aquifer

noun
aqui·​fer | \ ˈa-kwə-fər, ˈä-\

Definition of aquifer 

: a water-bearing stratum of permeable rock, sand, or gravel

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from aquifer

aquiferous \ a-​ˈkwi-​fə-​rəs , ä-​ \ adjective

Aquifer and Agriculture

The vast but relatively shallow Ogallala Aquifer lies beneath the Great Plains, under portions of eight states. Its thickness ranges from a few feet to more than a thousand feet. The Ogallala yields about 30 percent of the nation's groundwater used for irrigation in agriculture, and provides drinking water for most of the people within the area. But for many years more water has been extracted from the Ogallala than has been returned, and the situation today is of great concern.

Examples of aquifer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Roberta Jaffe, here with her husband, Steve Gliessman, worries Harvard could deplete the aquifer. Russell Gold, WSJ, "Harvard Quietly Amasses California Vineyards—and the Water Underneath," 10 Dec. 2018 This supposes that hydrogen will be synthesized at centralized facilities using methane reformation, outfitted with a carbon capture system that could store any excess carbon in underwater aquifers off the coast of England. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Natural gas firms have a proposal to convert home heating to hydrogen," 25 Nov. 2018 In this new water-war battlefront, the New Mexico land commissioner argues that the rule of capture should not allow one state to negatively impact another’s aquifer. Jay Root, star-telegram, "New Mexico official: Texans are 'stealing' water and selling it back for fracking," 7 June 2018 But the real water worry isn't overhead, but rather underfoot: The depletion of the Ogallala aquifer that has made farming in the desert possible for 100 years has farmers making every drop of water count. Henry Gass, The Christian Science Monitor, "Amid drought in Texas Panhandle, farmers scratch crops from dust," 30 May 2018 The Stanford researchers found a direct correlation between aquifer contamination and how much the land had sunk due to overpumping. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "Overpumping of Central Valley groundwater has side effect: too much arsenic," 5 June 2018 Using this data, scientists could estimate aquifer depletion in Central California and monitor changes as 4,000 gigatons of Greenland's ice melted over the course of 15 years, Joyce reports. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Meet NASA’s New Dynamic Duo: A Pair of Climate Change-Tracking Satellites," 23 May 2018 These measurements were sensitive enough to detect changes in the amount of ice at the poles and the level of groundwater in aquifers beneath Earth’s surface. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Watch SpaceX Launch Seven Satellites At Once This Afternoon," 22 May 2018 For generations, as the growing city has drawn down the aquifer beneath the lake bed, the ground has been sinking unevenly, leaving the city vulnerable to quakes. Christopher Reynolds, latimes.com, "Savor Puebla, a Mexican gem known for its food and sense of style," 18 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'aquifer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of aquifer

1897, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for aquifer

borrowed from French aquifère "water-bearing," from aqui- (from Latin aqua "water" + -i- -i-) + -fère "bearing" — more at aqua, -fer

Note: Term introduced into English by the geologist William Harmon Norton (1856-1944) in "Artesian Wells of Iowa," Iowa Geological Survey, vol. 6, Report on Lead, Zinc, Artesian Wells, etc. (Des Moines, 1897), p. 130: "The sand represents the permeable water-bearing layer, the aquifer, to revive a term of Arago's, and its outcrop between the basin rims the area of supply." "Arago" is the French physicist François Arago (1786-1853), whose essay "Sur les puits forés, connus sous le nom de puits artésiens, des fontaines artésiennes, ou de fontaines jaillissants" (Bureau des Longitudes, Annuaire pour l'an 1835 [Paris, 1834], pp. 181-258, is cited earlier in Norton's paper. As noted by Alfred Clebsch ("Analysis and Critique of 'Aquifers, Ground-Water Bodies, and Hydrophers' by C.V. Theis," Selected Contributions to Ground-Water Hydrology by C.V. Theis, and a Review of His Life and Work [U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2415] [Denver, 1994], pp. 39-43), Norton is not strictly speaking "reviving" anything used by Arago, who only uses aquifère as an adjective in the collocations nappe aquifère and couche aquifère (both meaning approximately "water-bearing layer"). Note that in an English translation of Arago's article ("On Springs, Artesian Wells, and Spouting Fountains," Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal, vol. 18, no. 36 [April, 1835] there is no direct equivalent of aquifère, as couches aquifères is rendered by "water bearing beds" and nappe aquifère as simply "water."

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about aquifer

Statistics for aquifer

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for aquifer

The first known use of aquifer was in 1897

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for aquifer

aquifer

noun

English Language Learners Definition of aquifer

: a layer of rock or sand that can absorb and hold water

More from Merriam-Webster on aquifer

Nglish: Translation of aquifer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about aquifer

Comments on aquifer

What made you want to look up aquifer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

marked by shyness and lack of polish

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Liar, Liar Quiz

  • alt-5761dbe2ba986
  • Someone who pretends to be sick in order to avoid work is a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!