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pothole,in geology, cylindrical pit formed in the rocky channel of a turbulent stream. It is formed and enlarged by the abrading action of pebbles and cobbles that are carried by eddies, or circular water currents that move against the main current of a stream. Potholes are most commonly found at the bottoms of eddies in rivers and in plunge pools below cataracts; sometimes potholes in a rock outcrop indicate the former site of a rapid or cataract. Potholes are often found in formerly glaciated regions where whirling columns of glacial meltwater sank well-like holes, or moulins, through the ice. Notable potholes are found in Ausable Chasm, N.Y., and Shelburne Falls, Mass. Potholes also refer to holes formed in human-made materials found in roads that are effected by natural freeze-thaw cycles or moisture (see weatheringweathering,
collective term for the processes by which rock at or near the earth's surface is disintegrated and decomposed by the action of atmospheric agents, water, and living things. Some of these processes are mechanical, e.g.
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A pot-shaped hole in a pavement surface.
A shaftlike cave opening upward to the surface.
Any bowl-shaped, cylindrical, or circular hole formed by the grinding action of a stone in the rocky bed of a river or stream. Also known as churn hole; colk; eddy mill; evorsion hollow; kettle; pot.
A vertical, or nearly vertical shaft in limestone. Also known as aven; cenote.
A small depression with steep sides in a coastal marsh; contains water at or below low-tide level. Also known as rotten spot.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
a. a deep hole in limestone areas resulting from action by running water
b. a circular hole in the bed of a river produced by abrasion
2. a deep hole, esp one produced in a road surface by wear or weathering
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005