Eustasy

Eustasy

ˈyo͞ostəsē

Noun

  • A change of sea level throughout the world, caused typically by movements of parts of the Earth’s crust or melting of glaciers.

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Example Sentences

“As the climate continues to change, scientists have observed ongoing eustasy.”

“Some oceanographers make eustasy the primary field of research in their careers.”

“The geologist and marine biologist stayed after the seminar to debate over the causes of eustasy.”

Word Origin

Greek, 1940s

Why this word?

“Eustasy” is a relatively recent term, coming to English from German as a back-formation of “eustatic,” which means “relating to or denoting changes in sea level throughout the world.” Although “eustasy” is the standard spelling in scientific circles (and in the Oxford dictionary), “eustacy” is the only spelling of this word in other dictionaries. The “-cy” suffix evolved from the Latin “-atia” suffix. Since the early 1990s, eustasy has been measured using satellite altimeters. These use the return speed and intensity of a radar pulse directed at the ocean to determine the height of the sea surface. Before satellites, tide gauge stations measured the daily low and high tides using mechanical floats and recorders. These stations still exist, although today they use more advanced acoustics and electronics.

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ˈdoudē