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 aquifer (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 At the Salton Sea, investors plan to use specially coated beads to extract lithium salt from the hot liquid pumped up from an aquifer more than 4,000 feet below the surface. New York Times, 6 May 2021 Nirenberg’s solution: keep the aquifer program going with funds from elsewhere in the city budget, a decision that inflamed some in the environmentalist community, historically one of the mayor’s core constituencies. Joshua Fechter, San Antonio Express-News, 18 Apr. 2021 Thanks to an aquifer beneath the city, Desert Hot Springs has some of the purest hot and cold mineral springs in the world. Rosemary Mcclure, Los Angeles Times, 26 Mar. 2021 The aquifer is already stretched thin by drought and overuse; adding the risk of contamination from drilling isn’t worth it, Kevin Gibson says. Erin Stone, The Arizona Republic, 16 May 2021 As a result, more than a dozen major landholders, including ranchers and developers who've long grown crops and created lush golf greens in the parched desert by pumping large amounts of water from the aquifer, signed on to the settlement agreement. Winston Gieseke, USA TODAY, 20 Apr. 2021 Opponents also worry about munitions and ordnance contaminating a fragile aquifer, which is the primary source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of residents from the surrounding towns, including Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee, and Sandwich. BostonGlobe.com, 13 Apr. 2021 By 1982, the company identified underground contamination that ultimately released at least 300,000 barrels of petrochemicals and polluted the island’s one aquifer. Anchorage Daily News, 26 Mar. 2021 Our aquifer continues to dry up and our wells are being drilled deeper and deeper to find water. Linda Girardi, chicagotribune.com, 24 Mar. 2021

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: The term was 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

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Aquifer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aquifer. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for aquifer

aquifer

noun

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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