USGS - science for a changing world

Science Topics

Thesaurus term listing: USGS Thesaurus

methods
Techniques, methods, procedures, or strategies for research, management, collection, or analysis of scientific information in USGS.
computational methods
Mathematical techniques used to analyze numerical data. (use for mathematical methods)
image analysis
Pattern analysis of the shapes and textures of images to identify features and derive information about them.
mathematical modeling
Creating mathematical expressions to represent a simplified view of real-world systems. (use for fractal geometric methods, groundwater flow modeling, modeling (mathematical), numerical methods, streamflow modeling)
mathematical simulation
A computer algorithm or model, which was created to represent a simplified version of a real world situation.
relative abundance analysis
Determination of the percentage of individuals of one group in comparison to the total of all individuals in a given area.
spatial analysis
Use of quantitative tools to study social, economic, and geographic data in relation to distributions and patterns in geographic space.
geospatial analysis
Detailed study of information such as measurements, counts, and computations as a function of geographical location.
statistical analysis
Branch of mathematics concerned with techniques to collect and interpret data. (use for geostatistics)
kriging
Statistical analysis technique which uses interpolation to best predict unknown data values from data observed at known locations.
multivariate statistical analysis
Statistical study using a number of independent variables or measurements of the same attribute.
regression analysis
Statistical analysis based on the functional relationships of two or more related variables. Predicts the value of one variable when the other two are given. (use for correlation)
time series analysis
Statistical analysis using frequency distribution in which time is an independent variable. A sequence of observations collected at regular time intervals is studied.
topological analysis
Branch of geometry concerned with the properties of objects that do not change even when deformed, twisted, stretched or otherwise changed in shape.
visualization methods
The application of two-dimensional or three-dimensional graphical techniques for the analysis and interpretation of complex numerical data. (use for visualization)
field methods
Research procedures and instrumental means to measure, collect data and samples, and observe in the natural areas where the materials, phenomena, structures, or species being studied occur.
field experiments
Deliberate arrangement of objects and events in the field to observe the behavioral response of natural systems or organisms.
tracer study
Experiments in which stable, easily detected substances or radioisotopes are added to a material to follow the movement of the substance in the environment or to detect any physical or chemical changes with time. (use for isotopic tracer study, radioisotope tracer study)
field inventory and monitoring
Repeated observation or sampling at a site, on a scheduled or event basis, for study and analysis. In general, this category excludes sampling programs in which materials are obtained in the field and brought back to a laboratory for study and analysis. (use for baseline characterization, field monitoring, field observation, inventory, ocean current measurement, ocean monitoring, ocean wave measurement, precipitation measurement, rainfall measurement, reconnaissance, river discharge monitoring, snowfall measurement, volcano monitoring, weather monitoring, weather observations)
acoustic methods
Study methods based on techniques of transmitting and receiving sound waves as well as measuring the properties of sound, such as pitch, absorption, frequency, intensity, or velocity.
sonar methods
SOund Navigation And Ranging techniques to detect submerged objects and to determine depths to the sea floor using reflections of sound waves.
single-beam echo sounder
Acoustic technique for determining seafloor depth directly below the instrument platform. (use for fathometer, single beam echo sounder, single beam echosounder, single-beam echosounder)
multibeam sonar
Acoustic technique for determining depths or creating backscatter imagery in a wide swath of seafloor centered below the instrument platform. (use for multi-beam echo sounder, multi-beam echosounder, multi-beam sonar, multibeam echo sounder, multibeam echosounder)
interferometric sonar
Acoustic technique for determining depths or creating backscatter imagery in a wide swath of seafloor centered below the instrument platform.
sidescan sonar
Acoustic technique for creating oblique backscatter imagery of the seafloor. (use for geological long-range inclined asdic, gloria, side-scan sonar, sidescan sonar mosaics)
acoustic doppler current profiling
Field monitoring of water currents using the doppler effect with acoustic instruments. (use for ADCP, acoustic doppler current profiler, hydroacoustics)
borehole logging
Method of recording the physical characteristics of the subsurface as a function of depth by observations during drilling of a well or borehole, studying the resulting core, or by lowering instruments into a drilled hole. (use for well logging)
borehole temperature logging
Method of recording the measured temperature of the subsurface as a function of depth by lowering instruments into the hole.
electrical resistivity logging
Recordings made to identify the composition of subterranean materials at different depths in a borehole by measuring their ability to resist the flow of an electric current. (use for resistivity sounding)
gamma-ray logging
Recording of the measurements of natural gamma radiation emitted from the rocks in a borehole to study the subsurface structures.
CTD measurement
Instrumental determination of conductivity, temperature, and pressure as a function of depth to determine the salinity of seawater.
ecosystem monitoring
Recording, evaluating, and actively intervening over time in the interaction of living and nonliving elements in a specific environment. (use for dendroecology, indicator species observation)
long-term ecological monitoring
Data collection over a period of years or decades to assess changes in selected biological communities and habitats.
electromagnetic surveying
Method of determining the shape and constituency of near-surface earth structures by variations of responses of the materials to electrical and magnetic fields. Use for ground-based methods of imaging. (use for magnetic surveying, magnetotelluric sounding)
handheld field spectroscopy
Use of portable equipment to measure spectral reflectance of materials in the field. (use for hand-held field spectroscopy)
seismic methods
Procedures used to record and study earthquakes or earth vibrations including those that are artificially induced. (use for seismic exploration, seismic imaging, seismic profiles, seismograms, seismometry)
seismic networking
Deploying, operating, and maintaining groups and arrays of instruments for detecting and describing local movements of the earth. (use for earthquake monitoring)
seismic reflection methods
Geophysical technique to study the subsurface of the earth using sound waves induced by explosives, vibrating devices, or percussive equipment. The reflections of the sound waves from the boundaries of different rocks are measured. (use for seismic reflection survey maps)
seismic refraction methods
Geophysical technique to study the subsurface of the earth by generating compressional waves by means of hammering or explosive methods. The variations in velocity of the waves traveling through rocks or geological layers are measured.
stream-gage measurement
Use of specialized instruments designed for observing, checking, and recording the water discharge that occurs in a natural channel. (use for gage-height monitoring, stream current monitoring, stream flow monitoring, stream gage monitoring, stream-flow monitoring, stream-gage monitoring, streamflow monitoring)
telemetry
Field technique using instruments which measure heat, radiation, speed, or other property and transmit the data to a distant receiver. (use for biotelemetry, radio telemetry)
tiltmeter measurement
Determination of tiny changes in the slope angle or tilt of the ground in order to monitor deformation caused by moving magma. Instruments detect variations in a liquid level or in the position of a pendulum. (use for tiltmeter)
video monitoring
Field study employing the use of filming or repeated photography with stationary optical or digital cameras to observe changes in a feature or organism. (use for remote video monitoring)
vocalization methods
Series of methods used to (a) record sonograms (sound spectrogram) of animal sounds which are analyzed to identify the presence of species in an area and to determine distinct sound patterns within a species, e.g., mating calls, danger alerts; (b) attract species to an area for inventory or monitoring by playing recorded animal sounds or mimicking them.
animal and plant census
Inventory of macroscopic animals and plants by observation in the field. Used to estimate population and distribution. (use for census)
gravimeter measurement
Use of a specialized instrument for measuring the earth's gravity at a given location. (use for gravimetric methods, gravimetry)
magnetometer measurement
Use of specialized instruments designed to measure the earth's magnetic field at a given location. (use for magnetometry)
optical methods
Measurement of light transmission or reflectance in the field to estimate, for example, the density of suspended sediment in water bodies. (use for optical backscatterance sensing, optical reflectance measurement)
tomography
Observation of the internal structure of an object or, as is more typical in USGS research, a cross section of the earth's crust by changing the relative orientation of a signal generator, a sensor, or both. (use for radar tomography, seismic tomography)
statistical surveying
Information gathering by asking questions of selected people or organizations. (use for canvassing)
field sampling
Collecting pieces or specimens or making measurements or observations at determined intervals or areas. Results may be used as representative of the whole research area or population. (use for fish inventories)
animal tracking
Method of studying animals by following spoor (footprints, droppings, scent, and other evidence) in an area to document the presence and movements of the animal and its interactions within the landscape. (use for tracking)
capturing (animals)
Collecting individual animals in the field by various methods in order to obtain information about the species or population and its ecology. Capturing methods are adapted to the habits and habitats of the target species and include both live trapping and kill trapping methods. (use for trapping (animals))
drilling and coring
Cutting into the subsurface, for example into underground strata, ice, or a tree trunk, to remove material for examination. Intended for broad use wherever coring is done. The combination of this term with other terms will convey the context of the activity. (use for core sampling, coring, ice core sampling)
plant and animal tagging
Methods of attaching a tag or marker to an organism as long-term identification for study purposes. (use for animal tagging, banding, bird banding, radioisotope tagging, tagging)
plot sampling
Outlining small areas of land within a larger area to use as samples to study biological populations or ecosystems.
sexing (plants & animals)
Determination of the sex of an individual organism for study purposes, such as wildlife surveys. (use for sexing (plants and animals))
specimen collecting
Taking of samples from the environment for study. (use for collection of specimens)
transect sampling
Systematic method of collecting field data by recording observations or collecting specimens along a vector or measured course across the environment.
trenching
Field method used by earth scientists to study the underground structure of an area. A long narrow ditch is dug to locate geologic features, such as a fault.
water sampling
Methods of collecting a representative part of a body of water for testing in controlled conditions.
dredge sampling
Collection of material from the bottom of a body of water by dragging an open container along the floor of the water body and returning the collected material to the investigators.
geolocation measurement
Methods for establishing a geographic location on the surface of the earth. (use for location measurement, navigating, orienteering)
altimetry measurement
The measurement of altitude, or height above mean sea level, using instruments such as aneroid barometers and radar altimeters. (use for satellite altimetry)
bathymetry measurement
Means of determining the depth to the floor of a body of water, especially the ocean.
GPS measurement
Determination of distance and location using instruments receiving signals from the Global Positioning System, a system of satellites for identifying earth locations. (use for global positioning measurement)
land surveying
Determining property boundaries, land area, elevations, and locations of features on the surface of the land by calculations based on the instrumental measurements of angles and distances or by use of global positional satellites. (use for surveying)
real-time monitoring and reporting
Gathering information through periodic or continuous measurement in the field to provide a view of current conditions. In some instances, observations may not be subject to rigorous review before release; this will be noted in the documentation accompanying the data. (use for real-time data)
laboratory methods
Experimental techniques to analyze and test samples in a place equipped and designed for the work.
chemical analysis
Chemical techniques used to identify the composition of substances. (use for detection (chemical), geochemical surveys, leaching (analytical method), mineralogical analysis, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, sediment geochemistry)
atomic absorption analysis
Technique used to identify chemicals based on the measurement of the spectra produced by atoms and molecules with absorption of electromagnetic radiation.
chromatography
Analytical techniques used to separate or partition the components of a gaseous or liquid mixture by differences in absorption rates during flow around or over surface absorbents such as columns of silica, filter papers, or gels.
gas chromatography
Chromatographic technique used to separate or partition the components of a mixture. Solid and liquid samples are vaporized and passed through a column containing a liquid that differentially absorbs the molecules.
liquid chromatography
Chromatographic technique to separate or partition the components of a mixture in which samples are liquid and passed through a column. (use for HPLC, high-pressure liquid chromatography)
DNA sequencing
Biochemical procedure to determine the order of nucleotides in genes. (use for gene sequencing, genome)
electrophoresis
Analytical technique to separate and identify components in a mixture using the differential migration of molecules based on their net charge through a paper or gel medium.
flow cytometry
Laboratory technique to determine the amount of DNA in cells tagged by fluorescent dye by measuring the intensity of fluorescence under a laser beam.
mass spectroscopy
Instrumental technique to separate and identify molecules. Gaseous ions are formed, with or without fragmentation. Their mass/charge ratios and relative electrical abundance are then measured or the spectra are recorded. (use for mass spectrometry)
neutron activation analysis
Sensitive laboratory technique for both qualitative and quantitative analysis of elements in samples. Target nuclei are bombarded with neutron beams to start nuclear reactions which emit characteristic gamma ray radiations.
particle-beam spectroscopy
Analytical technique using a concentrated beam of charged subatomic particles. (use for electron probe microanalysis)
polymerase chain reaction
Biochemical technique that uses enzymes to replicate new nucleotides of DNA from DNA triphosphates using DNA as a template.
x-ray diffraction
Study of crystals which uses short wave electromagnetic radiations (x-rays). The xrays, scattered by the crystal atoms, show a characteristic interference pattern that is dependent upon the structure of the crystal.
atomic emission spectroscopy
Chemical detection of element concentration by examining the intensity and wavelength of light emitted from the sample when gaseous sample is ionized and maintained in a plasma state. (use for ICP-AES, inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectrometry)
x-ray fluorescence
Estimation of chemical element concentration by measuring the energy level of secondary X-rays generated when the sample is bombarded with high-energy X-rays or gamma rays. (use for XRF)
core analysis
Study of the composition and layers of cylindrical samples of rocks, trees, ice, and other materials extracted by drilling into a mass. Intended for broad use for the analysis of all types of core samples. The combination of this term with other terms will convey the context of the activity.
culturing (specimens)
Growing microorganisms, tissue cells, or other living matter in a specially prepared nutrient medium for diagnostic or scientific use.
faunal and floral census (microscopic)
Records of counts of the different microscopic species in a core, soil, sediment, rock or water sample to determine geologic age or other characteristic of the sample. Use for microscopic examinations. (use for pollen analysis)
grain-size analysis
Method of studying soils, sediments, sands, or rock by determining the size, distribution, and proportion of selected particles. (use for grainsize analysis, granulometry, particle-size analysis)
sieve-size analysis
Analytic technique determining the distribution of the different sizes of particles in soil, sediment, or rock samples by measuring the percentage that will pass through mesh holes of known size.
isotopic analysis
Experimental determination of the proportion of a given isotope (or isotopes) in a sample.
light stable isotope analysis
Analytical technique using mass spectrometry to measure the different isotopic forms of low mass (light) elements such as oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen and sulfur that occur in samples. (use for light stable-isotope analysis, stable isotope analysis)
beryllium isotope analysis
Method of age determination based on measurement of the activity of beryllium-10, used in dating deep-sea sediments, and in determining sedimentation rates.
carbon isotope analysis
Experimental determination of the proportion of a given stable carbon isotope (C12 or C13) in a sample.
oxygen isotope analysis
Experimental determination of the proportion of a given stable oxygen isotope in a sample.
tritium analysis
Mass spectrometric measurement of the decay of the radioactive isotope of hydrogen in water samples as a means of dating and investigating changes in water. (use for tritium-helium dating)
radiometric dating
Methods for age determination of rocks and fossils by measuring the proportions of naturally occurring radioactive isotopes to their decay products. (use for age dating (radiometric), argon-argon dating, lead-210 dating, radiometric age determination)
carbon-14 analysis
Method to determine the age of organic geologic and archaeological specimens, aged approximately 3,000 to 50,000 years, by determining the decay of the radioactive isotope carbon-14. (use for carbon dating, radiocarbon dating)
rubidium-strontium analysis
Technique for dating ancient rocks based on measuring the ratio of the isotopes strontium-87 to ribidium-87 in samples. Uses the known half-life of radioactive isotopes of rubidium-87 that decay to isotopes of strontium-87 to determine rock ages. (use for Rb-Sr age analysis)
uranium-lead analysis
Radiometric dating technique to determine the age of earth materials from the ratio of the radioactive isotopes of uranium-235 or uranium-238 to the lead isotope decay products in the sample. The ratio is compared to the known half-life of the uranium isotopes.
uranium-thorium analysis
Radiometric dating technique used to determine the age of earth materials based on determining the ratio of uranium-238 to the decay product thorium-230. The ratio is compared to the known half-life of the uranium isotope.
potassium-argon analysis
Radiometric age determination by comparison of the concentrations of radioactive potassium and argon daughter products. (use for K-Ar dating)
meristics
Branch of zoology concerned with classifying animals by counting and measuring body parts. (use for morphometrics)
microscopy
Laboratory methods using instruments that employ optical lenses or radiation to study objects too small to be seen by the naked eye. (use for microscope methods)
electron microscopy
Study of small particles of matter with a microscope that produces a magnified image by using a beam of electrons focused by magnetic lenses.
scanning electron microscopy
Microscope in which a finely focused beam of electrons is scanned across a specimen. The electronic intensity variations observed are used to construct an image of the specimen.
optical microscopy
Scientific techniques using a microscope with one or more lenses illuminated with visible light to view small objects.
microtomy
Laboratory methods using special instruments, or microtomes, to cut very thin slices of specimens for microscopic studies.
paleomagnetic analysis
Determination of the intensity and direction of residual magnetism in rocks to study changes in the earth's magnetic field during past geologic time.
Curie temperature analysis
Analysis of rock specimens using the Curie temperature point above which ferromagnetic materials lose permanent magnetism. (use for temperature analysis (Curie))
laboratory-induced magnetization analysis
Laboratory method to study rocks using magnetometers to measure remanent magnetic fields induced in the samples.
magnetic hysteresis analysis
Nondestructive evaluation of ferromagnetic materials. The evaluation is based on measurement of the variation of intensity of magnetization within an applied magnetic field due to changes in the magnetic domain structure of the materials under study. (use for hysteresis)
magnetic susceptibility analysis
Nondestructive evaluation and location of magnetic materials in rock based on measuring the intensity of attraction of the materials to an induced magnetic field. Applications include geological and soil surveys, paleomagnetic studies, sedimentology, archaeological prospecting and core logging.
natural remanent magnetization analysis
Method which measures the intensity and direction of residual magnetism in rocks to determine their age and history. (use for natural remnant magnetization analysis)
petrography
Use of optical microscopy for the description and classification of rocks. (use for thin section analysis)
plant and animal testing
Use of live or dead organisms for scientific study. (use for animal testing)
therapeutic methods
Methods of restoring health with remedial agents or treatments.
tree ring analysis
Study of the variations in width and number of tree rings to date historical events and to study periods of climatic and hydrologic changes. (use for age dating (tree ring))
camera calibration
Optical calibration of cameras that are typically used in airborne remote sensing.
age estimation methods
Methods used to determine the age of earth materials, typically by laboratory analysis of properties of those materials. (use for dating methods)
fission-track dating
Laboratory technique for determining the age of rocks and other geological materials by counts of spontaneous and induced fission tracks left by the radioactive isotope uranium-238. (use for age dating (fission-track), fission-track method)
luminescence dating
Dating methods that involve the analysis of the optical properties of minerals exposed to environmental radiation. Typically used to determine the age of subaerial exposure of surficial sediments. (use for TL/OSL dating, optically-stimulated luminescence dating, thermoluminescence dating)
tephrochronology
Age determination of rocks and deposits by correlation of volcanic ash layers (tephra) that bound the deposits below and above.
sclerochronology
Description of the history of individual organisms by studying the variations in thickness of accretionary layers in their skeletons.
management methods
Techniques of judiciously controlling or directing resources for a predetermined goal.
decision support methods
Mathematical, analytical, and social procedures used to aid groups and individuals in the process of making decisions. Includes protocols for discussion and mechanisms for facilitating communication among disparate groups as well as mechanical and technological aids to analysis and understanding. (use for conflict resolution methods)
environmental assessment
The evaluation of the status of a specific ecosystem or geographic area and how a proposed change in management or a proposed project will affect that status. (use for environmental analysis, environmental impact assessment)
TMDL
A calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a waterbody can receive and still meet water-quality standards. (use for total maximum daily load)
hazard preparedness
Awareness of the consequences of hazards and actions to be taken before, during, or after hazards occur or are encountered. (use for early warning systems, emergency response planning, fire preparedness, flood preparedness, hazard mitigation, landslide preparedness, tsunami preparedness)
earthquake preparedness
Awareness of the consequences of earthquake events and actions to be taken before, during, or after events.
aviation safety
Effects on air transportation of natural hazards such as volcanic activity (ash plumes and volcanic clouds).
information technology methods
Information-related concerns on which people focus their work in support of scientific investigations and research. (use for informatics activities)
data management
Activities focused on the creation, documentation, and preservation of scientific data with the intent that the data continue to be usable in the future. (use for collection management, data curation, digital curation, information management, knowledge management)
improvement of scientific data usability
Retrospective modification of the structure, format, packaging, or documentation of an existing scientific data resource to improve the likelihood of effective use of the data by individuals or organizations who did not create the data. (use for redatafication)
data preservation
Design, development, and implementation of methods for ensuring that scientific information remain accessible and usable despite changes in technology and strategic directions in the originating organzation. (use for data archiving)
data rescue
Reduction of the risk that scientific information will be lost or become unusable in the future. Includes copying data from unstable to stable media, conversion of data files from unusable to usable formats, and creation of metadata allowing further changes to the data and other characteristics to be documented.
metadata management
Curation and maintenance of the documentation for scientific information resources. Includes editing the metadata to improve consistency, completeness, and correctness, and modification of the structure of the documentation to improve its effectiveness in actual use.
information system administration
Design, deployment, and maintenance of computing systems that support creation, maintenance, and use of scientific information.
database administration
Design and implementation of strategies for arranging information within database management systems (including but not restricted to relational database management systems) so that the integrity and consistency of the information supports its intended uses.
network administration
Methods for ensuring that computers communicate effectively with one another and follow established standards and guidelines for ensuring integrity in exchanging information and efficiency in operation.
information system security
Methods for ensuring that information systems are used for their intended purpose by those entitled to use them and that the information they contain retains its integrity and, where appropriate, confidentiality.
data communication
Design, development, and deployment of methods to convey scientific information to potential users.
social network development
Design and use of software and interfaces that facilitate interchange of information among people or organizations that produce scientific data and the potential users of those data. Primarily refers to interactive web interfaces and services that enable discussion, collaboration, and comment on the data.
web interface development
Design of user interfaces for scientific information that are accessed using web browser software.
data packaging
Design of the structure, format, and arrangement of scientific data in digital files in order to facilitate their transfer and effective use by people and organizations other than the originators.
web service development
Design and deployment of data services accessed using the hypertext transfer protocol.
markup and query language development
Design of the structure and format of digital queries and responses concerning scientific data resources. Refers to exchanges in which the structure and content of the queries is interpreted by software both when generated and when received.
data integration
Strategies which, when implemented, enable disparate data to be combined in a single analysis. Includes combination of similar data from small components into larger, coherent assemblages as well as recognizing and exploiting relationships linking or connecting data that are maintained separately. May include efforts to make scientific information more easily found and obtained.
information architecture
Design of conceptual, logical, and physical information system components (both data and software) to support effective maintenance, integration, or use of the data.
knowledge organization system development
Design and development of information systems that represent and relate concepts needed to identify, specify, organize, categorize, or characterize scientific information effectively. Includes development of controlled vocabularies as well as hierarchical and networked concept schemes such as thesauri and ontologies. (use for ontology development)
software development
Design and development of procedures and instructions by which information is modified or presented. (use for application development, computer programming, programming)
natural resource management
Using a combination of techniques to control or direct the use of resources and limit population size to reach a predetermined goal, such as sustainability. (use for conservation, environmental management, environmental planning, resource conservation, resource restoration)
biological population management
Judicious means of controlling or directing numbers and life conditions of organisms living in a specific locality to achieve a selected goal. (use for conservation genetics)
fishery management
Controlling or directing numbers and life conditions of fish living in a specific locality to achieve a selected goal.
reintroduction (organisms)
Return of a species to an area through the intervention of man. (use for re-establishment (organisms), recolonization (organisms))
wildlife population management
Monitoring and control of wildlife as a sustainable natural asset.
game management
Scientific monitoring and control of hunted wildlife.
pest control
Intentional reduction in the abundance of specific harmful organisms in a given area.
controlled flooding
The deliberate inundation of land or wetland, or an increase in river flow below dams for restoration or research purposes. Do not confuse with flood control. (use for flooding (controlled), managed flooding)
ecosystem management
Means of controlling or directing human practices, species populations, and physical environment within an ecosystem to achieve a selected state of sustainability. (use for ecosystem preservation, reintroduction (organisms))
natural resource assessment
Estimation of the actual or potential value of natural materials and processes. (use for resource assessment)
remediation
Methods for decontaminating, reclaiming, and restoring natural resources or reducing the effects of hazards. (use for mitigation, reclamation, restoration)
bioremediation
Use of biological methods, usually involving microorganisms, to break down or neutralize contaminants in soil, water, and wastes. (use for biological remediation, revegetation)
water resource management
Methods of controlling or directing resources and activities related to water for a predetermined goal. (use for artificial recharge, impoundment, reclaimed water)
watershed management
Controlling and directing the resources and activities associated with the land and streams of a drainage basin to maintain the supply and quality of water and prevent floods, erosions, and other destructive conditions.
fire control
Human intervention to restrict or prevent fires in forests and grasslands. (use for fire prevention)
controlled fires
Prescribed burns used to burn trees, brush, and undergrowth that would fuel a large wildfire. Do not confuse this term with 'fire control'. It is one of the tools used in fire control. (use for controlled burns, fires (controlled), managed fires)
beach nourishment
Transfer of sand from offshore areas to resupply beach areas that have been eroded. (use for beach replenishment)
risk assessment
The evaluation of the likelihood of adverse effects due to a given factor such as energy development or recurring hazardous events such as earthquakes.
earthquake probabilities
That aspect of seismology that deals with the physical conditions or indications that precede an earthquake, in order to predict its probability, size, time, and location. (use for earthquake forecasting, earthquake prediction, seismicity maps)
landslide susceptibility assessment
Estimation of the probability of occurrence and likely severity of landslides in a given area. (use for landslide susceptibility maps, slope stability, slope stability maps)
volcanic eruption prediction
Estimation of future volcanic activity using geological and geophysical observations. (use for volcanic eruption forecasting)
photography
Process of using digital or film cameras to collect images of objects. (use for photographs)
underwater photography
Photographs taken below the water surface, usually in marine, lacustrine, and estuarine environments. Subjects are typically benthic organisms and sedimentary structures on the sea floor. (use for camera tows)
remote sensing
Acquiring information about a natural feature or phenomenon, such as the Earth's surface, without actually being in contact with it. USGS remote sensing is usually carried out with airborne or spaceborne sensors or cameras. (use for airborne imaging, composite burn index, normalized burn ratio, photogrammetry, remote-sensing data, remote-sensing images, satellite altimetry, satellite images, satellite imaging, space-borne sensing)
aerial photography
The process of taking pictures with a camera from an aircraft. Use for both the process of photography from the air and the images produced by the process. (use for aerial photographs, aerial photos, air photos, orthoimagery, orthophotographs)
aeromagnetic surveying
Mapping of the earth's magnetic field with the use of airborne electronic magnetometers. (use for aeromagnetic maps, magnetic surveying)
aeroradiometric surveying
Mapping of gamma radiation from the earth's surface with airborne scintillation meters or gamma-ray spectrometers. (use for gamma-ray spectrometric surveying)
hyperspectral imaging
Multispectral imaging technique that records many bands of imagery at very narrow bandwidths.
IFSAR
Interferometric comparison of radar reflectance imagery of the same area at different times to determine changes in the land surface, typically from a space-borne sensor. (use for InSAR, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR), SAR interferometry)
infrared imaging
Method of remote sensing in which optical sensors produce visible representations of infrared rays or radiated heat from the observed objects and the temperature variations are represented by different colors in the image.
AVHRR
Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer or broad-band, four or five channel scanner, sensing in the visible, near-infrared, and thermal infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. This information is used to estimate characteristics of the land and sea surface such as temperature and overall health of vegetation. (use for AVHRR images, Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR))
AVIRIS
(use for airborne visible infrared imaging spectrometer)
LIDAR
LIDAR (LIght Detection and Ranging) is an airborne, spaceborne or ground-based laser-ranging technique commonly used for acquiring high-resolution topographic data. (use for LIDAR images, LIght Detection and Ranging)
microwave imaging
Remote sensing method using short high frequency electromagnetic waves reflected or radiated from the ground.
SMMR
Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR), a technique which uses a multichannel microwave radiometer mounted on an airplane or satellite to measure polarized microwave radiances from the atmosphere, seas or land. Temperatures, wind speeds, sea ice coverage, and terrain parameters can be obtained. (use for SMMR images, Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR))
SSM/I
Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I), technique using passive microwave radiometers aboard satellites to measure the microwave reflectivity of the earth, oceans, and the atmosphere. (use for SSM/I images, Special Sensor Microwave/Imager (SSM/I))
multispectral imaging
A method of remote sensing that obtains optical representations in two or more ranges of frequencies or wave lengths. (use for ASTER, Landsat images, MODIS, Moderate-resolution imaging spectroradiometer, advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer, thematic mapper)
panchromatic imaging
Photographic technique which uses emulsions, films, or plates sensitive to all colors in light to produce black-and-white photographs. Often used in aerial and satellite photography.
radar imaging
A remote sensing technique which uses the reflection of pulsed high frequency radio waves to determine the speed, direction, and distance of faraway objects.
SLAR
Side-looking Airborne Radar, an airborne radar imaging technique, uses an antenna mounted on an airplane or satellite to project radiation at right angles to the flight path and collect high resolution images. (use for Side-Looking Airborne Radar (SLAR))
doppler radar imaging
Exploitation of the doppler effect in radar imaging to determine speed of airborne objects such as birds, butterflies, and clouds. (use for radar ecology)
thermal imaging
Remote sensing techniques using instruments to measure emitted thermal radiation to form images of the earth's surface.
visible light imaging
Remote sensing methods using electromagnetic radiation which is visible to the human eye to react with the coating on a photographic plate or film. (use for satellite photography)
videography
The process of recording and editing analog or digital video.
product types
General representation of the information in a resource, such as a map or data set.
catalogs and indexes
Detailed enumeration of related items listed in a given order, or alphabetical lists of topics used for information retrieval. (use for clearinghouses, indexes, lists of publications, metadata)
bibliographies
List of publications on a given topic, by an author or group, or published in a specific time period. Limited here to lists primarily of paper documents.
directories
Searchable lists of people, typically USGS staff.
gazetteers
Indexed collections of geographic names.
datasets
Digital information in a format suitable for direct input to software that can analyze its meaning in the scientific, engineering, or business context for which the data were collected. (use for data, databases, streamflow data, water-quality data)
geospatial datasets
Collections of related digital information that are geographically referenced. (use for DLG, GIS datasets, cartographic data (digital), digital cartographic data, digital cartographic datasets, digital line graphs, geodata, geographic information system (GIS) datasets, geospatial data)
digital elevation models
Gridded elevation, geographically referenced to the surface of the earth, as digital data (use for DDMs, DEMs, DTMs, digital depth models, digital terrain models)
hydrographic datasets
Datasets for graphs showing variation of water elevation, velocity, streamflow, or other property of water with respect to time.
time series datasets
Digital information describing observations taken at regular time intervals. The time interval may vary; the type of observed phenomena and the location typically do not.
reports
Written items, especially those that are official, factual, or informative, often including graphics as well as text. (use for abstracts, articles (publications), biographies, books and book chapters, dissertations, documents, guidelines, journal articles, journals, memos, newsletters, pamphlets, brochures, and booklets, papers (publications), planning reports, proceedings, published series, scientific reports, serial publications, technical reports, text documents, theses, transcripts, workshop reports, yearbooks)
checklists
Inventories or lists of related items for checking off or reference.
guidebooks
Books intended to direct and instruct travelers in a given area and often geared to special interests, such as observing local birds, understanding geological features, or locating endemic plants. (use for field guides, field trip guidebooks)
manuals
Documents giving instructions on using specified equipment or accomplishing specified tasks. (use for technical instructions, user guides)
standards
An object or instrument of known properties used as a model, for comparison, or a set of rules used to assure quality.
conference proceedings
Collections of abstracts or papers given during a specific meeting, conference, or workshop.
strategic plans
Documents describing overall strategy, not presenting substantive scientific findings. (use for science strategy)
image collections
Visible representations of objects produced by optical or spectral instruments or cameras. (use for AVHRR images, LIDAR images, Landsat images, aerial photographs, aerial photos, air photos, orthoimagery, orthophotographs, photographs, pictures, remote-sensing data, remote-sensing images, satellite images, scientists-at-work photographs)
image mosaics
Composite images formed by overlapping existing images, typically arranged to achieve greater spatial coverage. (use for sidescan sonar mosaics)
maps and atlases
Representation, usually on a flat surface, of a part or whole of the Earth or other parts of the universe. Collections of maps linked digitally or bound together in a book are called atlases. (use for aeromagnetic maps, atlases, basement maps, cadastral maps, charts, depth-to maps, earthquake activity maps, earthquake epicenter maps, earthquake occurrence maps, engineering geology maps, geochemical anomaly maps, geophysical maps, geotechnical properties maps, gravity anomaly maps, ground motion maps, hydrologic maps, land subsidence maps, land use maps, landslide maps, landslide susceptibility maps, lithologic maps, magnetic anomaly maps, maps, paleotectonic maps, rock mechanics maps, seismic hazard maps, seismic reflection survey maps, seismicity maps, shaking maps (seismic), slope stability maps, species distribution maps, subsurface maps, surficial geologic maps, tectonic maps, thickness maps)
geologic maps
Maps depicting geological characteristics of the earth's surface, including lithology, geologic structure, age, and the results of crustal processes.
topographic maps
Maps depicting the elevation and relief of the land surface or depth of a water body (bathymetry) in an area, usually shown using contour lines. Typically these maps include manmade features and administrative boundaries as well as vegetation and hydrographic features. (use for bathymetric maps, elevation maps, topo maps)
posters
Large single sheets of paper or board imprinted with informative text and graphics. Intended for hanging or flat display.
scientific software
Routines, programs, and procedures devised in order to direct computers to perform specific tasks. (use for computer program)
official communications
Corporate releases of information by USGS not generally intended to document the details of scientific data or techniques for a scientific audience.
news releases
Short information memoranda issued by organizations to highlight new activities, appointments, or discoveries for the news media. (use for press releases)
policies and regulations
Rules, orders, and procedures issued by organizations or governments for administrative, controlling, and managing purposes. (use for regulations)
speeches and testimony
(use for oral presentations, talks, testimony)
videos
Animation or other motion pictures, including videotape and DVD products.
materials standards
Physical materials such as chemicals, rocks, water, or biological materials that are used for reference when carrying out laboratory analysis. (use for laboratory reference materials, standard reference samples)
presentation materials
Diagrams, photos, and text gathered together as part of a presentation given in a meeting or class. (use for powerpoint)
sound recordings
Information presented in a format for listening by the user. (use for audio recordings, podcasts)
animations
Graphical representation of scientific data presented as a timed sequence of visual images, normally without sound.
terminologies and classifications
Collections of terms often including definitions or scope notes, with some stated relationships among terms (use for controlled vocabularies, glossaries)
geologic time scales
Named divisions of geologic time used to specify relationships among geologic units and structural features
sciences
Major educational fields, fields of study, and professional groupings within USGS.
earth sciences
Broad term for all science related to the study of the earth. (use for geosciences)
atmospheric sciences
Studies relating to composition, structure, physics, chemistry, and dynamics of the atmosphere.
climatology
Scientific study of the characteristic weather conditions of geographic areas.
meteorology
Branch of science dealing with the short-term variations of atmospheric conditions including wind, precipitation, temperature, humidity, cloud cover, and air pressure.
geochemistry
Study of the distribution of chemical elements and natural compounds on the earth and in the atmosphere and the chemical processes that affect the earth. (use for chemistry (Earth sciences), geochemical anomaly maps)
soil chemistry
Branch of chemistry concerned with the elements and compounds that make up soils. Includes chemical processes involving soils.
water chemistry
Branch of chemistry that deals with the elements and compounds in water.
marine chemistry
Branch of chemistry that deals with the properties, composition, structure, and interaction of substances in the seas and oceans. (use for chemical oceanography, ocean chemistry, water properties (marine))
geography
Study of the earth's landforms, topography, and climate, the distribution of flora and fauna, and the distribution, culture, and activities of human populations. (use for geographic information sciences)
cartography
The science and art of making maps. (use for digital cartography, map making, mapmaking, mapping)
paleogeography
Study of the history of earth surface characteristics; geomorphology in the past.
geology
Study of the planet earth, its composition, structure, physical and chemical processes, and history since its origin. (use for subsurface maps)
economic geology
Scientific study of the formation, location, and use of marketable geologic materials including fuels, metals, minerals, and water.
geochronology
Study of the age of the earth by dating geological formations, rocks, and fossils.
geomorphology
Branch of geology dealing with surface land features and the processes that create and change them. (use for speleology)
hydrogeology
Study of subsurface waters and geologic aspects of surface waters. (use for geohydrology, groundwater geology, hydrographic sections)
marine geology
Branch of geology concerned with the composition, geologic history, and earth processes of the ocean floor and the continental margin. (use for geological oceanography)
mineralogy
Branch of earth sciences concerned with the study of naturally occurring inorganic elements or compounds. (use for crystallography, gemology)
petrology
Branch of earth sciences concerned with the origin, structure, alteration, and composition of rocks.
sedimentology
Branch of earth sciences concerned with the study of the origin, composition, transport, and changes of materials deposited by water, wind, or ice.
stratigraphy
Branch of geology concerned with the study of the formation, composition, ordering in time, and arrangement in space of stratified rocks.
structural geology
Branch of geology concerned with the distribution, position, shape, and internal structure of rocks.
volcanology
The branch of geology that deals with volcanism and the processes involved in magma flow and eruption through a vent in the earth's surface. (use for vulcanology)
geophysics
Branch of geology studying the physical characteristics and phenomena of the earth and its atmosphere. (use for geophysical maps)
geodesy
Branch of science dealing with measuring the earth or large areas of the earth for making maps, determining the size and shape of the earth, and correlating gravitational, geological, and magnetic surveys of the earth.
marine geophysics
Branch of earth sciences concerned with the physical processes of the oceans and continental margins.
seismology
Branch of earth sciences concerned with the study of earthquakes and man-induced seismic waves. (use for earthquake seismology, engineering seismology, exploration seismology)
paleoseismology
Branch of seismology concerned with ancient earthquakes. Clues which indicate seismic activities in the geologic past are used to date and determine the effects of those earthquakes.
tectonophysics
Branch of geophysics concerned with the structural forces affecting the deformation, uplift, and movement of the earth's crust.
glaciology
Science dealing with the features, origins, processes, and properties of snow, ice, glaciers, and ice sheets. (use for cryology, glacial geology)
hydrology
Branch of earth science that deals with water as it occurs in the atmosphere, on the surface of the ground, and underground. (use for hydrologic maps)
hydrodynamics
Principles of fluid dynamics applied to water bodies. (use for fluid dynamics)
limnology
Scientific study of the physical and biological characteristics of inland bodies of water such as lakes and ponds.
ocean sciences
Sciences involved in the study of geological, biological, chemical, and physical characteristics and processes of the oceans. (use for oceanography, physical oceanography)
paleoceanography
Study of the oceans in the geologic past, including their physical, chemical, biologic, and geologic history.
paleontology
Study of life in past geologic time based on fossil plants and animals. (use for paleozoology, phylogeny, taphonomy)
invertebrate paleontology
Branch of paleontology which deals with fossil animals without backbones.
micropaleontology
Branch of paleontology dealing with fossils too small to be seen without a microscope.
paleobotany
Branch of paleontology concerned with the study of fossil plants and plant life in the geologic past.
vertebrate paleontology
Branch of paleontology dealing with fossil animals that have spinal columns.
soil sciences
Earth sciences dealing with the origin, classification, physical, chemical, and biological properties of soils. (use for pedology (soils))
engineering sciences
Sciences involved in the application of scientific and mathematical principles to construction, machinery, mechanical design, mining and manufacturing processes and other practical activities. (use for engineering seismology)
engineering geology
Branch of geology involved in the application of soil and rock mechanics, natural hazards, and other geological studies to the practice of engineering and construction. (use for engineering geology maps, geotechnical properties maps, rock mechanics maps)
hydraulic engineering
Branch of engineering which applies the physical properties of fluids, such as flow and pressure, to the design and use of machinery, pumps, pipelines, etc. (use for hydraulic models, hydraulics)
information sciences
Sciences dealing with the compilation, processing, classification, display, transmission, storage, and retrieval of recorded knowledge.
biological informatics
Development and use of computer, statistical, and other tools in the collection, organization, dissemination, and use of information to solve problems in the life sciences. (use for bioinformatics)
computer science
Study of computers, including their design (architecture), uses (computations, data processing), and systems control.
life sciences
Branches of science that study living and fossil organisms. (use for biological sciences, biology)
anatomy and physiology
Study of the body structures (anatomy) and life functions and activities (physiology)of plants and animals. (use for physiology)
endocrinology
Study of the collection of ductless glands that secrete hormones which influence growth, gender, sexual maturity, and other attributes.
histology
Branch of anatomy concerned with the microscopic structure of plant and animal tissue.
immunology
Branch of biology which studies the body's production of lymphocytes, antibodies, and macrophages in response to foreign substances or pathogenic organisms.
aquatic biology
The scientific study of organisms living in or near water. This term is to be used for the science of 'aquatic biology' and for biological studies in fresh and brackish water. For marine biological studies, use 'marine biology'.
biochemistry
Study of chemical processes that occur within or are mediated by living organisms. (use for biogeochemistry, chemistry (life sciences), environmental chemistry)
botany
The science of plants.
palynology
Branch of botany concerned with the study of pollen and spores, especially fossil remains. These are used to study plant life and dispersal in geologic history and to date deposits.
phycology
Branch of biology concerned with the study of algae. (use for algology)
cell biology
Branch of biology that deals with the study of the formation, structure, and physiology of cells. (use for cellular biology, cytology)
developmental biology
Scientific study of the processes related to the transformation of living organisms from single cells to complex multi-celled individuals. (use for embryology)
ecology
Study of the relations between living plants and animals and their environment. (use for bionomics)
ecotoxicology
Scientific study of causes, dispersal, and effects of contaminants on the environment. (use for environmental toxicology, toxicology)
genetics
Branch of biology that deals with heredity or the passing of traits in living organisms from one generation to the next. (use for heredity)
marine biology
Branch of biology concerned with the organisms and habitats of the seas and oceans. (use for biological oceanography)
microbiology
Branch of biology dealing with organisms too small to be seen without the use of a microscope.
bacteriology
Study of the single celled microorganisms known as bacteria.
virology
Branch of biology dealing with viruses and viral diseases.
molecular biology
Branch of biology concerned with the study of physiology at the molecular level.
morphology (biological)
The scientific study of the form, shape, and structure of plants and animals and their fossil remains.
mycology
Branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi.
parasitology
Branch of biology concerned with the study of organisms that, living on or in another organism, take nutrition from the host and often harm it.
pathology
Branch of biology concerned with the study of the causes, progress, symptoms, diagnosis, and effects of diseases. (use for pathobiology)
systematics and taxonomy
Study of the identification, naming, and classification of organisms. (use for taxonomy)
zoology
Branch of biology that deals with the reproduction, development and growth, anatomy, physiology, and behavior of animals. (use for malacology)
invertebrate zoology
Branch of biology dealing with animals having no backbones or spinal columns.
entomology
Branch of zoology involved in studying insects.
vertebrate zoology
Branch of zoology that deals with animals that have spinal columns.
herpetology
Branch of zoology concerned with the study of reptiles and amphibians.
ichthyology
Branch of zoology concerned with the study of fish.
mammalogy
Branch of zoology concerned with the study of mammals.
ornithology
Branch of biology concerned with the study of birds.
wildlife biology
Branch of biology dealing with living organisms, usually mammals, birds, or fishes, that are not domesticated or dependent on man.
ethology
Study of animal behavior under natural conditions
planetary sciences
Scientific study of the solid bodies of the solar system, including planets, moons, asteroids, meteorites, and interplanetary materials. (use for astronomy, planetology)
social sciences
Sciences concerned with the structure and interrelationships of human societies, human institutions and organizations, and human culture over time.
archeology
Study of human cultures through the recovery and analysis of their material relics. (use for archaeology)
topics
Themes, subjects, and concerns for which USGS information resources are relevant.
agriculture
The science and business of soil cultivation to raise crops and of animal husbandry to raise domesticated animals. (use for farming, horticulture, livestock husbandry)
aquaculture
The farming of organisms that live in water, such as fish, shellfish, and algae for human use. (use for fish farming)
biological and physical processes
All continuing activities, functions, and phenomena associated with organisms and non-living matter. (use for bioenergetic processes)
atmospheric and climatic processes
Phenomena affecting or occurring within the mass of gases that surrounds the earth, including its physics, chemistry, dynamics, and weather conditions. (use for climate, microclimate, weather, weather monitoring, weather observations)
atmospheric circulation
Movement of atmospheric gases around the earth.
atmospheric deposition (chemical & particulate)
The transfer of substances from the air to the surface of the earth, either in wet form (rain, fog, snow, dew, frost, hail) or in dry form (gases, aerosols, particles). (use for atmospheric deposition (chemical and particulate), atmospheric dust deposition)
acid deposition
The process by which emissions, chiefly sulfur and nitrogen compounds, either react with the atmosphere when deposited on earth by precipitation of snow, rain, or fog with a pH of 5.5 or below, or settle out as acidic particles or gases. (use for acid precipitation, acid rain, acid snow, acidic deposition)
climate change
Long-term alteration in the characteristic weather conditions of a region, such as changes in precipitation and temperature. (use for climate history, climate variability, climatic change, global climate change, global warming, paleoclimate)
desertification
The alteration of arable land to dry, barren land due to prolonged drought or the deleterious effects of human intervention including overgrazing, overpopulation, or destructive agricultural practices.
droughts
Extended periods of moisture deficit over a sizeable area sufficient to have an adverse effect on vegetation, animals, or man.
ocean-atmosphere interaction
Processes, including momentum, heat, gas and other exchanges, which result in profound effects on climate and interactions between the air in the lowest part of the atmosphere and the oceans. (use for El Nino, La Nina)
precipitation (atmospheric)
Any or all forms of water particles that fall from the atmosphere, such as rain, snow, hail and sleet. (use for precipitation measurement, rain, rainfall, rainfall measurement, snow, snowfall, snowfall measurement)
storms
Atmospheric disturbances with winds of unusual force or direction. Accompanied by rain, snow, hail, or sleet, and often by thunder and lightning.
blizzards
Severe snowstorms with intense winds.
hurricanes
Severe cyclones, or revolving storms, originating over the equatorial regions of the earth, accompanied by torrential rain, lightning, and winds with a speed greater than 74 miles per hour. (use for typhoons)
ice storms
Storms in which falling snow or rain freezes on contact with surfaces on the ground.
tornadoes
Violent storms characterized by whirling funnels of wind moving at great speeds.
dust storms
Atmospheric disturbances in which a significant amount of dust is transported.
evaporation
Transfer of water from a surface into the atmosphere. (use for evapotranspiration)
wind
Local air movements. (use for wind erosion)
greenhouse effect
Local, regional, or global warming in the atmosphere due to the higher heat capacity of certain gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone.
ecological processes
Dynamic biogeochemical interactions that occur among and between biotic and abiotic components of the biosphere. (use for ecological models, environmental processes)
algal blooms
Exceptional growth of algae and cyanobacteria in lakes, rivers or oceans due to excessive nutrients or climatic conditions. (use for brown tides, harmful algal blooms, red tides)
bioaccumulation
The biological sequestering of a substance at a higher concentration than that at which it occurs in the surrounding environment or medium. Also, the process whereby a substance enters an organism through the gills, epithelial tissues, dietary, or other sources. (use for bioconcentration)
biogeochemical cycling
The cycling of chemical constituents through a biological system. (use for biogeochemical functioning, biogeochemical processes, decomposition (organic), organic decomposition)
carbon cycling
The circulation of carbon in the biosphere, atmosphere, and hydrosphere through a series of processes that include photosynthesis, consumption, and respiration.
nutrient cycling
The exchange of elements or compounds essential for the nourishment of organisms in an ecosystem. (use for nutrient balance)
food web
The complex intertwining of the interrelated food chains in an ecosystem. (use for food chain, food cycle, trophic level dynamics, trophic relationships)
biological productivity
The rate at which primary producers in the ecosystem utilize solar energy to produce food for consumption by other organisms. Do not use this term for productivity of organisms related to studies of the reproduction rates of a species.
contaminant transport
Processes involved in the movement of impurities through air, water, and soil.
dispersal (organisms)
The dissemination or geographic spread of individuals of a plant or animal population. (use for colonization (organisms))
ecological competition
The struggle between members of two or more species for scarce environmental resources.
ecosystem functions
The total life activities of organisms in habitats and the effects of those activities on the nonliving components of the environment. (use for estuarine ecosystem functions)
wetland functions
Processes related to wetlands such as support of ecosystems, evaporation effects on weather, nutrient cycles, etc.
eutrophication
The process by which water becomes enriched with plant nutrients, most commonly phosphorus and nitrogen.
extinction and extirpation
Extinction is the complete disappearance of a species from the earth. Extirpation is the complete disappearance (elimination) of a species from a given region, island, or area. (use for extirpation)
habitat alteration
Natural or human-related changes in the environments where plants and animals live. (use for habitat destruction)
fire damage
Destruction of surficial materials and vegetation by burning. (use for composite burn index, normalized burn ratio)
migration (organisms)
The movement of animals, often periodical, from one area to another due to seasonal changes, availability of food, or climatic conditions. (use for biological invasions, flyways, seasonal migration)
pollination
Wind, bees, or other agents transfer plant pollen from flower anthers or cones to stigmas, thereby fertilizing plants for reproduction.
succession (biological)
Gradual replacement of one species in an area by another. (use for ecologic succession)
transpiration
Evaporation of water from plants. (use for evapotranspiration)
fires
Combustion, marked by flames or intense heat, in natural settings, often ignited by lightning or human activities. For fires set as part of natural resource management, use 'controlled fires'. (use for fire preparedness, fires (uncontrolled), wildfires)
geochemical processes
Processes affecting the amount, distribution, or structure of chemical elements in air, water, soil, rocks, and minerals.
biodegradation
Reduction in the concentration of harmful chemicals by the action of animals and plants. (use for natural attenuation (harmful chemicals))
ore formation
Geochemical processes resulting in concentration of useful chemical elements and compounds, in earth materials. Typically refers to metal ores. (use for metallogeny)
oxidation and reduction
Addition or reduction of oxygen in a compound accompanied by exchange of electrons among atoms. (use for fermentation)
reaction transport
Chemical reactions occurring during ground-water flow.
sorption
Attachment of chemical substances to materials, either externally (by adsorption) or internally (by absorption). (use for absorption, adsorption)
carbon sequestration
Long-term storage of carbon in soils and terrestrial organic material, typically of importance in understanding the balance of CO2 in the global climate system.
geologic processes
All types of processes involving geological structures. (use for lithification)
diagenesis
Chemical, physical, and biological changes in sediment during and after its conversion to rock (lithification).
earthquakes
Ground shaking caused by the sudden release of accumulated strain by an abrupt shift of rock along a fracture in the earth or by volcanic or magmatic activity, or other sudden stress changes in the earth. (use for earthquake hazards)
earthquake occurrences
Time, location, severity, and mechanism of earthquake events, including the frequency and history of events in a given area. (use for earthquake activity maps, earthquake epicenter maps, earthquake occurrence maps, earthquake seismology, ground motion, ground motion maps, seismic activity, seismic hazard maps, seismicity, shaking maps (seismic), strong motion)
erosion
The process whereby materials of the earth's crust are loosened, dissolved, or worn away and simultaneously moved from one place to another. (use for beach erosion, coastal erosion, dissolution, shoreline erosion, shoreline retreat, wind erosion)
sinkhole formation
Localized collapse of the land surface usually due to erosion of the underlying materials. Most commonly occurring in karst areas, but similar effects occur due to physical erosion in other terranes.
glaciation
The geologic processes involved in the formation, movement, changes, and effects of large ice masses (glaciers).
heat flow (earth)
Energy transferred by a difference in temperature through the surface of the earth. (use for geothermics, heatflow (earth))
hydrothermal processes
Natural phenomena relating to heated water generated by igneous activity.
isostasy
Condition of equilibrium or buoyancy of the earth's crust above the mantle.
subsidence
Settling, compaction, or caving in of land caused by subsurface mining, ground-water withdrawal, or pumping of oil and gas. (use for land subsidence, land subsidence maps)
liquefaction
Physical process which can occur during an earthquake. Clay-free soil deposits (primarily sands and silts)temporarily lose strength and behave as viscuous fluids, resulting in ground failure.
metamorphism (geological)
Process by which rocks are altered in composition and texture by extreme heat, high pressure, or the action of chemicals.
alteration
Local changes in the mineralogy of a rock body due to low-grade metamorphism, weathering, or both. May indicate underlying mineral deposits.
sediment transport
Transport of solid particles of unconsolidated rock and mineral fragments, chemical precipitates, or biological materials. (use for alluvial transport, bed load, bedload, density flow, dust transport, estuarine sediment transport, littoral drift, longshore drift, marine sediment transport, suspended load, turbidity flow)
sedimentation
Process of deposition of sediments (loose, uncemented pieces of rock, mineral fragments, or biological materials). The sediments settle out of water or air into layers on a surface. (use for alluvial sedimentation, deposition (sediment), dust deposition)
tectonic processes
The structural forces affecting the deformation, uplift, and movement of the earth's crust. (use for continental drift, dynamic geology, paleotectonic maps, plate tectonics, subduction, tectonic maps, tectonics, wilson cycle)
neotectonic processes
Changes which took place during geological time after the Miocene era and are associated with the structural forces that affect the deformation, uplift, and movement occurring in the earth's crust. (use for neotectonics)
volcanic activity
Episodes during which gases, ash, and lava (molten rock) escape from vents in the earth's crust, accompanied by minor tremors. (use for eruption, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, volcanic tremors, volcanism, volcano monitoring)
volcanic gas emission
Emission of gases from fumaroles and volcanoes. (use for fumarolic activity)
earth tides
Periodic changes in the earth surface topography caused by the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun, measured with tiltmeters. Used in studies of volcanic activity.
deformation (geologic)
Change in form and structure of geologic materials in response to stress, typically heat and pressure. (use for rheology, strain history)
folding (geologic)
A property of geologic structures to bend or curve from the planar layers. (use for crenulation (geologic))
fracture (geologic)
Break in a geologic structure including cracks, joints, and faults. (use for cleavage (rock), jointing (geologic))
faulting (geologic)
Movement of earth materials along fracture surfaces.
soil formation
Geological, geochemical, and ecological processes that work together to produce soils. (use for pedogenesis)
magnetic storms
A period of time during which the earth's magnetic field varies rapidly. During magnetic storms, satellite electronics can be damaged through the build up and subsequent discharge of static electric charges and astronauts and high-altitude pilots can be subjected to increased levels of radiation. (use for geomagnetic storms)
slope processes
The down slope movement of earth material under the influence of gravity. (use for mass wasting, soil creep)
landslides
Downslope movement of rock, soil, or artificial fill under the influences of gravity. (use for avalanches, debris avalanches, debris flows, earth flows, landslide maps, landslide preparedness, mudslides, rockfalls, slides (land), slumps)
lahars
Downslope flow of ash and rock debris resulting from volcanic activity.
uplift
Local or regional rise in the elevation of the land surface, usually due to tectonic or volcanic processes.
ocean processes
Recurrent natural changes that are physical, biological, or chemical, actively affecting the seas and oceans. (use for marine sediment transport, oceans)
ocean circulation
Movement of large masses of water within an ocean. (use for circulation (ocean))
ocean currents
Recurrent strong flows of seawater generated by wind or variations in water density along a given path. (use for ocean current measurement)
ocean waves
A periodic movement of seawater caused by wind, tide, and currents. (use for ocean wave measurement, water waves)
tsunamis
Sea waves generated by submarine earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or landslides, which are generally imperceptible in deep water but may be very destructive when striking the shoreline. (use for tidal waves, tsunami preparedness)
tides (oceanic)
The periodic rise and fall of the level of the sea due to the gravitational attraction of the moon and sun. Occurs twice each day. (use for ocean tides)
physiological processes
Characteristics and processes of individual organisms that are not the direct result of their interaction with other organisms or with the environment.
organism growth and development
Changes that living things undergo as they progress from inception as a single cell to adult forms. (use for ontogeny)
metamorphosis
Transformation in animals, such as amphibians and insects, from one developmental stage to another. (use for metamorphism (biological))
anatomical deformities
Physical malformation of organisms typically resulting from exposure to contaminants, disease, or adverse environmental conditions.
bioluminescence
Emission of light by organisms.
osmosis
Transfer of substances through biological membranes.
photosynthesis
Conversion of sunlight, water, and nutrients into energy by plants.
hydrologic processes
floods
Relatively high water that overflows the natural or artificial banks of a stream or coastal area that submerges land not normally below water level. (use for bankfull stage, flood preparedness)
storm surge
Coastal high water level caused by wind from storms.
groundwater flow
Movement of subsurface water in the saturated zone from areas of recharge to areas of discharge. (use for fluid migration, ground-water flow, groundwater flow modeling, groundwater movement)
streamflow
A type of channel flow, applied to a specific part of surface runoff in a stream, whether or not it is affected by diversion or regulation. (use for flood stage, fluvial processes, gage height, stream current, stream flow, stream stage, streamflow data, streamflow modeling)
stream discharge
Volume of water in a stream passing a given point at a given moment in time, expressed as a measure of volume per unit of time, i.e. cubic feet per second, million gallons per day, or gallons per minute. (use for river discharge, stream discharge monitoring)
turbidity
Cloudiness in the water column, caused by the presence of suspended and dissolved matter such as clay, silt, organic matter, or plankton. (use for turbulence)
water circulation
The flow of water in a body of water due to wind or other forces or variations in density or temperature. Use 'water circulation' for situations that are not specifically covered by narrower terms. Use 'ocean circulation' for water circulation in the oceans. (use for circulation (water), lake circulation)
water cycle
Interchange of water among land, oceans, and atmosphere. (use for hydrologic cycle, recharge)
percolation
The movement of water through fractures or interstices of a rock or soil. (use for infiltration (water))
runoff
Flow of water over land surfaces (including paved surfaces), typically from precipitation. (use for stormwater runoff, urban runoff)
saltwater intrusion
Infusion of saline waters in an aquifer or body of surface water. (use for salt-water intrusion)
scour
Erosion of sediment in a stream bed, often occurring at manmade structures such as bridge supports. (use for bridge scour)
groundwater and surface-water interaction
Traditionally, management of water resources has focused on surface water or groundwater as if they were separate entities. As development of land and water resources increases, it is apparent that development of either of these resources affects the quantity and quality of the other. Nearly all surface-water features (streams, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands, and estuaries) interact with groundwater. These interactions take many forms. In many situations, surface-water bodies gain water and solutes from groundwater systems and in others the surface-water body is a source of groundwater recharge and causes changes in groundwater quality. As a result, withdrawal of water from streams can deplete groundwater or conversely, pumpage of groundwater can deplete water in streams, lakes, or wetlands. Pollution of surface water can cause degradation of groundwater quality and conversely pollution of groundwater can degrade surface water. (use for aquifer-surface water interaction, ground-water/surface-water interaction, groundwater/surface water interaction, hyporheic zone processes, surface water/groundwater interaction, surface-water/ground-water interaction)
evolution
Change in the genetic composition of populations of living organisms. (use for gene flow)
impact cratering
Impact of extraterrestrial objects such as asteroids, comets, and meteorites on Earth. (use for asteroid impact, bolide impact, comet impact, meteor impact)
coastal processes
Processes unique to coastal areas including longshore transport, beach erosion, storm surge, shoreline change, delta formation, barrier island migration, beach stabilization by vegetation (use for beach erosion, coastal erosion, shoreline change, shoreline erosion, shoreline retreat)
longshore currents
Movement of water parallel to the coast due to waves striking the shoreline at an angle (use for littoral drift, longshore drift)
estuarine processes
Processes affecting estuaries including tides, waves, mixing of fluvial and marine waters (use for estuarine sediment transport)
estuarine currents
Movement of water within estuaries due to the complex interaction of winds, tides, and variations in water density
estuarine mixing
Interaction of tidal forcing and river discharge in an estuary, leading to any of three vertical salinity profiles: salt wedge, stratified, or well mixed. We also include mixing due to extreme events such as storm surge.
culture and demographics
Information on human behavior, ways of living and thinking, and characteristics of human populations. (use for demographics, socioeconomics)
administrative and political boundaries
Lines drawn on maps or described in documents which encompass territory controlled by a government or organizational unit that may or may not align with geographic or cultural barriers. Use for datasets containing boundary representations for political/administrative units and related information. (use for borders, geographic boundaries, governmental units, political boundaries)
business and economics
The activities and processes associated with the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. (use for commerce, economics)
recycling
Physical processes by which previously-used materials are converted from scrap and waste to reusable forms.
cadastral and legal land descriptions
Records in official registers showing extent, boundaries, and ownerships of land for administration and taxation. (use for cadastral maps, land partitioning systems, legal land descriptions)
laws and regulations
Legal statements of the government regarding actions people or corporations might undertake. (use for legal processes, legislation, statutes)
transportation
Movement of people or materials from one place to another for economic, political, or recreational purposes. (use for air transportation, aviation, ground transportation)
geographic names
Names by which cultural and geographic features are known. Generally to be used for collections of names stored in gazetteers.
population (human)
Geographic distribution and temporal trends of human habitation in specific areas
earth characteristics
The measurable, definable properties and features of the earth.
atmospheric properties
Characteristics of the mass of gases surrounding the earth such as composition, temperature, pressure, and humidity. (use for atmosphere properties)
air temperature
(use for temperature (air))
atmospheric composition
Components of the mass of gases that surrounds a planet. The earth's atmosphere consists of nitrogen, oxygen, and small portions of other gases. (use for air pollution)
greenhouse gases
Atmospheric gases, including carbon dioxide, fluorocarbons, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride, ozone, and water vapor, that trap radiant (infrared) energy keeping the earth's surface warmer than it would otherwise be.
ozone layer
Upper atmosphere layer composed of ozone, a gas made up of molecules comprised of three oxygen atoms, which helps to shield the earth from ultraviolet rays. (use for ozonesphere)
earth structure
Major interior structural features of the planet earth.
core (earth)
The superdense center of the earth composed of two layers: a liquid outer layer and a solid inner core of metallic iron-nickel alloy.
inner core (earth)
The solid interior part of the earth's core, presumed to be composed principally of iron with an alloy of about 10 percent oxygen, sulfur, or nickel, or perhaps some combination of these three elements. The inner core is about 1221 kilometers thick.
outer core (earth)
Outer zone of the earth's core between the mantle and the inner core.
crust (earth)
The outermost layer of the earth which is relatively thin, of lower density than the core, and rocky.
lithosphere
The solid outer zone of the earth comprising the crust and the upper layer of the mantle.
continental lithosphere
The earth's hard, outermost shell comprised of the crust and the upper part of the mantle. (use for craton)
oceanic lithosphere
The solid outer zone of the earth, covered by seawater, and comprised of the crust and the upper layer of the mantle.
mantle (earth)
Zone of earth's interior between the crust and the core. It is 2,900 kilometers (1,740 miles) thick and consists of a dense upper layer (upper mantle) and a partially molten lower layer (lower mantle), separated by a transition zone.
asthenosphere
A layer of the earth within the upper mantle and directly below the lithosphere. This layer has a semi-solid consistency that reaches to about 200 kilometers (124 miles) below the surface.
geologic history
Record (and inferred reconstruction) of the origin and development of the earth since its formation. (use for chronostratigraphy, geohistory)
biostratigraphy
Branch of geology concerned with the separation and differentiation of rock units based on the fossils they contain.
earth history
The structural and compositional changes that the earth has undergone from its formation. Use for discussions of the whole earth (or large sections of it) instead of regional studies.
lithostratigraphy
Branch of stratigraphy dealing with the study of units of rock. Each unit is composed of a body of rock which is dominated by a certain lithology or similar color, mineralogic composition, and grain size.
geologic structure
General position of rocks in an area, and geometrical relationships among rocks.
foliation (geologic)
The property of rocks or glaciers splitting into thin layers or plates due to the orientation of crystals and dynamic movement.
lineation (geologic)
Linear topographic feature on the earth's surface or in rocks. (use for lineaments)
structure contours
Gridding and contouring lines drawn on geologic maps to depict boundaries of structural features. (use for depth-to maps, thickness maps)
gravitational field (earth)
Region or space around earth's mass which exerts a force that mutually attracts other masses in proportion to the product of the two masses and the distance between them. (use for gravity, gravity anomaly maps, gravity field)
isostatic anomaly
Gravity anomaly corrected for the effects of low-density rocks underlying mountains.
free-air anomaly
Gravity anomaly corrected for elevation of the location at which the measurements were made.
bouguer anomaly
Gravity anomaly corrected to remove the effects of topography using knowledge of the terrain in the area surrounding the measurement station.
land surface characteristics
Features and attributes of earth's land surface. (use for landscape, physiography)
karst
Landscape characterized by dissolution features in carbonate or evaporite terranes, often containing caves and sinkholes. (use for karst topography, karstic)
magnetic field (earth)
The magnetic region surrounding earth. It is generated by the dipolar characteristic of earth's core whereby earth itself acts as a great spherical magnet with poles near, but not exactly at, the North and South poles. (use for geomagnetic field, geomagnetics, geomagnetism, magnetic anomaly maps, magnetic field, magnetosphere)
ocean characteristics
The attributes and process of seas and oceans. (use for ocean monitoring, oceans)
ocean salinity
Measure of the percentage of dissolved salts in seawater.
ocean temperature
Distribution of heat in the oceans, including surface water, thermocline and mode waters, and deep waters. Includes discussion and measures of both in-situ and potential temperature. (use for temperature (ocean))
sea surface temperature
Observed temperature of surface ocean waters, typically encompassing the entire mixed layer. Some observational methods, however, may measure a much smaller depth range. Includes temperature data obtained in-situ or by remote sensing methods. (use for sea-surface temperature, sst, temperature (sea surface))
sea-floor characteristics
Geomorphic features and geographic, compositional, and textural variation in the materials composing the ocean floor. Includes both large-scale structures (such as seamounts and rises) and fine-scale variations in rocks and deposits on the sea floor. (use for ocean bottom characteristics, sea floor characteristics, seafloor characteristics)
sea-level change
Variation in the relative vertical position of land and ocean waters. Caused globally by changes in the distribution of ice masses and the shape of the oceans, and locally by the rate of uplift or subsidence of the land surface. Includes both global (eustatic) and local (relative) sea-level variations. (use for sea-level rise)
rocks and deposits
Solid masses that make up the earth's crust as well as accumulations of materials. Use for major rock types and unconsolidated deposits. For deposits of economic value, see related terms. (use for crystals, lithologic maps, lithology, rock composition)
fossils
Recognizable remains such as bones, shells, leaves, burrows, impressions, or tracks of past life on the earth. (use for index fossils, microfossils)
ichnofossils
Fossilized remains of the traces of animal activity from different geologic time periods including burrows, tracks, trails, borings, and other features found in sedimentary structures. (use for trace fossils)
igneous rocks
Rocks formed from melted rock that has cooled and solidified.
volcanic rocks
A generally finely crystalline or glassy igneous rock resulting from volcanic action at or near the earth's surface, either ejected explosively or extruded as lava. The term includes near-surface intrusions that form a part of the volcanic structure. (use for lava, pyroclastic, tuff, volcanic ash)
Plutonic rocks
Rocks formed at considerable depth by crystallization of magma and/or by chemical alteration. They are characteristically medium- to coarse-grained, of granitoid texture. (use for intrusive rocks, magma)
metamorphic rocks
Sedimentary or igneous rocks which have undergone such intense changes in temperature, pressure, structural stress, or chemical environment that they are transformed into denser rocks.
sedimentary rocks
Rocks formed by the consolidation of loose, uncemented pieces of sediments.
bedforms
Fluctuations from horizontal layers in sediments or sedimentary rocks made by flow on the beds of alluvial channels. (use for bed forms)
unconsolidated deposits
Loosely bound sediments such as sand, gravel, and silt which tend to accumulate in low areas or valleys. (use for alluvium, eolian sediments, loess, sediment geochemistry, sediments, surficial deposits)
clay deposits
Fine-grained sedimentary soil deposits, containing hydrated silicas of aluminum, that are plastic and sticky when wet and harden when heated.
gravel deposits
Alluvial accumulations of small unconsolidated rock fragments, such as pebbles and cobbles, used in construction as fill, ground cover, or aggregate for concrete.
sand deposits
Deposits of loose particles of rock or mineral (sediment) that range in size from 0.0625-2.0 millimeters in diameter.
mine waste
Earth materials removed during mining and concentrated in piles or beds, typically near the site of extraction. Tailings are mine waste that has been processed to remove valuable components; unprocessed mine waste includes overburden removed to reach commodity materials such as ore or coal. (use for mine spoil, mine tailings, tailing piles)
soil horizons
Layers in soil defined by physical, chemical, biological, or mineralogical properties which vary with depth. (use for A horizon, B horizon, C horizon)
permafrost
Rocks and deposits in which the interstitial waters remain perennially frozen.
petroleum
Naturally occurring hydrocarbons, typically fluid or gas, often of economic use. Includes oil, natural gas, and asphaltic compounds found in tar sands and oil shales. (use for oil spills)
mineral deposits
Deposits in which particular minerals are concentrated, typically noticed and studied if the minerals have economic value. (use for ore deposits)
snow and ice cover
Accumulation of snow or ice blanketing land surfaces. (use for cryosphere, glaciers, ice, ice core sampling, snowpack)
sea ice concentration
Proportion of ocean area in a given region that contains or is covered by floating ice. (use for sea ice cover, sea-ice concentration)
stratigraphic sections
Vertical arrangement in layers of rock units whose sequence is used to study the geological history of the strata. (use for geologic sections, geologic units, sections (geologic), sections (stratigraphic))
bedrock geologic units
Units of consolidated (solid) rock that underlie soils or other unconsolidated materials. (use for basement maps, geologic formations)
geologic contacts
Junctions of two different rock formations varying by type or age of rock, including faults, unconformities, and bedding planes. (use for contacts (geologic))
unconformities
The contact between older rocks and younger sedimentary rocks where erosion had removed some of the older rocks before the younger rocks were deposited.
surficial geologic units
Rock units on the earth's surface. (use for surficial geologic maps)
topography
The shape of the land surface. (use for elevation and relief)
bathymetry
The elevation of the earth's surface beneath a body of water, especially the ocean, typically determined by measurements of depth from the water surface. (use for bathymetry data, sea floor topography, underwater contours)
earth material properties
Physical characteristics of rocks and unconsolidated earth materials such as soils and sediments.
permeability
The ability of fluids to pass through an earth material, typically depending on the connectedness of pore space in the material. (use for soil permeability)
porosity
The proportion of open space in a rock or unconsolidated material. (use for interstices, soil porosity)
radioactivity
Release of subatomic particles from earth materials. Generally the energy of these particles is used to determine the chemical elements present. (use for gamma ray emission)
resistivity
Electrical resistance of materials, often measured in boreholes.
bulk density
Overall density of an unconsolidated earth material.
magnetism
Strength and orientation of the permanent magnetic field in a given sample of an earth material
remanent magnetism
Magnetic characteristic of rocks and deposits reflective of the earth's magnetic field at the time of the deposit's formation. (use for natural remanent magnetism)
magnetic susceptibility
Degree to which a rock type or other earth material can acquire and retain the orientation and intensity of an applied magnetic field.
soil moisture
Water content of soil and other near-surface unconsolidated earth material
soil temperature
Temperature and temperature gradients in soil and other near-surface unconsolidated earth materials
effects of climate change
Characteristics and behaviors of organisms and earth systems that are modified as a result of changes in global, regional, or local climate. (use for climate change effects, climate effects, global change)
hazards
Potential dangers from both natural processes (e.g., earthquakes, floods, and climate change) and human impacts on the environment. (use for catastrophes, disasters, earthquake hazards, emergency management resources, environmental hazards, geologic hazards, harmful algal blooms)
health and disease
Normal and abnormal conditions of plant and animal bodies. Covers both human and non-human health and disease topics. For human health and disease, use the narrower term 'environmental health (human)'. (use for disease, nutrition)
disease vectors
Organisms, such as insects, that transmit pathogens from one host to another.
environmental health (human)
Effects of the environment on human health. (use for disease (human), health (human), human disease, human health)
human environmental safety
Monitoring and managing potentially harmful factors in the environment for human safety. (use for safety issues (human))
zoonotic diseases
Diseases of animals that can be communicated to humans (use for zoonoses, zoonosis)
wildlife disease
Includes viral, bacterial, and fungal infections as well as exposure of organisms to dangerous chemicals or toxic substances.
avian influenza
A virulent disease of poultry and wild birds that has spread throughout a large geographic area in Asia and Eastern Europe since it was first documented in 1997 in Asia. (use for H5N1, HPAI, avian flu, bird flu)
chronic wasting disease
Transmissible neurological disease of deer and elk that produces small lesions in the brains of infected animals; may be transmitted to humans who consume the meat of infected animals. (use for CWD)
white-nose syndrome
Disease affecting hibernating bats caused by a white fungus infecting the skin of the muzzle, ears, and wings (use for WNS)
human impacts
The effects, intentional or unintentional, beneficial or harmful, direct or indirect, which human activities have upon the environment and living things.
land use change
Effect of changing land use patterns on ecological systems. (use for urbanization)
habitat fragmentation
Disruption of once-continuous natural habitats by human activities such as agriculture, urbanization, resource extraction, and the construction of roads, railways, fences, and pipelines.
mining hazards
Dangerous conditions which result from the extraction of naturally occurring mineral deposits. Includes tunnel collapses, fires, and explosions.
overfishing
Taking too many fish from an area beyond the capacity for the population to replenish its numbers. The balance of the ecosystem is upset, leading to long-term depletion of fish stock. (use for over-fishing)
overgrazing
The practice of allowing animals to eat vegetation, especially ground cover, beyond the capacity of the plant population to replenish itself. Leads to erosion and other harm to the ecosystem. (use for over-grazing)
waste treatment and disposal
The chemical and physical methods to recycle or dispose of materials which, without treatment, are deemed to have no further value or are too contaminated to be used. (use for nuclear waste repositories, radioactive waste repositories, sewage disposal, waste repositories, waste treatment, wastewater treatment)
deforestation
Reduction in the density of forest cover or tree canopy, typically by harvesting trees for human use or clearing land for other purposes such as agriculture.
dredging
Removal of sediments from water bodies to aid navigation or to transfer material to another location.
abandoned mines and quarries
Mines and quarries that have been abandoned and may expose harmful chemicals to the environment.
ecosystem services
Value of ecosystem functions in supporting, sustaining, or enriching human life.
information system design and development
Use for the design and development of information systems. Do not use for general cases in which information systems are part of the activity.
geographic information systems
Computer software that allows geospatially referenced data to be linked to geographic features. Use this term only for information that is about GIS and not for the use of GIS in applications and projects. (use for GIS, geographic information systems (GIS))
metadata development
Use for the development of metadata schemes and applications. Do not use for general cases where metadata are part of the activities.
instrument design and development
Includes the design and development of software for a particular instrument. (use for tool development)
land use and land cover
The vegetation, water, natural surface, and cultural features on the land surface.
map coordinate systems
Systems using sets of numbers combined with geometric nets or grids to specific positions on a map or globe. (use for coordinate systems, geographic coordinate systems, grid coordinate systems, horizontal datums, map projections, vertical datums)
contamination and pollution
Introduction of harmful substances into the environment by human action or natural processes. (use for air pollution, effluent, natural contaminants, outfall, pollution, soil pollution, water pollution)
pesticide and herbicide contamination
Pollution resulting from chemical agents applied to crops, rights of way, lawns, or residences to control weeds, insects, fungi, nematodes, rodents or other pests (pesticides) or kill undesirable plants (herbicides). (use for biocide contamination, degradation products (chemical), herbicide contamination, insecticide contamination)
toxic radionuclide contamination
Introduction into the environment of unstable isotopes of elements that undergo radioactive decay, emitting radiation that is harmful to organisms.
toxic trace element contamination
Introduction into the environment of elements (such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury) which have a deleterious effect on living organisms when found naturally in only minor amounts (concentrations less than 1.0 milligram per liter) in water or sediment.
mercury contamination
Biological disturbances caused by mercury compounds that have entered the environment.
nonpoint-source pollution
Contamination of the environment from sources spread widely across an area, not from a small number of identifiable locations.
pharmaceutical contamination
Unintentional release of pharmaceutical compounds into the environment; work focuses on the effects of these compounds on organisms and water resources.
industrial pollution
Introduction of harmful substances into the environment by manufacturing, power generation, mining, or material processing. (use for PCBs, oil spills, polychlorinated biphenyls)
mine drainage
Introduction of harmful substances into the environment from mines and tailings.
natural resource exploration
Techniques for locating deposits or stocks of useful minerals, water, and other resources using reconnaissance or instrumental methods. (use for dowsing, exploration, exploration seismology, prospecting, seismic exploration)
natural resource extraction
Removal of natural materials or properties (such as heat) for use. (use for resource extraction)
mining and quarrying
Extracting mineral deposits from a pit, tunnel, or excavation. (use for quarrying)
well drilling
The process of artificial excavation for the purpose of withdrawing water, oil, or gas from underground.
placer deposit mining
Extraction of minerals, typically metal ores, from unconsolidated surficial materials such as stream sediments.
enhanced oil recovery
Injection of steam, gas, or other chemical compounds into hydrocarbon reservoirs to stimulate the production of usable oil beyond what is possible through natural pressure, water injection, and pumping at the wellhead. (use for EOR, tertiary oil recovery)
hydraulic fracturing
Injection of water and other fluids through a well into geologic formations in order to increase the permeability of the rock units and thus permit natural gas or oil to be produced from them. (use for fracking, hydrofracking)
natural resources
Stocks of anything naturally occurring that have a beneficial use for man including economic, nutritional, recreational, aesthetic, and other benefits.
fishery resources
The stock of anadromous, marine, and freshwater fish in fishing areas of commercial, subsistence, and recreational value.
commercial fishery resources
Stocks of fish and other seafood used for marketing purposes.
inland fishery resources
Stocks of fish available to be taken in lakes, streams, ponds, rivers, and other inland bodies of water.
marine fishery resources
The stock of fisheries located in seas and oceans. (use for coastal fisheries, coastal fishing, deep sea fisheries, deep sea fishing, reef fisheries, reef fishing)
whaling
Taking whales from the ocean for marketing or subsistence purposes.
recreational fishery resources
The stock of fish and other seafood resources in areas used for recreational fishing. (use for recreational fishing, sport fishing)
subsistence fishery resources
The stock of fish taken and eaten by local populations rather than marketed.
forest resources
Trees and associated vegetation available for human use. Use for timber and other forest resources with economic value. (use for forestry)
mineral resources
Natural occurrences of useful inorganic elements or compounds.
metallic mineral resources
Resources from which ductile, malleable, opaque,and reflective metals that are also good heat and electricity conductors can be extracted. (use for metallic ores, ore deposits (metallic))
nonmetallic mineral resources
Useful mineral deposits that are not metals. Includes materials used for construction, decoration, fuel, and industrial purposes. (use for industrial mineral resources, industrial minerals)
building stone resources
Deposits of rocks used in construction, including crushed stone and dimension stone. Dimension stone includes limestone and granite, quarried in large blocks, and shaped in cubes, panels and other forms. (use for crushed stone, dimension stone)
gem resources
Deposits of rare minerals prized for their color, durability, sparkle, and clarity when cut and polished and used as ornaments or jewelry.
energy resources
Natural resources that are used for heat and power generation, including oil, natural gas, coal, and geothermal energy. (use for energy sources, fossil fuels)
coal resources
Fuel resources such as anthracite, lignite, bituminous coal, or coke, consisting largely of carbonaceous material and formed from fossilized plants. (use for anthracite resources, bituminous coal resources, lignite resources, subbituminous coal resources)
geothermal resources
Energy resources related to the earth's internal heat, commonly applied to springs or vents discharging hot water or steam.
natural gas resources
Stocks of naturally formed hydrocarbon gases which are usually associated with petroleum fields. Useful for heating, they are principally methane, but can be ethane, butane, or propane. (use for petroleum resources (gas))
coalbed methane resources
Resources of methane-rich gas generated and stored in coalbeds. (use for coal bed methane resources, methane resources (coalbed))
gas hydrate resources
Deposits of a crystalline solid in which water molecules trap gas molecules, usually methane, in a cagelike structure known as a clathrate occurring in sediments overlain by cold deep water. (use for methane hydrate resources)
oil resources
Deposits (pools) of highly valuable liquid hydrocarbons or fossil fuels. (use for petroleum resources (oil))
oil sand resources
Deposits of sandstone or unconsolidated sand containing bitumen that can be extracted as an oil resource. (use for tar sand resources)
oil shale resources
Deposits of finely grained sedimentary rock containing kerogen that can be distilled to produce liquid or gaseous hydrocarbons.
wind energy
Use of prevailing wind as a source of energy to drive turbines or other machinery.
soil resources
Natural resources of unconsolidated fragmented rock, humus, and mineral matter that cover the surface of the earth. (use for soil pollution)
water resources
Stocks of water, the liquid derived from precipitation. A constituent of living matter and necessity for all life, it covers a large proportion of the earth's surface. (use for hydrosphere, water pollution)
groundwater
All water that exists beneath the land surface, but more commonly applied to water in fully saturated soils and geologic formations. (use for freshwater (ground), ground water, ground-water, water subsurface)
groundwater level
Depth in a well or aquifer at which groundwater occurs. (use for aquifer level, ground-water level, potentiometric surface, water table)
unsaturated zone
The portion of the subsurface above the ground water table. (use for vadose zone)
surface water (non-marine)
Open bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, or streams. All non-marine waters on the surface of the earth, including fresh, brackish, and salt water. (use for freshwater (surface))
river systems
Long water courses including main streams and tributaries. (use for river ecosystems)
river reaches
Continuous parts of streams between two specified points. (use for reaches (hydraulic), reaches (streams))
surface-water level
Height of the water surface in a lake or reservoir. For water levels in flowing streams, refer to streamflow.
organism groupings (non-taxonomic)
Used for categories of living organisms that are not taxonomic and that include species from more than one taxonomic group.
biota
All living organisms in an area.
consumers (organisms)
Organisms unable to produce food from nonliving matter and dependent on ingesting other animals, plants, or particulate organic matter.
carnivores
Flesh-eating animals. (use for predators)
herbivores
Animals that eat chiefly plants or their products, such as seeds, nectar, and fruit.
omnivores
Animals that eat both plant and animal materials.
decomposers
Organisms, chiefly microorganisms and invertebrates, that feed on dead plant or animal matter breaking it down and recycling the resulting elements and compounds in the environment.
endangered species
Plant or animal species reduced to such low numbers of individuals that they are at risk of becoming extinct.
game species
Species of wild animals that are hunted for food or sport.
keystone species
Species whose abundance and ecological role has a dramatic effect on the other species in an ecosystem.
macroinvertebrates
Invertebrate animals large enough to be studied without a microscope.
migratory species
Species that have a pattern of moving from one geographical area to another, primarily according to the seasons, and usually traveling long distances along established routes. (use for anadromous fish, diadromous fish)
native species
Organisms originating in the area where they live. (use for indigenous species)
endemic species
Plant and animals species native to and confined to specific geographic areas.
nekton
Free-swimming aquatic organisms able to move without depending on waves, currents, and tides.
nonindigenous species
Organisms accidentally or intentionally introduced into areas where they did not previously originate or live. (use for alien species, exotic species, foreign species, introduced species, non-indigenous species, non-native species)
invasive species
Plant, animal, or microbe species that is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. (use for biological invasions, invader species)
plankton
Floating aquatic plants (phytoplankton) and animals (zooplankton) which are often microscopic and drift with the current in lakes, rivers, and oceans. (use for planktonic ecosystems, zooplankton)
phytoplankton
Small, mostly microscopic aquatic plants such as algae and bacteria suspended in water.
pollinators
Organisms that aid in the growth and distribution of plants by transferring pollen as a byproduct of their feeding activities.
producers (organisms)
Organisms, chiefly green plants, which use inorganic elements, compounds, and light to produce their food (photosynthesis). They are a source of food for animals.
shellfish
Aquatic invertebrates with shells, usually mollusks and crustaceans. Includes clams, lobsters, and oysters.
vegetation
Plant life or general plant cover in an area. (use for dendroecology, grasses, trees)
periphyton
A plant assemblage including microbial communities of algae and cyanobacteria living attached to submerged aquatic vegetation.
weeds
Plants whose presence in an area is undesirable.
aquatic vegetation
Plants living primarily in or under water. (use for hydrophytes, mangroves, seagrass, seaweeds)
wildlife
Undomesticated organisms living in natural settings without dependence on man.
benthos
Animals that live on the bottom of water bodies.
microbes
Microscopic, typically one-celled organisms. (use for microorganisms)
parasites
Symbiotic organisms that are detrimental to the host.
nuisance species
Organisms whose presence or behavior has undesirable effects on human activities.
genetically engineered organisms
Organisms whose DNA has been modified through the insertion or deletion of DNA fragments from the same or another species, in order to produce or enhance desirable traits such as increased yield, resistance to pests, adaptation to drastically changed environments, or formation of entirely new compounds. (use for genetically modified organisms)
organisms
Living individuals that grow, reproduce, and die. (use for biological organisms)
algae
Chlorophyll-bearing primarily aquatic nonvascular species that have no true roots, stems, or leaves; most algae are microscopic, but some species can be as large as vascular plants.
calcareous nannoplankton
Organisms of the kingdom Protista that normally produce coccoliths, microscopic structures of calcite (calcium carbonate), during some phase of their life cycle. (use for coccoliths)
diatoms
Microscopic, single-celled plants of the class Bacillariophyceae that have siliceous shells called frustules, and which grow in both marine and fresh water.
dinoflagellates
Single-celled planktonic organisms, chiefly marine, characterized by twirling motion and whip-like flagella with affinities to both plants and animals.
animals
Multi-celled organisms of the kingdom Animalia with eukaryotic cells (cells with distinct nuclei containing genetic material and bounded by thin membranes) that are heterotrophic (obtaining energy from organic substances produced by other organisms). (use for fauna)
invertebrates
Animals having no backbone or spinal column, such as insects, mollusks, crustaceans, worms, and similar organisms.
arthropods
Invertebrates belonging to the largest phylum of animals, Arthropoda, with an exoskeleton, segmented bodies, and jointed appendages, including many subphyla and classes, such as insects, crustaceans, horseshoe crabs, sea spiders, centipedes, millipedes, and the extinct trilobites.
arachnids
Carnivorous arthropods, chiefly terrestrial, of the class Arachnida including spiders, scorpions, mites, ticks, false scorpions, palpigrades, solifugids, and harvestmen. (use for false scorpions, mites, spiders, ticks)
crustaceans
Arthropods of class Crustacea, such as crabs, lobsters, shrimp, prawns, or barnacles, with hard shells (exoskeleton) and segmented bodies with pairs of jointed appendages.
ostracodes
Small aquatic crustaceans belonging to the subclass Ostracoda, characterized by a bivalve shell. (use for Ostracoda, ostracods)
horseshoe crabs
Marine arthropods, usually classed as Merostomata, which have a broad crescent (horseshoe-shaped) cephalothorax.
insects
Small arthropod animals of the class Insecta with bodies in 3 segments (head, thorax, and abdomen). They have 3 pairs of legs, 2 antennae, and usually one or two pairs of wings. Includes flies, mosquitoes, beetles, butterflies, bees, crickets, and dragonflies. (use for bugs)
butterflies and moths
Insects of the order Lepidoptera that have four wings with overlapping, often highly colored scales. They undergo four life cycle stages: eggs, caterpillar larvae, pupae, and the winged adults. (use for lepidoptera, moths)
bees and wasps
(use for bees, wasps)
trilobites
Extinct marine arthropods of the class Trilobita with segmented bodies and jointed appendages found as Paleozoic fossils in many parts of the world.
bryozoans and brachiopods
Aquatic invertebrates, usually marine, belonging to the phyla Bryozoa and Brachiopoda. Brachiopods, or clam shells, are solitary living invertebrates characterized by two shells and a lophophore, which is a complex food gathering organ. Bryozoans are colonial and include moss coral and moss polyps. (use for brachiopods, ectoprocta)
coelenterates
Freshwater and marine invertebrates, such as corals, jellyfish, and sea anemones, belonging to the phylum Coelenterata and living as sedentary polyps or free swimming medusae. (use for corals, jellyfish, sea anemones)
conodonts
Microscopic teeth of primitive, boneless, eel-like animals, similar to modern hagfish, that lived in many of the world's oceans from the Cambrian through Triassic Periods of geologic time (550 to 210 million years ago).
echinoderms
Marine invertebrates of the phylum Echinodermata with a radial body and a calcareous exoskeleton. Includes starfishes, brittle stars, sea lilies, sea urchins, and sea cucumbers.
mollusks
Invertebrates belonging to the phylum Mollusca with soft, nonsegmented bodies, often covered by a hard shell. Includes snails, clams, oysters, whelks, mussels, slugs, octopuses, and squids. (use for molluscs)
sponges
Aquatic invertebrates belonging to the phylum Porifera having internal skeletons of silica or collagen, porous body around a cavity or cavities, and usually living in stationary communities.
worms
Invertebrate animals of the phyla Annelida, Nematoda, Memertea, or Plathyhelminthes, that have long thin rounded or flat bodies without obvious appendages.
flatworms
Soft flat worms of the phylum Platyhelminthes, which are often parasitic. Includes tapeworms and flukes.
roundworms
Worms of the phylum Nematoda, often parasitic, such as hookworms and pinworms, having soft cylindrical bodies without segments. (use for nematodes)
segmented worms
Worms belonging to the phylum Annelida, with soft bodies divided into segments and distinct heads. Includes leeches, earthworms, and marine worms. (use for annelids)
tunicates
Marine organisms of the subphylum tunicata of the phylum chordata. (use for sea squirts, urochordates)
vertebrates
Animals possessing a vertebral column or backbone including birds, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals.
amphibians
Vertebrates of the class Amphibia including frogs and toads (Anura), salamanders (Urodela), caecilians (Apoda) and extinct forms which are cold-blooded and have life stages in water as eggs and larval forms (tadpoles)until they metamorphose as adults.
birds
Land vertebrates belonging to the class Aves with warm blood, feathers, wings, and reproduction characterized by egg laying. (use for shorebirds, water birds, waterfowl)
fish
Cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates with fins for swimming, gills for breathing, and usually scales. (use for anadromous fish, diadromous fish, fish inventories, fishes)
mammals
Vertebrate animals, generally large, with skin covered by hair and large brain cavities. Females have mammary glands for feeding the young, who are usually born quite mature.
bears
Large wild mammals of the family Ursidae. Includes black and brown (grizzly) bears and polar bears. (use for black bears, grizzly bears, polar bears)
bats
Small flying mammals of the order Chiroptera.
walruses
(use for walrus)
reptiles
Cold-blooded vertebrates of the class Reptilia. Characterized by skin covered with scales or horny plates and reproduced by eggs. Includes snakes, lizards, crocodiles, alligators, turtles, and extinct species such as dinosaurs.
dinosaurs
Extinct reptiles, often gigantic, chiefly terrestrial, carnivorous or herbivorous, that lived during the Mesozoic era.
archaea
Microscopic organisms of the domain Archaea living on a diet of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, once thought to be bacteria, and often inhabiting extreme environments, such as thermal vents and hot springs, extremely alkaline and acidic waters, hypersaline water, and anoxic habitats. (use for archaebacteria)
bacteria
Single celled microorganisms, beneficial or pathogenic, without a nuclear membrane.
fungi
Immobile organisms of the kingdom Fungi that lack chlorophyll and that obtain nutrients from other dead or living organisms. Fungi reproduce by spores and include yeasts, molds, smuts, and mushrooms.
lichens
Plants that are composed of a fungus and an alga growing together symbiotically and often found growing on rocks or tree trunks.
plants (organisms)
Organisms which belong to the plant kingdom. Commonly multicellular, they produce food through photosynthesis. (use for flora)
nonvascular plants
Simple plants which lack conducting tissues known as vascular bundles, a group of specialized cells made up of xylem and phloem. (use for non-vascular plants)
liverworts and hornworts
Simple green land plants of the phyla Bryophyta with leaves and a stem and always without roots.
mosses
Simple green land plants, member of the phyla Bryophyta, along with liverworts and hornworts. They have leaves and a stem, but always lack roots.
vascular plants
Plants which have a specialized conductive system. Includes xylem and phloem: club mosses, ferns, cycads, gymnosperms, and angiosperms.
ferns and fern allies
Spore-bearing, vascular plants having leaves known as fronds.
flowering plants
Plants known as angiosperms which periodically produce flowers which have various parts including sepals, petals, stamens, and carpels.
gymnosperms
Seed-bearing woody vascular plants, such as the conifers (pine, spruce, fir, etc.), whose seeds are not enclosed in an ovary or fruit, but are exposed.
protists
Unicellular eukaryotes (organisms possessing nucleated cells) with affinities to both plants and animals. Classed in the Protista or Potoctista kingdom, they include protozoans, foraminifera, radiolarians, fungi and some algae. (use for foraminifera, protozoans, radiolaria)
viruses
Very small particles visible only with an electronic microscope. Considered to be complex molecules and not living organisms, these are often causes of disease in plants, animals, and bacteria.
planetary bodies
Large celestial masses of rock, metal, or gas orbiting around a star. Use for extraterrestrial bodies.
meteorites
Masses of rock or metal from space that reach the earth's surface without burning up. Use for 'meteors' or 'meteoroids' as well as 'meteorites'. USGS is more likely to have information about 'meteorites' since these are objects found on the earth. (use for bolides, chondrites, meteors)
population and community ecology
Interactions of a single species (population) or an association of different species (community) occupying a particular region, including their biotic and abiotic environments. (use for life history, population energetics, radar ecology)
animal behavior
The way animals act or react to conditions in the environment and to other organisms, including life patterns such as migration, hibernation, and nocturnal living.
biodiversity
The variety in form, genetics, and ecological roles of organisms within a specific geographic area. (use for biological diversity, diversity (biological))
ecosystem diversity
Measure of the variety of biological communities and habitats important for ecological stability.
genetic diversity
Measure of the variety of genes within a population pool in a given area. (use for conservation genetics)
genotype
Genetic characteristics of an individual organism.
species diversity
An ecological concept incorporating both the number of species in a particular sampling area and the evenness with which individuals are distributed among the various species.
biogeography
The study of the geographic distributions of plants and animals. (use for animal distribution, distribution of animals, distribution of plants, distribution of species, flyways, plant distribution, species distribution, species distribution maps, species geographic range)
community ecology
Study of the relationships of species that interact in a common area.
ecosystems
The interacting populations of plants, animals, and microorganisms occupying a certain area, and their relationship to the environment. (use for biosphere, clines, ecoclines, ecotones)
aquatic ecosystems
Communities of interdependent organisms living primarily in or on water. (use for planktonic ecosystems)
benthic ecosystems
Biologic communities and habitats at the bottom of lakes, streams, or oceans.
estuarine ecosystems
Biological communities and habitats within sea inlets or the zones where rivers meet the seas which are subject to tidal effects and the mixture of fresh and saltwater. (use for estuarine ecosystem functions)
freshwater ecosystems
Biological communities and habitats that exist in lakes, rivers, ponds, and other bodies of water that are not salty. (use for lake ecosystems, pond ecosystems, river ecosystems, spring ecosystems, stream ecosystems)
marine ecosystems
Biological communities composed of plants and animals living primarily in or on seawater.
reef ecosystems
Biological communities formed by the skeletons of calcareous seawater organisms, usually corals. (use for coral reef ecosystems)
terrestrial ecosystems
Communities of living organisms in a specific geographical location which exist primarily on land and not in water. (use for rangeland ecosystems)
coastal ecosystems
Biological communities and habitats within the narrow zones of land between the margin of oceans or seas and large landmasses. (use for littoral ecosystems)
desert ecosystems
Biological communities and habitats in arid areas with little precipitation, sparse, highly adapted vegetation, and extreme temperatures.
forest ecosystems
Biological communities and habitats in geographic areas with dense growths of trees and associated vegetation. (use for arboreal ecosystems, coniferous forests ecosystems, deciduous forest ecosystems, mixed forest ecosystems, taiga ecosystems)
grassland ecosystems
Biological communities and habitats with ground cover of grasses and other herbaceous plants, but few trees. Examples include prairies, meadows, and savannas. (use for mixed grass ecosystems, plains ecosystems, prairie ecosystems, short grass ecosystems, tall grass ecosystems)
shrubland ecosystems
Biological land communities and habitats with sparse, low-growing vegetation. (use for scrubland ecosystems)
tundra ecosystems
Biological communities and habitats located in the treeless plains of Arctic regions where the subsoil is permanently frozen.
island ecosystems
Communities of living organisms on islands. (use for insular ecology)
wetland ecosystems
Ecosystems whose soil is saturated for long periods seasonally or continuously, including marshes, swamps, and ephemeral ponds. More detailed terms for wetlands can be selected from the FGDC Wetland Classification <http://fgdc.gov/standards/status/sub3_4.html>. (use for marsh ecosystems, marshland ecosystems, riparian ecosystems)
habitats
Parts of the physical environment where plants and animals live. Use in combination with terms from organisms and organism groupings (non-taxonomic) to indicate the topic of a species or group of species habitat.
population dynamics
Changes in the size, composition, or structure of aggregates of single or multiple species in a specific area over time.
symbiosis
An intimate, prolonged association between two or more organisms of different species that may or may not benefit each member. (use for commensalism, mutualism, parasitism)
phenology
Study of the response of organisms to seasonal or interannual changes in the environment.
scientific careers
Professions in which people carry out or support scientific research or monitoring. (use for careers in science, scientists-at-work photographs)
water properties
Measurable physical and chemical characteristics of water from different sources.
nutrient content (water)
Contaminants in water that nourish organisms, especially plants. Includes nitrogen and phosphorus, either of which can lead to the harmful growth of algae and other plants when present to excess in a body of water. (use for nitrogen content, phosphorus content)
oxygen content (water)
Measurement of the concentration of oxygen dissolved in water, which is an important indicator of the condition of a water body. (use for anoxia, dissolved oxygen, hypoxia)
salinity
Measure of the concentration of salts dissolved in a solution. (use for chloride concentration)
suspended material (water)
Sediment or particles of rock, sand, soil, and organic detritus carried in suspension in the water column, in contrast to sediment that moves on or near the streambed.
water hardness
Indicator of the concentration of alkaline salts in water, mainly calcium and magnesium, as a measure of water quality. (use for hardness (water))
water pH
The negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion concentration or activity of a water solution. Used for expressing both acidity (pH less than 7) and alkalinity (pH greater than 7), with 7 considered neutral. (use for pH (water))
water temperature
The degrees of heat of water from a given source at a specific time. (use for temperature (water))
dissolved gases
Gases such as ammonia, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide in solution measured in a water sample.
dissolved metals
Metal elements in solution, of concern in studies of hazards such as mine drainage and of water resource usability.
dissolved organic compounds
Organic compounds present in water, typically as anthropogenic contaminants including pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and herbicides.
water quality
The chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose. (use for dissolved constituents, dissolved contaminants, water-quality, water-quality data)
groundwater quality
Fitness of subsurface water for use based on its composition and properties. (use for ground-water quality)
marine water quality
Observed intrinsic characteristics of marine waters affecting their ability to support life or facilitate biological processes such as waste decomposition. (use for ocean water quality)
surface water quality
Chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water in lakes, rivers, or streams related to its fitness for use.
water supply and demand
The quantities of water resources in an area that are easily available and the amount of water that is needed for all uses. (use for water demand)
wastewater discharge
Water that is returned or reused after release from a wastewater treatment plant. (use for gray water, grey water, treated sewage, treated wastewater, wastewater)
water budget
An accounting of the inflow, outflow, and storage changes of water in a hydrologic unit. (use for water balance)
water use
Water withdrawal for a specific purpose, such as domestic use, irrigation, or industrial processing. (use for consumptive use (water), drawdown, water utilities)
domestic well water use
Use of self-supplied water for household purposes, such as drinking, food preparation, bathing, washing clothes and dishes, flushing toilets, and watering lawns and gardens. (use for residential well water use, self-supplied water use)
drinking water use
(use for drinking water, potable water)
industrial water use
Use of water for industrial purposes such as fabrication, processing, washing, and cooling, and including such industries as steel, chemical and allied products, paper and allied products, mining, and petroleum refining.
irrigation
Artificial application of water on lands to assist in the growing of crops and pastures or to maintain vegetative growth in recreational lands such as parks and golf courses. (use for flood irrigation, microirrigation, spray irrigation)
mining water use
Water use for the extraction of naturally occurring mineral deposits by mining or quarrying.
power generation water use
Use of water in the process of producing electric energy by transforming other forms of energy. (use for hydroelectric power generation water use, thermoelectric power generation water use)
public supply water use
Provision of water by local governments or private companies for residential, commercial, and light industrial use.
aquaculture water use
Use of water to raise aquatic organisms, typically for food, restoration, conservation, or sport. (use for fish farming)
recreation
Pursuit of leisure-time activities, typically out of doors. (use for biking, bird watching, boating, camping, canoeing, caving, climbing, fishing (recreational), hiking, hunting, kayaking)
field monitoring stations
Locations where USGS scientists or their collaborators make measurements of natural phenomena. (use for benchmarks, field stations, seismic monitoring stations, stream gaging stations)
survey ship tracklines
Navigational data indicating the path of a ship while surveying, including time as well as horizontal coordinates. (use for survey navigation data)
elements
Chemical elements and element groups
chemical element groups
Groups shown at <http://periodic.lanl.gov/>
actinide series elements
alkali metal elements
alkaline earth elements
halogen elements
lanthanide series elements
metal elements
noble gas elements
(use for inert gases)
nonmetal elements
rare earth elements
chemical elements
Chemical substances distinguished by atomic number. http://periodic.lanl.gov/
actinium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Ac and atomic number 89 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/89.shtml> (use for Ac)
aluminum
Metalloid element with symbol Al and atomic number 13 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/13.shtml> (use for Al)
americium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Am and atomic number 95 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/95.shtml> (use for Am)
antimony
Metalloid element with symbol Sb and atomic number 51 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/51.shtml> (use for Sb)
argon
Noble gas element with symbol Ar and atomic number 18 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/18.shtml> (use for Ar)
arsenic
Nonmetal element with symbol As and atomic number 33 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/33.shtml> (use for As)
astatine
Halogen element with symbol At and atomic number 85 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/85.shtml> (use for At)
barium
Alkaline earth element with symbol Ba and atomic number 56 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/56.shtml> (use for Ba)
berkelium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Bk and atomic number 97 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/97.shtml> (use for Bk)
beryllium
Alkaline earth element with symbol Be and atomic number 4 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/4.shtml> (use for Be)
bismuth
Metalloid element with symbol Bi and atomic number 83 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/83.shtml> (use for Bi)
bohrium
Metal element with symbol Bh and atomic number 107 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/107.shtml> (use for Bh)
boron
Nonmetal element with symbol B and atomic number 5 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/5.shtml> (use for B)
bromine
Halogen element with symbol Br and atomic number 35 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/35.shtml> (use for Br)
cadmium
Metal element with symbol Cd and atomic number 48 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/48.shtml> (use for Cd)
calcium
Alkaline earth element with symbol Ca and atomic number 20 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/20.shtml> (use for Ca)
californium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Cf and atomic number 98 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/98.shtml> (use for Cf)
carbon
Nonmetal element with symbol C and atomic number 6 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/6.shtml> (use for C)
cerium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Ce and atomic number 58 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/58.shtml> (use for Ce)
cesium
Alkali metal element with symbol Cs and atomic number 55 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/55.shtml> (use for Cs)
chlorine
Halogen element with symbol Cl and atomic number 17 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/17.shtml> (use for Cl)
chromium
Metal element with symbol Cr and atomic number 24 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/24.shtml> (use for Cr)
cobalt
Metal element with symbol Co and atomic number 27 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/27.shtml> (use for Co)
copper
Metal element with symbol Cu and atomic number 29 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/29.shtml> (use for Cu)
curium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Cm and atomic number 96 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/96.shtml> (use for Cm)
darmstadtium
Metal element with symbol Ds and atomic number 110 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/110.shtml> (use for Ds)
dubnium
Metal element with symbol Db and atomic number 105 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/105.shtml> (use for Db)
dysprosium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Dy and atomic number 66 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/66.shtml> (use for Dy)
einsteinium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Es and atomic number 99 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/99.shtml> (use for Es)
erbium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Er and atomic number 68 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/68.shtml> (use for Er)
europium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Eu and atomic number 63 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/63.shtml> (use for Eu)
fermium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Fm and atomic number 100 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/100.shtml> (use for Fm)
fluorine
Halogen element with symbol F and atomic number 9 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/9.shtml> (use for F)
francium
Alkali metal element with symbol Fr and atomic number 87 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/87.shtml> (use for Fr)
gadolinium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Gd and atomic number 64 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/64.shtml> (use for Gd)
gallium
Metalloid element with symbol Ga and atomic number 31 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/31.shtml> (use for Ga)
germanium
Metalloid element with symbol Ge and atomic number 32 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/32.shtml> (use for Ge)
gold
Metal element with symbol Au and atomic number 79 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/79.shtml> (use for Au)
hafnium
Metal element with symbol Hf and atomic number 72 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/72.shtml> (use for Hf)
hassium
Metal element with symbol Hs and atomic number 108 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/108.shtml> (use for Hs)
helium
Noble gas element with symbol He and atomic number 2 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/2.shtml> (use for He)
holmium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Ho and atomic number 67 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/67.shtml> (use for Ho)
hydrogen
Alkali metal element with symbol H and atomic number 1 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/1.shtml> (use for H)
indium
Metalloid element with symbol In and atomic number 49 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/49.shtml> (use for In)
iodine
Halogen element with symbol I and atomic number 53 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/53.shtml> (use for I)
iron
Metal element with symbol Fe and atomic number 26 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/26.shtml> (use for Fe)
irridium
Metal element with symbol Ir and atomic number 77 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/77.shtml> (use for Ir)
krypton
Noble gas element with symbol Kr and atomic number 36 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/36.shtml> (use for Kr)
lanthanum
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol La and atomic number 57 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/57.shtml> (use for La)
lawrencium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Lr and atomic number 103 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/103.shtml> (use for Lr)
lead
Metalloid element with symbol Pb and atomic number 82 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/82.shtml> (use for Pb)
lithium
Alkali metal element with symbol Li and atomic number 3 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/3.shtml> (use for Li)
lutetium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Lu and atomic number 71 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/71.shtml> (use for Lu)
magnesium
Alkaline earth element with symbol Mg and atomic number 12 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/12.shtml> (use for Mg)
manganese
Metal element with symbol Mn and atomic number 25 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/25.shtml> (use for Mn)
meitnerium
Metal element with symbol Mt and atomic number 109 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/109.shtml> (use for Mt)
mendelevium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Md and atomic number 101 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/101.shtml> (use for Md)
mercury
Metal element with symbol Hg and atomic number 80 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/80.shtml> (use for Hg)
molybdenum
Metal element with symbol Mo and atomic number 42 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/42.shtml> (use for Mo)
neodymium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Nd and atomic number 60 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/60.shtml> (use for Nd)
neon
Noble gas element with symbol Ne and atomic number 10 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/10.shtml> (use for Ne)
neptunium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Np and atomic number 93 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/93.shtml> (use for Np)
nickel
Metal element with symbol Ni and atomic number 28 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/28.shtml> (use for Ni)
niobium
Metal element with symbol Nb and atomic number 41 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/41.shtml> (use for Nb, columbium)
nitrogen
Nonmetal element with symbol N and atomic number 7 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/7.shtml> (use for N)
nobelium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol No and atomic number 102 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/102.shtml> (use for No)
osmium
Metal element with symbol Os and atomic number 76 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/76.shtml> (use for Os)
oxygen
Nonmetal element with symbol O and atomic number 8 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/8.shtml> (use for O)
palladium
Metal element with symbol Pd and atomic number 46 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/46.shtml> (use for Pd)
phosphorus
Nonmetal element with symbol P and atomic number 15 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/15.shtml> (use for P)
platinum
Metal element with symbol Pt and atomic number 78 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/78.shtml> (use for Pt)
plutonium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Pu and atomic number 94 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/94.shtml> (use for Pu)
polonium
Metalloid element with symbol Po and atomic number 84 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/84.shtml> (use for Po)
potassium
Alkali metal element with symbol K and atomic number 19 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/19.shtml> (use for K)
praseodymium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Pr and atomic number 59 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/59.shtml> (use for Pr)
prometium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Pm and atomic number 61 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/61.shtml> (use for Pm)
protactinium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Pa and atomic number 91 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/91.shtml> (use for Pa)
radium
Alkaline earth element with symbol Ra and atomic number 88 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/88.shtml> (use for Ra)
radon
Noble gas element with symbol Rn and atomic number 86 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/86.shtml> (use for Rn)
rhenium
Metal element with symbol Re and atomic number 75 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/75.shtml> (use for Re)
rhodium
Metal element with symbol Rh and atomic number 45 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/45.shtml> (use for Rh)
rubidium
Alkali metal element with symbol Rb and atomic number 37 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/37.shtml> (use for Rb)
ruthenium
Metal element with symbol Ru and atomic number 44 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/44.shtml> (use for Ru)
rutherfordium
Metal element with symbol Rf and atomic number 104 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/104.shtml> (use for Rf)
samarium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Sm and atomic number 62 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/62.shtml> (use for Sm)
scandium
Metal element with symbol Sc and atomic number 21 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/21.shtml> (use for Sc)
seaborgium
Metal element with symbol Sg and atomic number 106 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/106.shtml> (use for Sg)
selenium
Nonmetal element with symbol Se and atomic number 34 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/34.shtml> (use for Se)
silicon
Nonmetal element with symbol si and atomic number 14 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/14.shtml>
silver
Metal element with symbol Ag and atomic number 47 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/47.shtml> (use for Ag)
sodium
Alkali metal element with symbol Na and atomic number 11 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/11.shtml> (use for Na)
strontium
Alkaline earth element with symbol Sr and atomic number 38 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/38.shtml> (use for Sr)
sulfur
Nonmetal element with symbol S and atomic number 16 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/16.shtml> (use for S)
tantalum
Metal element with symbol Ta and atomic number 73 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/73.shtml> (use for Ta)
technetium
Metal element with symbol Tc and atomic number 43 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/43.shtml> (use for Tc)
tellurium
Nonmetal element with symbol Te and atomic number 52 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/52.shtml> (use for Te)
terbium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Tb and atomic number 65 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/65.shtml> (use for Tb)
thallium
Metalloid element with symbol Tl and atomic number 81 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/81.shtml> (use for Tl)
thorium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol Th and atomic number 90 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/90.shtml> (use for Th)
thulium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Tm and atomic number 69 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/69.shtml> (use for Tm)
tin
Metalloid element with symbol Sn and atomic number 50 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/50.shtml> (use for Sn)
titanium
Metal element with symbol Ti and atomic number 22 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/22.shtml> (use for Ti)
tungsten
Metal element with symbol W and atomic number 74 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/74.shtml> (use for W)
ununnilium
Metal element with symbol Uuu and atomic number 111 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/111.shtml> (use for Uuu)
ununnubium
Metal element with symbol Uub and atomic number 113 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/113.shtml> (use for Uub)
ununnunium
Metal element with symbol Uun and atomic number 112 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/112.shtml> (use for Uun)
uranium
Rare earth (actinide series) element with symbol U and atomic number 92 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/92.shtml> (use for U)
vanadium
Metal element with symbol V and atomic number 23 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/23.shtml> (use for V)
xenon
Noble gas element with symbol Xe and atomic number 54 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/54.shtml> (use for Xe)
ytterbium
Rare earth (lanthanide series) element with symbol Yb and atomic number 70 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/70.shtml> (use for Yb)
yttrium
Metal element with symbol Y and atomic number 39 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/39.shtml> (use for Y)
zinc
Metal element with symbol Zn and atomic number 30 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/30.shtml> (use for Zn)
zirconium
Metal element with symbol Zr and atomic number 40 <http://periodic.lanl.gov/40.shtml> (use for Zr)
time periods
Geologic time periods and seasons of the year
geologic time periods
(use for geologic age, geologic time)
Phanerozoic
Cenozoic
Quaternary
Holocene
Pleistocene
(use for ice age)
Tertiary
Neogene
Miocene
Pliocene
Paleogene
Eocene
Oligocene
Paleocene
Mesozoic
Cretaceous
Jurassic
Triassic
Paleozoic
Cambrian
Devonian
Mississippian
(use for lower carboniferous)
Ordovician
Pennsylvanian
(use for upper carboniferous)
Permian
Silurian
Precambrian
(use for cryptozoic)
Archaean
Hadean
Proterozoic
Neoproterozoic
The latest geologic era of the Proterozoic Eon.
Ediacaran
The last geological period of the Neoproterozoic Era, just before the Cambrian Period of the Paleozoic Era. (use for Vendian)
seasons
autumn
(use for fall (season))
spring (season)
summer
winter
institutional structures and activities
Organizational characteristics, services, activities and physical infrastructure, primarily focused on those of the USGS
facilities
Location, character, and general use of the physical offices used to carry out research, monitoring, and administration
field offices
Small branch of a science center not located at the headquarters of the science center (use for field stations)
laboratories
(use for nuclear reactors)
libraries and archives
sample repositories
Organized and curated collections of physical materials such as drill cores, rock samples, thin sections, and biological samples. (use for core repositories, sample collections)
national centers
Research and monitoring office with a mission of nationwide scope
organizational structure
science centers
Organizational units that carry out research or monitoring (use for geophysical observatories, volcano observatories)
science discipline offices
Offices coordinating activities focused on traditional academic categories (use for divisions)
regional offices
Multidisciplinary management offices overseeing specified geographic area
support offices
Organizational units that carry out administrative functions rather than research or monitoring
mission directorates
Offices charged with coordinating a variety of scientific activities focused on strategic objectives that may cross traditional scientific discipline boundaries. (use for interdisciplinary directorates, multidisciplinary directorates)
employment and volunteer opportunities
science programs
Broadly organized scientific research and monitoring activities
partnerships
Formal collaborative relationships between USGS and other organizations (use for cooperative agreements)
interagency programs
Ongoing organizational activities in which USGS works directly with other government agencies
interdisciplinary programs
Major research and monitoring activities focused on topics that cross or integrate multiple traditional academic categories
international programs
Organizational activities that USGS undertakes with cooperation and support of foreign governments or multinational organizations
external research support
Research carried out by external organizations or individuals through contracts or grants (use for contract research programs, research grants)
citizen science programs
Observation or monitoring activities that include contributions from amateur or non-professional scientists or other citizen volunteers. (use for crowd sourcing (science), public participation in scientific research)
user services
standards development
Creation and maintenance of formal specifications by which research and monitoring are carried out
customer support and user feedback
Web sites focusing on assistance to users of USGS information products (use for product support, technical support)
educational services
college resources
internship programs
lifelong learning resources
K-12 resources
information services
(use for clearinghouses)
data services
(use for data downloading)
application programming interfaces
Internet services providing subsets of data in response to specific web requests. For APIs that are not accessible through the internet, use scientific software. (use for APIs)
reference services
(use for Earth Science Information Centers (ESICs))
map interfaces
Online interfaces showing interactive maps and geospatial information (use for map servers)
web map services
Internet services providing geospatial information that conform to formally defined specifications, for use in GIS and mapping software. (use for GIS services, OGC WCS, OGC WFS, OGC WMS)
sales and distribution services
Online services by which products may be purchased (use for maps on demand)
search services
Automated information search systems (use for search engines)
news services
Summaries of time-sensitive information of interest to the public, may include short audio or video presentations, may provide subscription services
publishing
Policies and procedures by which information is reviewed, approved, formatted for public distribution.
media relations
community relations

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Page Last modified: 18:21 on 22-Aug-2014