An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea.
Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environments. They are subject both to marine influences—such as tides, waves, and the influx of saline water—and to riverine influences—such as flows of fresh water and sediment. The inflows of both sea water and fresh water provide high levels of nutrients both in the water column and in sediment, making estuaries among the most productive natural habitats in the world.
Most existing estuaries formed during the Holocene epoch with the flooding of river-eroded or glacially scoured valleys when the sea level began to rise about 10,000–12,000 years ago. Estuaries are typically classified according to their geomorphological features or to water-circulation patterns. They can have many different names, such as bays, harbors, lagoons, inlets, or sounds, although some of these water bodies do not strictly meet the above definition of an estuary and may be fully saline.
The banks of many estuaries are amongst the most heavily populated areas of the world, with about 60% of the world's population living along estuaries and the coast. As a result, many estuaries suffer degradation by many factors, including sedimentation from soil erosion from deforestation, overgrazing, and other poor farming practices; overfishing; drainage and filling of wetlands; eutrophication due to excessive nutrients from sewage and animal wastes; pollutants including heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls, radionuclides and hydrocarbons from sewage inputs; and diking or damming for flood control or water diversion.
An estuary is a semi-enclosed body of water flowing into the sea.
Estuary may also refer to:
- Estuary English, a variety of English spoken in the south east of England
- Estuary, Saskatchewan, a community of Saskatchewan, Canada
- "Estuary", a song by Saccharine Trust from the album Worldbroken
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Estuary \Es"tu*a*ry\, a.
Belonging to, or formed in, an estuary; as, estuary strata.
Estuary \Es"tu*a*ry\, n.; pl. Estuaries. [L. aestuarium, from aestuare to surge. See Estuate.] [Written also [ae]stuary.]
A place where water boils up; a spring that wells forth. [Obs.]
A passage, as the mouth of a river or lake, where the tide meets the current; an arm of the sea; a frith.
it to the sea was often by long and wide estuaries.
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
1530s, from Latin aestuarium "a tidal marsh, mudbeds covered by water at high tides; channel inland from the sea," from aestus "boiling (of the sea), tide, heat," from PIE *aidh- "to burn" (see edifice).
n. 1 coastal water body where ocean tides and river water merge. 2 An ocean inlet also fed by fresh river water.
n. the wide part of a river where it nears the sea; fresh and salt water mix
Usage examples of "estuary".
This journey would take him west across the great shallow basin of low bogland and pasture that formed the Midlands, and to the lip of the Shannon estuary, the place he always considered the most significant border on this little island.
It stretches from Cape Negrais on the south to the Naaf estuary, which divides it from the Chittagong division of Eastern Bengal and Assam on the north, and includes the districts of Sandoway, Kyaukpyu, Akyab and northern Arakan, an area of some 18,540 sq.
The dwarves therefore navigated with great care, taking ferries across the deepest parts of the estuary to avoid the giants.
It belonged to Tajik, captain of one the dwarven ferries that plied the estuary.
Gnarled strands of smoke rose upwards to filter and tease apart the morning light, like dozens of genies released from flanched bottles scattered from Smithfield to Ratcliff and for as far along the estuary as the eye could see.
But it is vexing, for Whewell tells me that as soon as the preventive squadron was withdrawn the trade started again, even in the Gallinas river, and on Sherbro Island, right next to Freetown, and with a little discretion we might have seized on half a dozen, loading slaves in the estuary.
Seine estuary and had set course north for Rotterdam sixteen miles off the Le Havre light when Morel on the bridge had seen the navigation lights of a motor yacht appearing out of the mist.
Venetian estuary is usually dated from the year 452, the period of the Hunnish invasion under Attila, when the Scourge of God, as he was named by his terror-stricken opponents, sacked the rich Roman cities of Aquileia, Concordia, Opitergium, and Padua.
The Hunnish invasion certainly gave an enormous increase to the lagoon population, and called the attention of the mainlanders, to the admirable asylum which the estuary offered in times of danger.
Natalie could see the Intracoastal Waterway slicing south through a mad web of inlets, bays, estuaries, and coastal marshes.
Then he sits with protruding ear by the radio, or goes to the movies in Viersen, or plays skat with two officers of the Refugee Party, to which he also gives his vote, because he holds that the cemeteries to the left and right of the Vistula estuary, especially the one in Steegen, are richer in ivy than any of the cemeteries between Krefeld and Erkelenz.
They have come north from the Dora camp at Nordhausen, north till the land ended, and have set up an all-male community between this marsh and the Oder estuary.
Prince Harald Coast, the Shirase Glacier as an estuary on Prince Harald Coast, Padda Island in Lutzow-Holm Bay, and the Prince Olaf Coast in Enderby Land.
There is, however, one true river of some size, the Hlaing, which rises near Prome, flows southwards and meets the Pegu river and the Pazundaung creek near Rangoon, and thus forms the estuary which is known as the Rangoon river and constitutes the harbour of Rangoon.
He has, therefore, filled up an appointment creating you provincial governor of that part of Britain lying north of the Thames as far as the northern estuary, and bounded on the east by the region of swamps -- the land of the Trinobantes, the Iceni, and a portion of the Brigantes -- with full power over that country, and answerable only to the propraetor himself.