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Glossary of Terms

Avian
of or relating to birds.
Back-arc
Also known as back-arc basins, these are submarine features found along the edges of continental plates where the collapse of the sea floor creates a depression.
Backwash
On a beach, the waves going back out to sea.
Badlands
An area of highly eroded land with little vegetation.
Baja California
A peninsula in northwestern Mexico. It separates the Gulf of California from the Pacific Ocean.
Bar
A sandy bank or shoal that forms at the mouth of a river, harbor, bay or estuary.
Bar-Built
Bar-built estuaries are formed when sandbars or barrier islands build up along the coastline by ocean currents and waves. These sandbars or barrier islands partially cut off the waters behind them from the sea, creating a protected area (in the form of a shallow lagoon or bay) fed by small streams or rivers. This type of estuary is usually shallow, with limited tidal interaction, so wind is often responsible for mixing the fresh and salt water.
Basalt
A dark, fine-grained volcanic rock.
Baseline
Measurements used as a basis for future comparisons.
Bathymetry
The measurement of depth of water in oceans, seas, or lakes.

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