgia Island, Staten Island (Argentina), and Washington state. Norway's coastline is estimated at 29,000 kilometres (18,000 mi) with nearly 1,200 fjords, but only 2,500 kilometres (1,600 mi) when fjords are excluded.
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.
A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by reefs, barrier islands, or a barrier peninsula. 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.
Firth is a word in the Scots and English languages used to denote various coastal waters in Scotland and even a strait. In the Northern Isles, it more usually refers to a smaller inlet. It is linguistically cognate to fjord which has a more constrained sense in English. Bodies of water named "firths" tend to be more common on the east coast, or in the southwest of the country, although the Firth of Lorn is an exception to this. The Highland coast contains numerous estuaries, straits, and inlets of a similar kind, but not called "firth" ; instead, these are often called sea lochs. Before about 1850, the spelling "Frith" was more common.
In oceanography, geomorphology, and earth sciences, 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. Often it 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.
A ria is a coastal inlet formed by the partial submergence of an unglaciated river valley. It is a drowned river valley that remains open to the sea. Typically, rias have a dendritic, treelike outline although they can be straight and without significant branches. This pattern is inherited from the dendritic drainage pattern of the flooded river valley. The drowning of river valleys along a stretch of coast and formation of rias results in an extremely irregular and indented coastline. Often, there are naturally-occurring islands, which are summits of partly submerged, preexisting hill peaks.
The underwater environment refers to 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.
An inlet is an indentation of a shoreline, usually long and narrow, such as a small bay or arm, that often leads to an enclosed body of salt water, such as a sound, bay, lagoon, or marsh.
The Hackensack River is a river, approximately 45 miles (72 km) long, in the U.S. states of New York and New Jersey, emptying into Newark Bay, a back chamber of New York Harbor. The watershed of the river includes part of the suburban area outside New York City just west of the lower Hudson River, which it roughly parallels, separated from it by the New Jersey Palisades. It also flows through and drains the New Jersey Meadowlands. The lower river, which is navigable as far as the city of Hackensack, is heavily industrialized and forms a commercial extension of Newark Bay. Once believed to be among the most polluted water courses in the United States, it staged a modest revival by the late 2000s.
A tidal creek, tidal channel, or estuary is the portion of a stream that is affected by ebb and flow of ocean tides, in the case that the subject stream discharges to an ocean, sea or strait. Thus this portion of the stream 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.
A bay is a recessed, coastal body of water that directly connects to a larger main body of water, such as an ocean, a lake, or another bay. A large bay is usually called a gulf, sea, sound, or bight. A cove is a type of smaller bay with a circular inlet and narrow entrance. A fjord is a particularly steep bay shaped by glacial activity.
The Shark River is a river in eastern New Jersey that rises in eastern Monmouth County and flows southeast for 11.7 miles (18.8 km), continuing through Neptune Township and Wall Township. The river continues towards the Shark River Inlet, an estuary that feeds into the Atlantic Ocean between Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea.
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 body of water with surface water flowing within the bed and banks of a channel. The flow of a stream is controlled by three inputs - surface water, subsurface water and groundwater. The surface and subsurface water are highly variable between periods of rainfall. Groundwater, on the other hand, has a relatively constant input and is controlled more by long-term patterns of precipitation. The stream encompasses surface, subsurface and groundwater fluxes that respond to geological, geomorphological, hydrological and biotic controls.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to geography:
This glossary of geography terms is a list of definitions of terms and concepts used in geography and related fields, which describe and identify spatial dimension, geographic locations, topographical features, natural resources, and the collection, analysis, and visualization of geographic data. For related terms, see Glossary of geology and Glossary of environmental science.
St Georges Basin is an open intermediate estuary, or inland sea, located in the South Coast region of New South Wales, adjacent to the Jervis Bay Territory.
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. A gut may also be 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
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