estuary

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estuary

(ĕs`cho͝oĕr'ē), partially enclosed coastal body of water, having an open connection with the ocean, where freshwater from inland is mixed with saltwater from the sea. One type of estuary, called a drowned river valley, can be caused by crustal subsidence or a rise in sea level. Chesapeake Bay is one of the largest estuaries of this type in the United States and was formed during the melting of the Pleistocene ice sheets (see Pleistocene epochPleistocene epoch
, 6th epoch of the Cenozoic era of geologic time (see Geologic Timescale, table). According to a classification that considered its deposits to have been formed by the biblical great flood, the epoch was originally called the Quaternary.
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). Fjordsfjord
or fiord
, steep-sided inlet of the sea characteristic of glaciated regions. Fjords probably resulted from the scouring by glaciers of valleys formed by any of several processes, including faulting and erosion by running water.
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, or drowned glacial troughs, form similar types of estuaries, particularly in Norway, Alaska, New Zealand, and other glaciated, mountainous coastal regions. Salt marshes and lagoons found behind barrier beaches, such as along the south shore of Long Island, and down faulted sections of the earth's crust, such as San Francisco Bay, are additional types of estuaries. The shape of an estuary affects the height of the tide; some estuaries (such as the Severn and the Bay of Fundy) are characterized by a wavelike tidal borebore,
inrush of water that advances upstream with a wavelike front, caused by the progress of incoming tide from a wide-mouthed bay into its narrower portion. The tidal movement tends to be retarded by friction as it reaches the shallower water and meets the river current; it
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. Estuaries represent one of the most sensitive and ecologically important habitats on earth. They provide sanctuary for many species of waterfowl, store nutrients for larval and juvenile marine life, and serve as breeding grounds for many desirable species of ocean fish. Since estuaries commonly provide excellent harbors, most of the large ports in the United States (New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Mobile, Galveston, Seattle, and San Francisco) are located in estuaries. However, the development of high-density population centers causes deleterious effects that can destroy the very properties of the estuary that made development of the region possible. Human impact on estuaries includes reclamation of tidal land by filling; pollution from sewage, solid waste, industrial effluent, and hot water; increased sedimentation filling the estuary; and alteration of the salinity of estuarine waters by withdrawal or increased influx of freshwater. Increasingly, federal and state governments are passing legislation to protect estuarine environments.

Estuary

 

a single-channel, funnel-shaped seaward end of a river that widens toward the sea. Estuaries form in cases where the sediment carried by the river is removed by sea currents or tidal movements and the adjacent part of the sea is very deep. In such cases no sediment is deposited at the mouth, even if the sediment load is large. The Enisei and the Thames are two of the many rivers that have estuaries.

estuary

[′es·chə ‚wer·ē]
(geography)
A semienclosed coastal body of water which has a free connection with the open sea and within which sea water is measurably diluted with fresh water. Also known as branching bay; drowned river mouth; firth.

estuary

1. the widening channel of a river where it nears the sea, with a mixing of fresh water and salt (tidal) water
2. an inlet of the sea
References in periodicals archive ?
While anglers were struggling to catch salmon, and when they did they sportingly put them back in the water, the estuarial and coastal nets were hauling them out.
As a toll road, it would not have attracted the high percentage of Wales/England traffic which an estuarial crossing, the Severn Bridges, have done.
Florida flounder come back to their estuarial homes for the summer, where they feast on little mullet and shrimp in the seagrasses and shallow channels, before they get pushed back out to deeper water by the first cold fronts later in the fall.
Martyn Heighton, chairman of the UK's Historic Ship Register committee, said: "The scrapping of the historic Mersey estuarial coaster Wincham is an unbelievable state of affairs.
Even today, the sheer density of wildlife is literally mind-boggling--inland and estuarial waters teem with fish, and shrimp, and Louisiana is home to North America's primary migratory flyway, with flocks of songbirds and waterfowl darkening the sky.
The benefit of NW's massive investment programme in coastal and estuarial sewage treatment works in the North-east is clearly demonstrated by the continued improvements in the quality of the region's bathing waters.
This will bring the Mersey Tunnels in line with all other UK tolled estuarial crossings.
Massive improvements throughout the century-old system are required to reduce pollutant flows from an aging infrastructure network into sensitive fresh water, wetland and estuarial environments, including Lake Ponchartrain and the Mississippi River.
There are of course other means of producing clean energy - nuclear power, estuarial barrages, hydro-electric and so on, but these are all many, many years away from introduction.
23mile Queensway Tunnel is the longest tunnelled estuarial road crossing in the UK and it carries more than llm vehicles a year.
They may have been classed as estuarial crossings to suit the arguments from successive governments for tolls.