accretion

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accretion

1. Botany the growing together of normally separate plant or animal parts
2. Pathol
a. abnormal union or growing together of parts; adhesion
b. a mass of foreign matter collected in a cavity
3. Law an increase in the share of a beneficiary in an estate, as when a co-beneficiary fails to take his share
4. Astronomy the process in which matter under the influence of gravity is attracted to and increases the mass of a celestial body. The matter usually forms an accretion disc around the accreting object
5. Geology the process in which a continent is enlarged by the tectonic movement and deformation of the earth's crust

accretion

(aggregation) The increase in mass of a body by the addition of smaller bodies that collide and stick to it. The relative velocity of any two colliding bodies must be low enough for them to coalesce on impact rather than fly apart. Once a large enough body forms, its gravitational attraction accelerates the accretion process. Accreting objects in the Universe are numerous and diverse. They include protoplanets, protostars, black holes, and X-ray binaries. The accretion process is thought to occur generally in the form of a disk. Accretion is now assumed to have had an important role in the formation of the planets from swarms of dust grains. In the outer Solar System the grains were like dirty snowflakes and thus accretion was accelerated. See Solar System, origin.

accretion

[ə′krē·shən]
(astronomy)
A process in which a star gathers molecules of interstellar gas to itself by gravitational attraction.
(civil engineering)
Artificial buildup of land due to the construction of a groin, breakwater, dam, or beach fill.
(geology)
Gradual buildup of land on a shore due to wave action, tides, currents, airborne material, or alluvial deposits.
The process whereby stones or other inorganic masses add to their bulk by adding particles to their surfaces. Also known as aggradation.
(meteorology)
The growth of a precipitation particle by the collision of a frozen particle (ice crystal or snowflake) with a supercooled liquid droplet which freezes upon contact.