Earth & Space Science Roots
Table 1.13 Roots, prefixes and suffixes in earth and space science - From the Sourcebook for Teaching Science
-al relating to - geological, alluvial, astronomical, terrestrial, altitudinal
The U.S. Geological Survey examines issues related to the topography and resources of the Earth.
alt high - altocumulus, altitude, altimeter, altiplano, altostratus
Altocumulus are high cumulus cloud formations.
anti against, opposite - anticline, anticyclone, antilogarithm, antitrades
An anticline is characterized by slopes angled opposite directions down from the crest.
aqu water - aquifer, aqueous, aquarium, aquatic, aqueduct, aquaculture
An aquifer is a body of permeable rock that contains water.
baro pressure - barometer, bar, barometry, barometric pressure, hyperbaric chamber
Barometers are used to measure air pressure.
bi two - binary star, bimetallic, bifurcate, bimetallic, bicarbonate
Binary stars occur in twos.
benth bottom of sea - benthos, benthic, zoobenthos
The benthos refers to the environment or the flora and fauna on the bottom of the sea.
calci lime - calcium oxide, calcified, calcium, calcite, decalcified, calcium carbonate
Lime is composed of calcium oxide, obtained by heating limestone.
calor heat - calorimeter, calorie, caloric, kilocalorie, calorimetry
Calorimeters are used to measure the heat energy in oil-bearing rocks.
carb coal, carbon - carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, bicarbonate, carboniferous, calcium carbonate
Carbon dioxide and carbonic acid are carbon-based chemicals.
cent hundred, hundredth - centigrade, centimeter, centigram, percent
There are one hundred degrees between freezing and boiling on the centigrade scale.
chrom color - chromium, chromosphere, chromatography, monochrome, dicrhomate
Chromium compounds are very colorful.
chron time - geochronologist, geochronology, chronology, chronic, chronicle, chronometer, synchronize
Geochronologists try to determine the time rocks were formed.
circ ring, around - circumference, circumlunar, circulate, circumpolar, circumsolar
The equatorial circumference of the Earth is the distance around the earth at the Equator.
clin slope – clinometer, incline, decline, halocline, anticline, syncline, thermocline
A clinometer measures the slope.
clud, clus to close - occluded front, exclude, exclusive, conclude, cluster, star cluster
An occluded front occurs when a cold front closes in on a warm front.
co, com with, together - cogeneration, conglomerate, condense, compress, confluence
Cogeneration plants produce electricity and heat together.
cosm universe, world - cosmic dust, cosmos, cosmology, cosmonaut, cosmic rays, cosmography
Cosmic dust is composed of small particles distributed throughout the universe.
crust shell - crust, encrusted, crustose, crustal
The Earth's crust is the hard rocky shell above the mantle.
cycl circle, cycle - cyclone, cyclical, cycle, rock cycle, anticyclone, cyclotron, nitrogen cycle
Cyclones are strong wind systems flowing in circles around low pressure zones.
de down, without, from - declination, decomposition, deduce, deform, degenerate, deoxygenate
Declination is measured in degrees from the celestial equator.
deci tenth - decibel, decimeter, decimal, deciliter
A decibel has one tenth the sound intensity of a bel.
dia through, across - diameter, diagonal, diaphragm, diagram
Diameter is the measure across a circle or other shape.
e, ec, ex out, without, from - eclipse, eccentric, ecliptic, elongation, exothermic, effluent
The earth is without direct light from the Sun during total solar eclipses.
epi upon, above - epicenter, epibenthos, epilimnion, epicycle
The epicenter is directly above the focus of an earthquake.
equi equal - equinox, equidistant, equilateral, equilibrium, equation, equator
The length of day and night are equal at the equinoxes.
flu, fluc flowing - confluence, fluid, flue, fluctuate, effluvium, magnetic flux
The confluence of two rivers is the point where they flow together as one.
geo earth - geothermal, geology, geode. geocentric, geomorphology, geography, geotropism
Geothermal energy comes from the Earth.
glaci ice - glacier, glaciation, glacial, glaciology, glacial polish, glaze
Glaciers are large slowly moving rivers of ice.
grad step, go - retrograde, prograde, grade, gradual, graduate, graduated, gradient
Planets periodically exhibit retrograde motion and appear to go backwards.
graph writing, drawing - geography, graphite, oceanography, photography, cartography, topography
Geographers represent landforms using maps and other drawings.
halo salt - halite, halogens, halocline, halophyte
Halite is rock salt.
helio sun - aphelion, perihelion, heliograph, heliocentric, heliostat, heliosphere, heliopause
The aphelion is the point in orbit when a planet or comet is farthest from the Sun.
hydr, hygr water - hydroelectric, hydraulics, hydrate, hydrology, hydrothermal, hydropower, hygrometer
Hydroelectric power plants produce electricity from the energy in falling water.
-ic relating to - benthic, pelagic, atmospheric, acidic, basic
The term "pelagic" relates to the open sea.
ign fire - ignite, igneous, ignition, igneous fusion, metaigneous
Igneous rocks are "born of fire" in volcanoes or the depth of the Earth.
im, in not - independent variable, inversion, immobile, immiscible, inversion layer
Independent variables do not depend upon dependent variables.
-ion process - erosion, conservation, pollution, decomposition, evolution, liquefaction
Erosion is a process in which soil and rock are worn away.
iso equal - isobar, isotherm, isocline, isostasy, isotope
Isobars are lines on meteorological maps that connect points of equal pressure.
-ist one who studies - meteorologist, geologist, geophysicist, environmentalist, conservationist
Meteorologists study the atmosphere and weather.
-ite ore, rock, crystal - bauxite, bentonite, chalcopyrite, dolomite, granite, rhyolite, graphite
Bauxite is an aluminum ore.
kilo thousand - kilopascal, kilogram, kilometer, kilovolt, kiloton, kilowatt, kilowatt-hour
A kilopascal is one thousand pascals of pressure.
liqu fluid, liquid - liquefaction, liquefy, liquid, liquid crystal
During earthquakes, some soils undergo liquefaction and are more fluid than normal.
lith rock - lithosphere, batholith, neolithic, Paleolithic, lithify
The lithosphere is the rocky crust and outer portion of the mantle.
lu, lum light - luminous, translucent, luster, luminescence, luminosity
Stars are luminous, producing light during nuclear reactions.
magn great - order of magnitude, magnify, magnitude, magnification
Each order of magnitude is ten times greater than the previous one.
mar sea - Mare Tranquilis, marine, mariner, marsh, maritime, mare
Mare Tranquilis, the "Sea of Tranquility" is a large, dark, basalt plain on the Moon.
medi half, middle - medial moraine, Mediterranean, medium, median
Medial moraines form in the middle between two adjacent glaciers.
meso middle, between - mesosphere, mesocyclone, meson, Mesozoic, Mesoamerica
The mesosphere is between the stratosphere and thermosphere.
meta between, change - metamorphic, metastable, metamorphism, metathesis
Metamorphic rock has undergone change as a result of heat, pressure and time.
meter measure - anemometer, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, diameter, hygrometer
Anemometers are used to measure wind speed.
nimb rain - nimbus, cumulonimbus, nimbostratus
Nimbus clouds usually produce rain.
nov new - nova, supernova, innovation, novice, Nova Scotia, novel, novice
Novas are stars that display a new, rapid increase in brilliance.
nox, noc night - nocturnal, vernal equinox, autumnal equinox, noctilucent clouds
At the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, day and night are of equal length.
-oid like, form - metalloid, colloid, asteroid, meteoroid, crystalloid
Metalloids are like metals in many ways.
-ology study of - seismology, meteorology, petrology, climatology, mineralogy, geology, meteorology
Seismology is the study of earthquakes and related phenomenon.
orb circle - orbital velocity, orbit, orbiter, orb
Satellites must travel at orbital velocity to continue circling the Earth.
ortho straight, correct - orthoclase, orthogonal, orthoquartzite, orthoslice
Orthoclase crystals are common in granite and exhibit straight planes of cleavage.
-ous, -us characterized by - aqueous, nebulous, igneous, carboniferous, nimbus, cumulus
Aqueous solutions are characterized by water, the "universal solvent".
paleo ancient - paleontology, Paleozoic, paleobotany, paleomagnetism
Paleobotany is the study of ancient, fossilized plants.
pel, puls push, pulse - pulsar, pulsate, impulse, propel, repel
Pulsars are thought to be rapidly rotating neutron stars that emit pulses of radio waves.
pelag the sea - pelagic, bathypelagic, abbysalpelagic
Fish living in the open sea are known as pelagic fish.
peri around - perimeter, periscope, perigee, perihelion
The perimeter of an island is the length around its shores.
petr rock - petrified, petrification, petrology, petrochemical, petrography, petroleum
Petrified wood was once organic, but now is rock.
phys nature - physicist, physics, physiography, physical geography, physical science, geophysics
Physicists study the nature of energy and matter.
plan flat - Altiplano, planar, plains, floodplain, coplanar
The high, flat, tableland of South America is known as the Altiplano.
pole, polar end of axis - Polaris, circumpolar, North & South Poles, polar cap, polar projection, aurora Polaris
Polaris, the pole star, is in line with the Earth's axis.
pos put, laid - deposit, expose, position, composite, opposite
Alluvial deposits have been laid down over time.
quad four - quadrat, quadrangle, quadrilateral, quadrillion, quadruple
A quadrat is a four-sided parcel of land used in field studies.
re back, again - nonrenewable, renewable, report, retain, research, reaction
Once depleted, nonrenewable resources can not be tapped again.
retro back, again - retrograde, retrorocket, retrofit, retrogression
During retrograde, planets appear to move backward.
rupt break - eruption, erupt, rupture, interrupt, abrupt, disrupt
During eruptions, magma breaks through the Earth's crust.
sal salt - desalination, salinity, saline, salt, salinization
Desalination removes salt from water.
sed, sid sit, settle - sediment, subside, residue, sedimentary, residual
Sediments form when particulates settle out of a mixture.
solar sun - solar wind, solar cell, solar flare, Solar System, solarize
Solar wind is a flow of charged particles from the Sun.
sphere ball, sphere - lithosphere, stratosphere, exosphere, asthenosphere, thermosphere, atmosphere
The lithosphere is the outermost spherical layer of the Earth.
struct build - infrastructure, structure, construct, instruct, obstruct, destruction
Infrastructure must be built before superstructures are erected.
sub under, below - subsoil, subduct, submerge, subduction zone, subscript, subarctic, substrata, substrate
Subsoil lies immediately below surface soil.
super above, over - superstratum, supernova, superheat, supercool, supersaturate, superscript
The superstratum lies above other layers.
syn together, with - syncline, geosynchronous, synthesis, geosyncline
Water flowing down the opposite slopes of a syncline will come together.
terr earth - subterranean, terrain, territory, terrestrial, extraterrestrial, terrace, terrarium
Subterranean structures are located below the surface of the Earth.
therm heat - thermal, thermometer, geothermal, isotherm, thermocline
Thermals are upward currents of heated air.
trans across, through - translucent, transoceanic, transit, transmit, transect, transparent
Light goes through translucent objects.
trib give - tributary, contribute, attribute, distribute
Tributaries give their water to other rivers.
typ type - prototype, type, typical, typology, typify
Prototypes are the first of their type.
ultra beyond - ultraviolet, ultrasound, ultrahigh frequency (UHF), ultramafic
Ultraviolet radiation has a frequency beyond that of violet radiation.
umb shadow - umbra, penumbra, umbrella
The umbra is the darkest shadow in an eclipse.
vert, vers turn - diversion dam, divert, invert, reverse, convert
Diversion dams turn the course of rivers or streams.
volcan fire, volcano - volcanologist, volcano, vulcanize, volcanology, volcanism
Volcanologists study volcanoes.