caecilian— An order of limbless, burrowing amphibians occurring in the New and Old World tropics.
calcareous— Refers to limestone or soil impregnated with calcium.
calcic— Said of minerals and igneous rocks containing a high proportion of calcium.
caldera— A large, basin-shaped depression at the site of a volcano (e.g., Crater Lake, Oregon).
callosity, callosites— A hardened thickening.
calyx— The external, usually green, whorl of a flower, contrasted with the inner, showy corolla.
canescent— Covered with grayish-white or hoary fine hairs.
cap cloud— An apparently stationary cloud enveloping a peak or mountain range. It is formed by the cooling and condensation of humid air forced up the windward side of the mountain.
Carbon-14,14C— A heavy radioactive isotope of carbon produced in nature by the reaction of atmospheric nitrogen with cosmic rays. Incorporated into green plants with photosynthesis as C14 O2 , it decays at an approximately known rate, known as its half-life (which is 5,568 years) when the system is closed (i.e., the plant dies), allowing organic material to be dated.
carbonate— A mineral rich in CO3 -2 or sediment formed by the organic or inorganic precipitation of carbonate-rich compounds (e.g., limestone, dolomite).
carpel— One of the foliar units of a compound pistil or ovary; a simple pistil has one carpel. A foliar, usually ovule-bearing unit of a simple ovary.
carpellate— Pertaining to a flower with one or more carpels but no functional stamens; possessing or composed of carpels.
catkins— Hanging clusters of tiny flowers or bracts of willows, alders, and other plants.
centipede— Member of the Class Chilopoda. Centipedes usually have one pair of legs on each body segment.
cephalothorax— The part of the arachnid body that includes the head and the legs.
cereus(pl. cerci)— Appendage located on the anal segment ("tail") of cockroaches and other insects.
Cheatgrass— Annual grass of the Genus Bromus .
chlorite— A layer-structure silicate mineral consisting of essential amounts of alumina, magnesia, iron, and H2 O, in addition to silica; its formula is approximately (MgFe+2 )5 Al2 Si3 O10 (OH)8 .
cinder cone— A conical hill formed by the accumulation of volcanic cinders.
cirque— A deep, steep-walled recess or hollow, horseshoe-shaped or semicircular in plan view, situated high on the sides of a mountain and produced by the erosive activity of a mountain glacier.
citrus— A principal type of cloud composed of ice crystals; usually the highest form of cloud observed.
clones— A population of cells or individuals derived by asexual division from a single cell or individual. (See also vegetative reproduction .)
cloud fall— The extension of the cap cloud down the leeward slope of a mountain range to the level where warming of the air causes the cloud particles to evaporate.
coalesced family groups— Several joined families.
col— A high, sharp-edged pass or saddle-like depression in a mountain range, especially one formed by the headward erosion of two cirque glaciers.
coleopteran— A member of the Order Coleoptera, beetles.
colluvial— Pertaining to loose and incoherent deposits, usually at the foot of a slope or cliff, brought there chiefly by gravity; clasts commonly angular in shape, with deposit poorly sorted.
compound eye— An eye composed of hundreds to thousands of tiny individual "eyes," occurring on insects and some other arthropods.
compound-fletched arrow— An arrow consisting of multiple, fitted segments to which feather vanes are affixed to promote stability in flight.
cone— The dry, compound fruit of pine, spruce, and other trees, consisting of overlapping scales (same as strobilus).
congener— A species in the same genus; closely related species.
conglomerate— A coarse-grained sedimentary rock composed of rounded to subangular fragments or rounded clasts.
conifer— A cone-bearing tree.
cordate— Of a conventional heart shape, the point apical.
cordierite— A blue orthorhombic (see andalusite ) mineral, (Mg1 = e+2 )2 Al4 Si5 , commonly a low-pressure metamorphic mineral.
corm— A short, solid, bulblike underground stem, such as the "bulb" of Gladiolus.
cornice— An overhanging mass of snow above a steep leeward mountain slope.
corolla— The inner whorl of a flower, composed of colored petals that may be almost wholly united.
corymbose— Descriptive of a flat-topped flower cluster (corymb).
cotyledon— The primary leaf or leaves of a plant embryo.
covey— A flock or group, as applied to quail.
coxa— The leg segment closest to the body (See Fig. 7.3).
crenate— Toothed, with teeth rounded at apex.
Creosote Bush Scrub— Low-elevation Mojave Desert vegetation type, with Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata ) as the dominant species.
crustacean— A member of the Class Crustacea; any arthropod belonging to the Superclass Crustacea, characterized by the presence of two pairs of antennae on the head.
crustal compression/extension— Outermost layer or shell of the earth undergoing compression or extension.
cryoplanation surface— A relatively flat surface reduced by processes associated with intensive frost action supplemented by the actions of running water, moving ice, and other agents.
culm— The specialized stem of grasses, sedges, and rushes.
cumuliform— Like cumulus clouds, that is, dome- or tower-shaped as opposed to horizontal (stratiform).
cumulonimbus— Cumulus cloud commonly spread out in the shape of an anvil.
cuneate— Wedge-shaped; rather narrowly triangular, the acute angle downward.
cyclone— A large-scale atmospheric circulation in which the airflow is counterclockwise as viewed from above.
cyme— A flat-topped or convex paniculate flower cluster with central flowers opening first.