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Questions tagged [terminology]

Terminology is the study of terms and their use. Terms are words and compound words that in specific contexts are given specific meanings, meanings that may deviate from the meaning the same words have in other contexts and in everyday language.

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Equinoxes and solstices: start of the season or mid-season?

In the United States, the upcoming autumnal equinox is marked on most calendars as the "first day of autumn." Similarly the solstices are commonly called the "first day of summer" and "first day of ...
rob's user avatar
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22 votes
6 answers
131k views

Is there a difference between rock and stone?

I couldn't find the definitions from either source: Geology Dictionary Glossary of Geologic Terms
Armadillo's user avatar
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18 votes
3 answers
17k views

What is the difference between eluvium and alluvium?

I was reading about kimberlite on Wikipedia and it mentioned eluvium. I've heard of alluvium, alluvial fans, alluvial deposits, etc. However, when I looked up eluvium, it sounded exactly like alluvium....
Richard's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
336 views

Naming convention for sea ice thickness per unit area of ice or ocean

When defining an area average of sea ice thickness, it is important to distinguish between an average taken over an ocean area $$h_1 = \sum \frac{\text{sea ice thickness (in area)}}{\text{area}_\text{...
BHF's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
4k views

Why is colored seismic inversion called 'colored'?

One of the seismic inversion algorithms is called 'colored' inversion. It is performed in the frequency domain and the point is in building an operator that directly transforms a seismic trace into ...
antongrin's user avatar
  • 315
13 votes
2 answers
170 views

What are the guidelines for constructing variable names that follow CF conventions?

I am attempting to develop variable names following Unidata's climate forecasting (CF) variable naming guidelines, but for biological variables used to parameterize and evaluate land surface and ...
David LeBauer's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
709 views

What does the term "Snow Interval" mean?

When looking Weather Station readings from the National Weather Service website, what does the term "Snow Interval (inches)" actually mean? 6 hr and 24 hr readings are obvious, but I can't seem to ...
RyanKDalton's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why is q used for specific humidity?

$q$ is the symbol used for specific humidity in many textbooks and papers (at least in meteorology and climatology, I'm not familiar with it in other disciplines). Where does this symbol come from, ...
naught101's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
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Esker vs. Kame vs. Drumlin - what's the difference?

In researching glacial features, I came across the terms esker, drumlin, and kame. I know that they are all depositional features that are shaped like a mound. My impression is that an esker is longer ...
Cyclopropane's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
316 views

Does this optical phenomenon have a name?

Last summer, I snuck out with a row boat around 4am. Eventually with the sun risen but still quite low in the horizon, I was rowing in the middle of the absolutely still lake when I witnessed an ...
user158589's user avatar
9 votes
5 answers
900 views

Correct phrase for a 'forgetful' natural system?

This is a rather general question: assume I have a system that has a certain 'forgetful' property, which means that while I can offset its current state for a moment, it will eventually return to its ...
C.Miller's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Horizon letter for bedrock

What is the official letter for the bedrock soil horizon? I know that the letters to represent the A, B, and C horizons are widespread, but the fourth layer (bedrock) is referred to with different ...
Timtech's user avatar
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9 votes
4 answers
986 views

What do you call boulders of non sedimentary rock that were lithified into sandstone?

I'm convinced there is a word for this. I was in the Hoodoos at Writing on Stone this weekend and kept noticing what looked like reddish quartzite boulders laying around in the sand, or sometimes ...
ShemSeger's user avatar
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9 votes
1 answer
228 views

What is Geoalchemy?

I am reading this paper, and the authors have an interesting affiliation: Center for Geoalchemy, MIT? A quick Google Scholar search shows that it was a thing in the late 1970s to 1980s. Seems like ...
Gimelist's user avatar
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8 votes
3 answers
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Difference between "Geology" and "Physical(Natural) Geography"?

I know "Geology" is a branch of "Natural sciences" and is for studying natural and physical phenomena related to earth. But "Physical Geography/Natural Geography" seems to study exactly the same thing....
Hamed Begloo's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
493 views

"Archaeozoic" vs "Archean"

This is more of a terminological question, but I think it fits here. I've been reading a book by Rachel Carson, from the early 50s, and she uses the phrase "Archaeozic period". I haven't ...
T.S's user avatar
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7 votes
3 answers
3k views

What is the name for the forested areas in mountains below the treeline?

Taiga is the Russian word for big areas of forest wilderness in high latitude regions. What about forests in the mountains? What is the name for the forested areas in mountains which are below the ...
Andrew Welch's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
226 views

Hydro-meteorological hazards vs climate extremes

I always saw the definitions of "hydro-meteorological hazards" and "climate extremes" as almost interchangeable in the climate change and natural hazards literature. The other day I was discussing ...
Nemesi's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
1k views

Water levels: What does "mBf" mean?

I have seen the term MBf used in a couple of places (a ramp specification and a Hydrological Study) to describe height or depth of water. What is this unit? Can it be converted to meters? For bonus ...
Simon Gibbs's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
5k views

Meaning of the C in the unit "mg C L-1"

Could somebody tell me what the "C" signifies in the unit mg C L-1? I was wondering if it stood for concentration but it seems redundant as litres are mentioned. Thanks. The paper which uses the unit ...
Bprodz's user avatar
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6 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is there a name for these "pouring" clouds?

I snapped this photo with my phone flat against the window of a bus, facing south while traveling west across a bridge in New Taipei City. I'd say it was at about 24.995N, 121.438E. It was about 14:00 ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 7,072
6 votes
1 answer
4k views

What separates the Karakoram Range, the Hindu Kush, and the Himalayan Range?

In Google Maps, I don't see any boundary between the Karakoram (a.k.a. Karakorum) Range, the Hindu Kush, and the Himalayan Range. What separates these ranges?
Porcupine's user avatar
  • 647
6 votes
1 answer
4k views

How did the terms "acidic" and "basic" come to be associated with $SiO_2$ in igneous rocks?

Students of geology are introduced to in their petrology course, (or used to be), to the terms "acidic", "basic", and the associated term "intermediate" in relation to %$SiО­­­_{2}$ in igneous rocks, ...
My Other Head's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
79 views

What is meant by controlling and reacting factor?

I'm interested in issues related to Global warming and therefore started to read about it from this website --> Link As I was reading I got stuck in the third paragraph of ...
Yogesh Tripathi's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

In hydrology, what's the difference between specific and total catchment area?

I am getting stuck on the concepts of Total Catchment Area (TCA) and Specific Catchment Area (SCA) as I try to learn more about TOPMODEL and hydrology modeling. What do these metrics mean in hydrology?...
cr0's user avatar
  • 1,178
6 votes
2 answers
4k views

What is the difference between nappe and thrust sheet?

The titles of many geology articles contain words like "nappes and thrust sheets". Basically these are rather similar and in certain languages can be denoted with one term. The dictionaries tend to ...
astrsk's user avatar
  • 61
6 votes
0 answers
45 views

Why is the ρστ absorption band called the ρστ absorption band?

Differential absorption in the near-infrared is used to retrieve total column water vapour from MODIS (Gao and Kaufman, 2003), OLCI (Preusker et al., 2021), and others. The idea is that reflected ...
gerrit's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the difference between climate change and global warming?

1. Question: In the article, Global Warming vs. Climate Change is an example of the confusion regarding these terms. What are the "official" definitions of "Climate Change" and "Global Warming"? ...
elika kohen's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
848 views

What is Oligo-Miocene radiation?

Some studies about Earth's fosilized plants/animals mention a "Oligo-Miocene radiation". Examples: Our study therefore strengthens previous suggestions that the absence of very large penguins ...
Neel's user avatar
  • 314
5 votes
1 answer
527 views

What is a "show" in petroleum geology?

Is a show when naturally ocurring oil seeps out of a fracture on the surface? Or is it when engineers fracture rocks in order to extract oil?
Alvaro Morales's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
709 views

What does the term "topology" mean in geology?

What does the term "topology" mean in geological sciences? Is there an agreed upon distinction between the two terms "topography" and "topology"? When trying to answer ...
user2552936's user avatar
5 votes
4 answers
149 views

Sources or strategies for stone identification

I have a bunch of semi-precious stones here, but I am not very learned in geology etc and I would like to have some way to know what kind of stones they are. As far as I understand question about ...
Ergative Man's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
637 views

How does palingenetic fusion occur in rock?

As far as charnockites are concerned, granitic charnockites are formed due to palingenetic fusion and metasomatism, while granulitic charnockites are formed due to high grade metamorphism. When I ...
MAHESH RAM's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
165 views

To Determine the Geographic center of a continent, is balance point the accepted method and is equivalent to finding the centroid?

This is not exactly a pure Earth Science question but I'm not sure GIS SE is a suitable place either. "The Google" suggested I watch CBS Sunday Morning's The debate over the geographical ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 7,072
4 votes
3 answers
621 views

Is the term "fertile ash" a misnomer?

I understand that volcanic ash contains minerals and can make soil more fertile. But I've also heard the term "fertile ash" in some documentary (I have forgotten in what context). Is that a ...
barlop's user avatar
  • 175
4 votes
1 answer
217 views

Confused about whether physical impact is 'erosion'

When I dropped a stone or a crystal onto the floor, can it be considered as erosion? What is the difference between rocks breaking due to natural disturbances vs human action? Here is the stone/...
lightning_missile's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
119 views

Subrelluric forces in a volcanic eruption

I am listening to a song about volcanoes. It is called "Pyroclastic Annihilation" performed by a brutal deth/thrash metal band called "Demolition Hammer". It is from their album "Epidemic of Violence" ...
lightning_missile's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
925 views

Which particles are classified as PM2.5? How exactly is this defined?

Question When discussing "PM2.5", is there any standardized understanding of which particles are or are not included? Is it everything that's 2.5 microns and smaller? Or Everything between 2....
uhoh's user avatar
  • 7,072
4 votes
2 answers
253 views

"Impression and pseudomorphism" in fossils

In a book on invertebrate paleontology I have (Treatise on Invertebrate Palaeontology, A) there is a diagram showing possible fates of a shell after the death of the organism. One of the possible ...
fdgsdg's user avatar
  • 43
4 votes
2 answers
65 views

What is the right term to describe the observation that your true bearing changes if you move in a non-cardinal direction on a globe?

I just came across a question on skeptics.SE that asked whether it is possible to sail a boat from the coast of Pakistan to the east coast of Russia in an uninterrupted straight line. A quick glance ...
Schmuddi's user avatar
  • 143
4 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are terms like "Extremely Torrential Rain" (>500 mm/24 hours) universal in meteorology?

Meteorological phenomenon can span large ranges in size and strength and categorizations exist based on thresholds, One example is the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale (SSHWS) (see also NOAA) ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 7,072
4 votes
1 answer
446 views

The Size Hierarchy of a Landmass

If we judge a hierarchy of a landmass by size, here is what, in my knowledge, it would have looked like, from largest to smallest: Continent Subcontinent ??? Island Islet In regards to size, is ...
JohnWDailey's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
182 views

Growth of polar vortices vs projective geometry; what does this figure mean?

I was reading the Wikipedia article about a mathematical subject called projective geometry, and I noticed that the second image in the body of the article referred to the "growth of polar vortices". ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 7,072
4 votes
0 answers
170 views

Blueberries, cauliflower, chert, concretions, accretions and diagenetic crystal clusters on Mars, can you help me sort these all out?

Curiosity has actually seen these types of features before, which are called diagenetic crystal clusters. Diagenetic means the recombination or rearrangement of minerals, and these features consist of ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 7,072
4 votes
0 answers
259 views

Is there a standard definition of a hill? [closed]

I think we can all agree that these are hills: Image from Wikipedia They're kinda gentle, not too tall, and altogether nice-looking. But it's always bugged me that I can't come up with an objective ...
user avatar
3 votes
4 answers
3k views

Why is mass fraction always abbreviated wt% and not ma%?

In most geology papers, major elements chemical analyses are expressed as mass fraction of oxides, i.e. SiO$_2$ 64.2 wt%, K$_2$O 4.3 wt%, etc. The mass fraction unit is always abbreviated as "wt%". ...
Jean-Marie Prival's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
481 views

What is it called for the part of a hill where it discontinuously gets steeper?

What is it called for the part of a hill where it discontinuously gets steeper? If you climbing an easy slope and encounter a new steeper slope (such as formed by a rocky hill and accompanying soil ...
Alice Monday's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
836 views

Is the atmosphere a part of Earth?

My question is quite simple, but I can't seem to find any answer to it: how do we define the limit of the object "Earth"? More specifically, can we consider the atmosphere a part of it? Or even the ...
M.Connor's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
150 views

What is this upside-down transparent funnel-shaped item on a weather monitoring station?

I snapped this photo with my cell phone at a fishing harbor in northern Taiwan. I recognize a weather vane + anemometer, and I suspect the two large, dark things at the tops of poles might be ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 7,072
3 votes
2 answers
150 views

What is a breadboard (retrieval) algorithm in the context of geophysical satellite retrievals/remote sensing?

In a recent met-jobs job posting (different version here) for a researcher with a background in climatology/meteorology/hydrology or environmental sciences, I saw the phrase breadboard retrieval ...
gerrit's user avatar
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