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Unit 4

Weathering, Erosion, Deposition, and Landforms

TermDefinition
Weathering The breakdown of rock material into smaller pieces, by a physical or chemical process.
Physical Weathering The process by which rock is broken down by physical changes such as temperature changes, pressure changes, plant and animal actions, water, wind, and gravity.
Abrasion The breaking down or wearing away of rock material by the mechanical action of other rock. Three agents (causes) of this are water, wind, and gravity.
Chemical weathering The breakdown of rocks by chemical reactions. Agents include oxygen and acids.
Oxidation The process by which other chemical compounds in a rock combine and react with oxygen.
Acid Precipitation Chemicals that are formed when fossil fuels are burned combine with with water in the atmosphere; this mixture then falls to earth.
Erosion The process by which sediment is moved from one place to another. Water, wind, ice, and gravity can cause this.
Sediment Tiny grains of broken-down rock
Deposition The process by which eroded sediment is dropped or set down. This occurs when gravity's downward pull on a sediment is greater than the push of flowing water or wind.
Canyon A deep channel cut into a landscape over time by erosion from a stream or river.
Floodplain A flat area formed by many layers of deposited sediment.
Delta A fan-shaped pattern formed when a stream deposits its load of sediment.
Sea Cliff This landform is created when waves erode rocks to form steep slopes.
Wave-cut platform A sea cliff that has been eroded down to the waterline to form an underwater "bench"
Headland A finger-shaped projection formed from eroded sea cliffs.
Meander A curve or bend in a stream. Erosion occurs on the outer bank, deposition occurs on the inner bank.
Oxbow Lake A crescent- or horseshoe-shaped lake that forms from a cut-off meander.
Beach An area of shoreline made up of sediment deposited by waves and currents.
Sandbar An underwater ridge of sand, gravel, or shell material.
Barrier island A long, narrow island usually made of sand, that forms parallel to the shoreline.
Dune Mounds of wind-deposited sand
Loess Thick deposits of windblown, fine-grained sediment.
Glacier A large mass of moving ice that forms by the compacting of snow.
Glacial drift All materials or sediment carried and deposited by a glacier.
Creep The extremely slow movement of material or sediment down a slope.
Rockfall Loose rocks fall down a steep slope.
Landslide The sudden and rapid movement of a lot of material down a slope.
Mudflow The rapid movement of a large amount of mud that forms when a large amount of water mixes with soil and rocks.
Coastline An ever-changing boundary between land and ocean.