LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

anastomosing adj.
Interlacing or running together, for example, like the veins on a leaf.
antecedent adj.
Preceding or existing before someone or something else.
back-beach n.
The section of beach extending landward from the high water mark to the point where there is an abrupt change in slope or material; also referred to as the backshore.
barrier island n.
A long, relatively narrow island running parallel to the mainland, built up by the action of waves and currents and serving to protect the coast from erosion by surf and tidal surges.
beach replenishment n.
The addition of new material (sand, sediment, etc) to a beach naturally, or through the action of longshore drift, or artificially through the dumping of large amounts of material.
delta n.
An area formed from the deposition of sediments at the mouth of a river that is usually triangular or fan-shaped in appearance.
dune n.
A hill or ridge of wind-blown sand.
ebb and flow n.
The receding (ebb) and shoreward movement (flow) of the tide.
ecosystem n.
A community of organisms, interacting with each other, plus the environment in which they live and react. [more]
excavation n.
A site that has been dug, exposed, or uncovered by digging; the act of digging.
exemplify v.
To clarify by giving an example of.
hill and dale n.
A landscape or topography that is characterized by high (hills) and low (valley or dale) areas.
inlet n.
A recess, such as a bay or cove, along a coast; a stream or bay leading inland, as from the ocean; an estuary; a narrow passage of water, as between two islands; a drainage passage.
irreparable adj.
Impossible to repair.
jetty n.
A protective structure of stone or concrete that extends from the shoreline into the water to prevent a beach from washing away.
lobate adj.
Having or resembling a lobe or lobes (a rounded projection that is part of a larger structure).
longshore current n.
The current located in the surf zone and running parallel to the shore as a result of waves breaking at an angle to the shore.
longshore transport n.
The process by which sediments move along a beach shore by the action of winds and waves hitting the shoreline at an angle; also called shore drift or littoral drift.
maritime forest n.
A forested community affected by salt spray, usually located on the mainland side of a barrier beach or island. [more]
nonnative adj.
Pertaining to a species of plant or animal that did not originate in or come from its present location.
overwash n.
The transport of sediment landward of the active beach by coastal flooding during a tsunami, hurricane, or other event with extreme waves.
overwash fan n.
A break in a continuous dune line or line of vegetation where storm tides carried sand from oceanside, to estuaries, great ponds, and bayside; often clears a vegetation-free path from ocean to inner water body.
overwash-dominated backdune n.
An area immediately behind the front of a dune that is dominated by overwash sediment that was pushed over or through the dune by storms, strong waves, or hurricanes.
palisade dune n.
A dune that is natural or man-made that helps protect the shoreline from erosion, or helps prevent overwash.
prevailing winds n.
Winds that blow consistently from one direction.
relict n.
A geological feature that is a remnant of a pre-existing formation after other parts have disappeared.
rhizome n.
A horizontal, usually underground stem that often sends out roots and shoots from its nodes (a knot or bulge on the plant root or shoot). Buds that form at the joints produce new shoots and can become new plants; also called rootstalk or rootstock.
salt spray n.
Moisture-laden wind that contains salt crystals; a salty moisture that is carried by the wind.
snow fencing n.
A temporary fencing composed of thin upright slats wired together, used to prevent sand from drifting onto walks or roads.
storm surge n.
Water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around a storm. [more]
swale n.
A linear hollow or depression found between dunes or beach ridges, and is generally marshy or swampy and heavily vegetated.
tidal delta n.
A fan-shaped deposit of sand or sediment formed on the landward side of a tidal inlet (an opening through which ocean waters enter and leave an enclosed body of water, such as a sound, bay, or marsh).
topography n.
The surface features of a place or region; the character, natural features, and configuration of land; terrain.