This general glossary compiles definitions of specialized terms used throughout the Encyclopedia of Earth. Each term listed below has had a blue link created to allow authors to link to the given term in any article without having the reader leave the page. The terms below are words or phrases for which an entire article on the Encylopedia of Earth is not necessarily envisioned:
- Atomic number: The number of protons in the nucleus of a given atom.
- Benthopelagic: Benthopelagic organisms are those inhabiting the lower portion of the water column in surface waters.
- Calcareous: Soils which are high in limestone content.
- Catchment: The entire area of a hydrological drainage basin
- Cirque: An amphitheatre-shaped valley head, formed by glacial erosion
- Demersal: A demersal organism is one living at the bottom of a surface water system
- Diadromous: Fish that migrate between seawater and freshwater
- Endothermic: A process or reaction that releases energy, most often as heat
- Exothermic: A process or reaction that releases energy, most often as heat, light or sound
- Intact: The condition of an ecological habitat being an undisturbed or natural environment
- Laterite: A soil type rich in aluminum and iron, found in wet tropical zones
- Noble gas: Any of the elements with complete electron shells: helium, neon, argon, xenon, krypton, radon
- Post-glacial rebound: Rise of a land mass previously depressed by massive glacier in a prior ice age
- Siliceous: Soils which are crystalline in nature, chiefly silica, and typically acidic
- Thermokarst: Irregular surace landforms resulting from the thawing of ice-rich permafrost
- Vicariance: Formation of a physical barrier that splits a biological taxon range, blocking gene flow or dispersal
- Wind pruning: A process where trees have an asymmetric form due to persistant high winds from a predominant direction
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