aquifer

noun
aqui·​fer | \ ˈa-kwə-fər How to pronounce aquifer (audio) , ˈä- \

Definition of aquifer

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

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Other Words from aquifer

aquiferous \ a-​ˈkwi-​fə-​rəs How to pronounce aquiferous (audio) , 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 It gets leached into the aquifer by heavy irrigation. Brendan Hoffman, National Geographic, "A water crisis looms for 270 million people as South Asia’s glaciers shrink," 16 June 2020 That money pays for land purchases and conservation easements to protect sensitive areas that funnel rainwater into the aquifer, source of 80 percent of the drinking water delivered to customers of the San Antonio Water System. Bruce Selcraig, ExpressNews.com, "Nirenberg to VIA: Hands off sales tax revenue, at least for now," 10 June 2020 For years, the toxic plume has been gradually moving through the aquifer beneath the city. Ian James, azcentral, "Arizona awaits EPA decision on adding toxic Phoenix site to Superfund list," 14 May 2020 The bigger problem, according to Madani, who now teaches at Yale’s MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, has been the persistent failure to enforce regulations designed to protect the aquifers that feed Kerman’s pistachio groves. Marc Champion, Bloomberg.com, "The U.S.-Iran Pistachio War Is Heating Up," 10 May 2020 Worst of all, the persistent pumping means that, one day, aquifers might run out of usable water. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Droughts exposed California’s thirst for groundwater. Now, the state hopes to refill its aquifers," 16 Apr. 2020 Workers who maintain the water supply must access the aquifers. New York Times, "How N.Y.C. Struggled to Protect the Workers Who Still Had to Show Up," 11 Apr. 2020 In the past, officials from Grand Canyon National Park raised concerns about the effects the previous development proposal could have on springs fed by the aquifer beneath Tusayan. Arizona Republic, "As a town invests in lobbyists, critics fear it could fast-track Grand Canyon development," 5 Mar. 2020 State figures show Arizona has banked about 11 million acre-feet of surface water in aquifers since the mid-1990s. AZCentral.com, "For decades, groundwater beneath Arizona's big cities has been spared. That's about to change," 5 Dec. 2019

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.

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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."

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Time Traveler for aquifer

Time Traveler

The first known use of aquifer was in 1897

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Last Updated

24 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Aquifer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aquifer. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for aquifer

aquifer

noun
How to pronounce aquifer (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of aquifer

technical : 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

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