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The term subaerial (literally "under the air") is mainly used in geology to describe events or features that are formed, located or taking place on the Earth's land surface and exposed to Earth's atmosphere. This may be contrasted with subaqueous,[1] events or features — located below a water surface, submarine events or features — located below a sea surface, or subglacial ones — located below glacial ice, such as ice sheets.

For example, a subaerial eruption of a volcano is one that ejects material into the air. Subaerial weathering is weathering by rain, frost, rivers etc.

The term "subaerial" may exclude the processes occurring in caves.[citation needed]

The term is often used in sedimentology.


  1. ^ Robert L. Bates, Julia A. Jackson, Dictionary of Geological Terms AGI (1984)