AskDefine | Define estuarine

Dictionary Definition

estuarine adj : of or relating to or found in estuaries [syn: estuarial]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Of or pertaining to an estuary
  2. Formed in an estuary by alluvial deposition

Extensive Definition

An estuary is a semi-enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries are often associated with high rates of biological productivity.
An estuary is typically the tidal mouth of a river (aestus is Latin for tide), and estuaries are often characterized by sedimentation or silt carried in from terrestrial runoff and, frequently, from offshore. They are made up of brackish water. Estuaries are more likely to occur on submerged coasts, where the sea level has risen in relation to the land; this process floods valleys to form rias and fjords. These can become estuaries if there is a stream or river flowing into them. Large estuaries, like Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound, often have many streams flowing into them and can have complex shapes. Estuaries are often given names like bay, sound, fjord, etc. The terms are not mutually exclusive. Where an enormous volume of river water enters the sea (as, for example, from the Amazon into the South Atlantic) its estuary could be considered to extend well beyond the coast. Estuarine circulation is common in estuaries; this occurs when fresh or brackish water flows out near the surface, while denser saline water flows inward near the bottom. Anti-estuarine flow is its opposite, in which dense water flows out near the bottom and less dense water circulates inward at the surface. These two terms, however, have a broader oceanographic application that extends beyond estuaries proper, such as in describing the circulation of nearly-closed ocean basins. Estuaries are marine environments, whose pH, salinity, and water level are varying, depending on the river that feeds the estuary and the ocean from which it derives its salinity (oceans and seas have different salinity levels). The time it takes an estuary to completely cycle is called flushing time. As ecosystems, the estuaries are under great threat from human activities. They are small, in demand, impacted by events far upstream or out at sea, and concentrate materials such as pollutants and sediments.


estuarine in Belarusian: Эстуарый (частка ракі)
estuarine in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Эстуарый
estuarine in Bosnian: Estuarij
estuarine in Danish: Æstuarium
estuarine in German: Ästuar
estuarine in Estonian: Estuaar
estuarine in Spanish: Estuario
estuarine in Esperanto: Estuaro
estuarine in French: Estuaire
estuarine in Hindi: एश्चुअरी डेल्टा
estuarine in Croatian: Estuarij
estuarine in Ido: Estuario
estuarine in Icelandic: Árós
estuarine in Italian: Estuario
estuarine in Hebrew: שפך נהר
estuarine in Lithuanian: Estuarija
estuarine in Dutch: Estuarium
estuarine in Japanese: 三角江
estuarine in Norwegian Nynorsk: Estuar
estuarine in Polish: Estuarium
estuarine in Portuguese: Estuário
estuarine in Russian: Эстуарий
estuarine in Serbian: Естуар
estuarine in Finnish: Estuaari
estuarine in Swedish: Estuarium
estuarine in Venetian: Estuario

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

alluvial, aquatic, balneal, bayed, deep-sea, embayed, fluviomarine, grallatorial, gulfed, gulflike, gulfy, littoral, natant, natatorial, natatory, seashore, shore, swimming, tidal, tidewater, water-dwelling, water-growing, water-living, water-loving
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