Appendix:Dictionary of Mining, Mineral, and Related Terms/W/1

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W.8 methanometer

A dual-scale, direct-reading instrument for measuring the combustible gases percentage in mine air. It gives combustible gases readings over the range from 0.2% to 5% and is graduated 0.1% per division on the scale.


Banded cream to black and gray to purple chocolate-colored slate from Massachusetts.


a. A dirty sandstone that consists of a mixed variety of angular and unsorted or poorly sorted mineral and rock fragments, and of an abundant matrix of clay and fine silt; specif. an impure sandstone containing more than 10% argillaceous matrix. The term is used for a major category of sandstone, as distinguished from arenite.

b. A clastic sedimentary rock in which the grains are almost evenly distributed among the several size grades; e.g., a sandstone consisting of sediment poured in to a basin of deposition at a comparatively rapid rate without appreciable selection or reworking by currents after deposition, or a mixed sediment of sand, silt, and clay in which no component forms more than 50% of the whole aggregate. c. A term commonly used as a shortened form of graywacke. This usage is not recommended. d. Originally, a term applied to a soft earthy variety of basalt, or to the grayish-green to brownish-black claylike residue resulting from the partial chemical decomposition of basalts, basaltic tuffs, and related igneous rocks. Syn: vake.---Etymol: German Wacke, an old provincial mining term signifying a large stone or stoniness in general.


Rocklike clay, formed by the decomposition of basalts in situ. CF: graywacke.


a. An earthy, dark brown to black mineral material consisting chiefly of an impure mixture of manganese oxides and oxyhydroxides with variable amounts of copper, cobalt, and iron oxides and oxyhydroxides and silica plus 10% to 20% adsorbed water. It is commonly soft (soiling hands), but may be hard and compact, and has a low density. Wad results from the decomposition of other manganese minerals and accumulates in marshy areas or other zones of ground-water emission where it is an ore of manganese. See also: asbolan. CF: psilomelane. Syn: bog manganese; black ocher; earthy manganese; manganese hydrate.

b. A general term for massive, fine-grained manganese oxides and oxyhydroxides of low density, but not further identified. c. In drilling, a term applied to rock cuttings that tend to ball and adhere to drill-string equipment and borehole walls in lumps.

wad coil

Eng. A tool for extracting a pebble or broken tool from the bottom of a borehole. It consists of two spiral steel blades arranged something like a corkscrew. See also: spiral worm. Also called wad hook.


Paper or cloth placed over explosives in a hole.

Waddle fan

An earlier type of centrifugal fan. It had no external casing, but delivered directly to the atmosphere all around its periphery. The veins were curved backwards in the direction of rotation and the air was led into the fan by a curved inlet passage or throat. It was usually driven by steam at about 70 rpm; efficiency about 40%; external diameter of about 30 ft (9.1 m). See also: Sirocco fan.


A hexagonal mineral, K (sub 2) CaZ.(SiO (sub 3) ) (sub 4) ; forms hexagonal plates; in Western Australia.

wad hook

See: wad coil; spiral worm.


a. A term used in the desert regions of Southwestern Asia and Northern Africa for a stream bed or channel, or a steep-sided and bouldery ravine, gully, or valley, or a dry wash, that is usually dry except during the rainy season, and that often forms an oasis.

b. The intermittent and torrential stream that flows through a wadi and ends in a closed basin. c. A shallow, usually sharply defined, closed basin in which a wadi terminates.---Etymol: Arabic. Variant plurals: wadis; wadies; wadian; widan. See also: arroyo; nullah. Also spelled: wady; waddy. Syn: oued; widiyan.

Waelz process

A process by which low-grade ores, slags, or residues from retorts may be treated either for the recovery of zinc alone or for the recovery of zinc, lead, and tin. It employs a rotary kiln, and the zinc-bearing material mixed with fine coal is fed into the kiln and heated, so that the zinc is vaporized and converted to oxide fume.


a. A name given to the rough slice obtained by sawing directly from a mother crystal or section. The process of manufacturing wafers is variously known as wafering, wafering from the crystal or slab, wafering from the mother crystal, and baloney slicing.

b. Small sheet of electroceramic material 0.001 to 0.01 in (0.025 to 0.25 mm) thick for use in electronic equipment, particularly in miniature capacitors, transistors, resistors, and other circuit components.


See: wagon.


A monoclinic mineral, (Mg,Fe) (sub 2) (PO (sub 4) )F ; magnesium is replaced by ferrous iron or calcium; imperfect cleavage.


a. An underground coal car.

b. A mine car. c. Any vehicle for carrying coal or debris. d. A trailer with a dump body.

wagon arrester

An appliance that can bring a wagon completely to rest and is usually used near the departure end of mine sidings. It can be rendered inoperative by remote control if required.

wagon booster-retarder

An appliance that reduces the speed of wagons traveling above the design value, but for wagons traveling at speeds less than this, it releases energy by thrusting against the wheel flanges, therefore speeding up the vehicle. See also: wagon retarder.

wagon breast

a. Rooms or wide coal roadways into which mine cars or wagons are taken.

b. A pillar method of working a relatively thick, flattish coal seam.

wagon drill

A drilling machine mounted on a light, wheeled carriage.

wagon pinch bar

A device for moving railway wagons and locomotives short distances by hand. It consists of a cast-steel wedge-shaped tip with a wood handle. The tip is placed over the rail and under the wagon wheel and the up-and-down movement of the handle exerts sufficient pressure on the wheel to move the wagon.

wagon rerailer

A device for bringing a derailed wagon back onto the track. It usually consists of ramp elements, which can be fixed at intervals along the track or temporarily fitted to the track just beyond the end of the wagon. The wagon is then pulled to cause the wheels to ride up the ramp and back on to the rails.

wagon retarder

An appliance that reduces the speed of a wagon traveling in excess of a designed value (e.g., 3-1/2 mph), while having no effect on wagons moving at speeds less than this figure. The appliance is a self-contained hydraulic unit.

wagon rooms

Rooms driven in inclined seams in such a way that an adequate gradient is secured for cars, which are often hauled to the heads of the rooms.

wagon spotter

A wagon spotting appliance. It may be a "bogey" that is hauled backwards and forwards on a separate track installed between the main track rails by a winch. A forward pull on the bogey raises a pair of arms to engage in the wagon axle, and a reverse pull lowers the arms to enable the bogey to be drawn back under the next wagon ready for the next pull.

wagon tippler

A power-operated structure for discharging coal or other material from a railway wagon.


A monoclinic mineral, CaAl (sub 2) Si (sub 4) O (sub 12) .2H (sub 2) O ; zeolite group; pseudocubic; colorless to white; in tuffaceous rocks in geothermal areas.


An isometric mineral, CoFe ; forms minute grains with awaruite in the Red Hills serpentines; at Wairau, South Island, New Zealand.


Involves the notion of an intention entertained by the holder of some right, to abandon or relinquish instead of insisting on the right. It is a question of fact. Proof of waiver must include proof of knowledge of the facts upon which the waiver is based.

Wakefield sheet pile

Consists of three boards bolted or spiked together with the center board offset. This arrangement produces a tongue and groove that makes Wakefield sheet piling fairly watertight if the piles are properly driven and tightly fitted together.


A variant spelling of valaite.


A honey-yellow variety of retinite containing little nitrogen, occurs in brown coal at Walchow, Moravia, Czech Republic.


Eng. Cleaning coals by picking out refuse.


To deviate from the intended course, such as a borehole that is following a course deviating from its intended direction. Also called deviating; war; wandering. Syn: walking. CF: deviate; drift; wander.

Walker balance

A type of counterpoised beam balance. CF: Westphal balance.

walker's earth

See: fuller's earth. Etymol: German Walkererde.


a. The movement forward or backward of a dredge by first winding up on one side and then the other, swinging the boat from side to side and thereby advancing with a slight offsetting to the side.

b. See: walk.

walking bar

A trunnion or walking beam.

walking beam

a. The beam used to impart a reciprocating movement to the drilling column in percussive drilling. Syn: oscillating beam; rocking beam.

b. On cable tool and churn drill rigs, the beam that carries the string of drilling tools at one end and is connected to a cranked drive wheel at the other. The rotation of the wheel causes the tool string to lift and drop; thus the hole is drilled by concussion.

walking crane

A light crane traveling on an overhead channel iron and a single rail vertically beneath this in the floor.

walking dragline

a. A dragline that is equipped with apparatus that permits it to "walk" by the alternate power movement of vertical booms fastened to large outrigger platforms so arranged as to push the equipment forward as work progresses.

b. An excavator of very large capacity, equipped with walking beams operated by eccentrics in place of crawler tracks. Such machines can excavate 1,650 st/h (1,500 t/h) of overburden to a depth of 100 ft (30 m).

walking miner

See: joy walking miner.

walking props

See: self-advancing supports.

walking support

See: self-advancing supports.


Act of walking out or leaving; specif., a labor strike.


a. The side of a level or drift.

b. The country rock bounding a vein laterally. The side of a lode; the overhanging side is known as the hanging wall and the lower lying side as the footwall. See also: hanging wall; footwall. Syn: walls of a vein. c. The face of a longwall working or stall, commonly called a coal wall. d. A rib of solid coal between two rooms; also, the sides of an entry.

wall accretions

Material adhering to the inner walls of a blast furnace between the water jackets and the feed door.

Wallace agitator

Mixing device, driven by an impeller, used in pulp mixing and aeration in cyanidation where strong agitation is needed.

wall boss

a. A person who supervises a crew of workers operating a face conveyor.

b. See: room boss.

wall cake

See: cake.

wall cavitation

The development of enlarged sections in a borehole as the result of caving, erosive action of the circulated liquid, or erosion caused by drill rods rubbing against the borehole walls.

wall clearance

The distance between the wall of the borehole and the outside of a piece of drill-string equipment when the string is centered in the borehole.

wall closure

See: closure.

wall-controlled shoots

Ore shoots that occur adjacent to certain favorable wall rocks that presumably influenced deposition from the mineralizing fluids.

wall drag

The amount of friction resulting from the drill rods rubbing against the walls of a borehole or the inside surface of the casing lining a borehole.


Laborer who builds walls to support backfilling. See: pack builder.

wall face

Scot. The face of the coal wall; the working face.

wall friction

a. The drag created in the flow of a liquid or gas because of contact with the wall surfaces of its conductor, such as the inside surfaces of a pipe or drill rod or the annular space between a drill string and the walls of a borehole.

b. The drag resulting from compaction of loose materials around the outside surfaces of drive pipe, casing, etc. Also called skin friction.


a. The brick or stone lining of shafts.

b. Derb. Stacking or setting up ironstone, etc., in heaps, preparatory to being measured or weighed.

walling curb

See: curb; foundation curb; water ring.

walling scaffold

See: bricking scaffold.

walling stage

A movable wooden scaffold suspended from a crab on the surface, upon which the workers stand when walling or lining a shaft.

walling up

The building up of a layer of mud cake or compacted cuttings on the borehole sidewalls; the filling of cracks or caved portions of the borehole walls with cement.

wall off

To seal cracks, crevices, etc., in the wall of a borehole with cement, mud cake, compacted cuttings, or casing.

wall packing

The compaction of sticky cuttings that collect and adhere to the walls of a borehole.


a. A horizontal timber supported by posts resting on sills and extending lengthwise on each side of a tunnel. Roof supports rest on wallplates. Syn: pad.

b. A horizontal member, usually of wood, bolted to a masonry wall to which the frame construction is attached. Also called headplate.

wallplate anchor

A machine-bolt anchor with a head at one end and threaded at the other, and fitted with a plate or punched washer so that when embedded in the masonry it will be securely anchored and will hold a wallplate in place.

wall rock

a. See: country rock.

b. The rock forming the walls of a borehole. c. The rock adjacent to, enclosing, or including a vein, layer, or dissemination of ore minerals. It is commonly altered. The term implies more specific adjacency than host rock or country rock. Syn: walls of a vein. d. The rock mass comprising the wall of a fault.

wall-rock halo

A dispersion pattern formed in the rock adjoining mineral deposits where the chemical composition has been modified by the ore-forming fluids. See: halo.

wall-rock pattern

A channel dispersion pattern in which the minor elements of the walls of the channels have been modified. Wall-rock dispersion patterns of importance usually are those formed at the time the orebodies were being deposited.


a. Coal roadways in pillar-and-stall mining.

b. The side of an orebody defining where the ore ceases and the country rock begins. Walls may be definite or indefinite. See also: footwall; hanging wall.

wall saltpeter

See: nitrocalcite.

wallscraper bit

A rotary bit used to enlarge the diameter of a borehole.


Eng. A grade of coal for household purposes: originally from Wallsend, on the Tyne, but now from any part of a large district in and near Newcastle.

walls of a vein

See: wall; wall rock.


A triclinic mineral, Bi (sub 4) O (sub 4) (UO (sub 2) )(AsO (sub 4) ).2H (sub 2) O ; radioactive; yellow-orange; associated with troegerite, zeunerite, uransphaerite, torbernite, and uranospinite. Also spelled walpurgin.


A discredited term equal to walpurgite.

Walton filter

An emerald glass or beryloscope mounted to resemble a hand loupe. Observed through it the filament of an incandescent lamp appears reddish yellow, and this color is not changed when also passing through most genuine emeralds; but a Brazilian emerald from Minas Geraes appears green, an epidote red, and a dioptase green. Syn: emerald loupe. See also: emerald glass.


a. An unintentional change in the course of a borehole. CF: deviate; walk; warp.

b. See: band wander.


A defect in a timber or plank.


A zone in which the coal of a coal seam is missing, owing to a low-angle normal fault or a washout, squeeze, or roll. CF: nip; pinch. Syn: cutout. See also: washout; squeeze; roll.

Ward drill

A hand drill that can be used in a river on a barge or on a platform built on two large canoes. Basically, it consists of four straight poles, 5 to 7 in (12.7 to 17.8 cm) in diameter at the large end, which are set into notches in planks to prevent their sinking into the ground. The poles are joined at the top by a shaft that holds the pulley for the drill wire or rope. The walking beam is activated by 8 to 10 persons lining up on the crossarm. They pull down to raise the tools and vary their manner of movement, depending on whether they are driving casing, drilling, or pulling casing. The Ward drill is most efficient in shallow ground, but can be used in depths up to 90 ft (27.4 m).


a. A term used in south Wales for a strong massive sandstone associated with coal.

b. In Australia an officer under the Mining Act with magisterial and executive authority over a goldfield.


A tetragonal mineral, NaAl (sub 3) (PO (sub 4) ) (sub 2) (OH) (sub 4) .2H (sub 2) O ; bluish-green; forms oolitic or crystalline encrusting layers; in Cedar Valley and near Fairfield, UT.

Ward-Leonard control

a. A method of controlling the speed of electric winding or other large direct-current motors, employing a variable voltage generator to supply the motor armature, and driven by a shunt motor. See also: automatic cyclic winding; Ilgner system.

b. In a modification, the Ward-Leonard-Ilgner system incorporates a heavy flywheel on the shaft of the generator, which smooths out surges in the system.


A hydrated sulfate of copper that shows an emerald green color. Syn: brochantite.


Eng. Black slaty stone overlying coal seams, Somerset Coalfields. Also spelled werk.

warning lines

The lines drawn on working plans to indicate the limit beyond which workings should not extend; e.g., because of the proximity of disused or abandoned workings.


a. The amount a borehole has wandered off course. CF: wander.

b. A general term for a bed or layer of sediment deposited by water; e.g., an estuarine clay, or the alluvium laid down by a tidal river. See also: warping.

warped fault

A fault, usually a thrust fault, that has been slightly folded.


The slight flexing or bending of the Earth's crust on a broad or regional scale, either upward (upwarping) or downward (downwarping); the formation of a warp.


a. A general term for the clay floors of coal seams, particularly when hard and tough. See also: underclay.

b. The document of title to metal stored in an LME registered warehouse. The warrant is a bearer instrument and states the brand of metal, its weight, the number of pieces, and the rent payable.

warrant clay

See: underclay.

warren earth

See: fireclay. Corruption of warrant.

Warren girder

A triangulated truss made up only of sloping members between the horizontal top and bottom members with no verticals. See also: N-truss.


a. A general term for gaseous and liquid bitumens consisting mainly of a mixture of paraffins and isoparaffins: a variety of petroleum rich in paraffins.

b. A pink cobaltoan variety of smithsonite. c. A discredited name for owyheeite or jamesonite.


Strand construction in which one layer of wires is composed of pairs of large and small wires, thus 6 x 19 (6 and 6/6/1) equal laid. See also: equal lay.

Warrington rope

A wire rope comprising 7 wires of the same size covered by 12 wires alternately large and small.


An orthorhombic mineral, (Mg,Ti,Fe,Al) (sub 2) (BO (sub 3) )O ; forms dull, brownish-black prismatic crystals having perfect cleavage.

Warwick safety device

A safety appliance placed near the upper end of an inclined haulage road to stop a tram running wild down the incline. It consists of a heavy beam longer than the height of the roadway and is normally held up entirely at roof level, but is hinged at the lower end. In the event of a tram running away from above, a haulage hand can pull a rope that releases the upper end of the beam that drops and stops the tram.

Warwickshire method

A method of mining contiguous seams. See also: bord-and-pillar.


a. Loose or eroded surface material (such as gravel, sand, silt) collected, transported, and deposited by running water, such as on the lower slopes of a mountain range; esp. coarse alluvium. Syn: wash stuff.

b. An alluvial placer. c. In coal mining, a washout. d. The wet cleaning of coal or ores. e. Auriferous gravel. f. To clean cuttings or other fragmental rock materials out of a borehole by the jetting and buoyant action of a copious flow of water or a mud-laden liquid. The similar ejection of core or drill spring equipment from a borehole. See also: alluvial cone.


Coal properties determining the amenability of a coal to improvement in quality by mechanical cleaning.

washability curve

A curve or graph showing the results of a series of float-and-sink tests. A number of these curves are drawn to illustrate different conditions or variables, usually on the same axes, thus presenting the information on one sheet of paper. Washability curves are essential when designing a new coal or mineral washery. There are four main types of washability curves: characteristic ash curve, cumulative float curve, cumulative sink curve, and densimetric or specific gravity curve.

wash boring

a. Drilling by use of jet water applied inside a casing pipe, in unconsolidated ground.

b. A test hole from which samples are brought up mixed with water.

wash-boring drill

A drill rig utilizing the jet action of a high-pressure stream of water to produce a borehole in soft or unconsolidated material.

wash bottle

a. A bottle or flask fitted with two glass tubes passing through the stopper, so that on blowing into one tube a stream of water issues from the other tube. The stream may be directed upon anything to be washed or rinsed. Newer wash bottles are made of flexible plastic with a single tube.

b. A bottle for washing gases by passing them through liquid contained in it.


In coal preparation, the jig box in which feed is stratified and separated into fractions (heavier below and lighter above). A feldspar washbox has a bedding of that mineral.

washbox air cycle

The valve-timing cycle determining the periods of air admission and exhaust.

washbox cells

The individual portions into which the part of a washbox below the screen plate is divided by transverse division plates, each being capable of separate control.

washbox center sill

A sill fitted over a center extraction chamber.

washbox center weir

An adjustable plate situated between the feed end and the discharge end of a washbox and serving to regulate the forward movement of material through the box.

washbox compartments

The sections into which a washbox is divided by transverse division plates that extend above the screen plate to form a weir; each compartment usually comprises two or more cells.

washbox discharge sill

That part of the washbox over which the washed coal passes out of the box. Usually the discharge sill is a part of the discharge-end refuse extraction chamber.

washbox feed sill

That part of the washbox over which the feed passes when it enters the box. Usually the feed sill is a part of the feed-end refuse extraction chamber.

washbox screen plate

a. The perforated plate or grid that supports the bed of material being treated.

b. Also called grid plate; sieve plate; bedplate.

washbox slide valve

A washbox air valve operated by means of a reciprocating motion. Also called washbox piston valve.

wash dirt

a. The tailings or material discarded in the operation of washing an alluvial deposit for gold.

b. Gold-bearing earth worth washing. Also called wash stuff; wash gravel. See also: washing stuff.

washed coal

a. Coal from which impurities have been removed by any form of mechanical treatment.

b. Coal produced by a wet-cleaning process.

washed out

Said of a coal seam when the bed thins out.


a. A place at which ore, coal, or crushed stone is freed from impurities or dust by washing. Also called wet separation plant; washing plant. See also: washing apparatus; wash place; coal-preparation plant; dense-medium washer; efficiency of separation.

b. A coal preparation plant in which a cleaning process is carried out by wet methods. c. A building resembling a breaker used in reclaiming culm and fine coal from old banks.

washery effluent

Surplus water discharged from a washery, usually to waste (after settlement of solids in suspension).

washery products

The final products from a washery.

washery pump

A pump generally of simple construction and heavy design since slurry presents a difficult pumping problem owing to its erosive action. This type pump is generally of the single-stage type as heads are small, with a solid casing of steel or cast iron about twice the normal thickness to provide against erosive action.

washery refuse

The refuse removed at preparation plants from newly mined coal.

washery water

The water used in the wet separation of coal from shale by differences in density. See also: recirculation of water.

wash gold

See: placer gold.

wash gravel

Gravel washed to extract gold. CF: wash dirt.


A building on the surface at a mine where the miners can wash before going to their homes. A changehouse. A dryhouse.


a. That which is retained after being washed; as, a washing of ore.

b. The selective sorting, and removal, of fine-grained sediment by water currents. c. Erosion or wearing-away by the action of waves or running water. d. The act or process of cleaning, carrying away, or eroding by the buoyant action of flowing water. e. Ore mineral, such as gold dust, that is retained after being washed.

washing apparatus

a. Machinery and appliances erected on the surface at a coal mine, for extracting, by washing with water, the impurities mixed with the coal dust or small slack.

b. Machinery for removing impurities from coals and ores. See also: washery.

washing drum

See: trommel.

washing hutch

See: hutch.

washing machine

Scot. A machine for separating impurities from coal by means of water.

washing plant

See: washery.

washing screen

Flat screen or trommel on which passing ore is exposed to sprays or jets of water to remove as undersize any adherent mud or other fine material.

washing screws

Devices in which continuous helical blades arranged about shafts force the material up an inclined trough against a stream of water introduced at the higher end. This action carries away the soluble material occurring with the material and dumps the washed product over the higher end of the trough.

washing stuff

An earthy deposit containing gold that may be extracted by washing. See also: wash dirt. Syn: wash stuff.

washing trommel

See: trommel.

wash metal

Molten metal used to wash out a furnace, ladle, or other container.

Washoe canary

A miner's slang term for a donkey; burro.

Washoe process

The process of treating silver ores by grinding in pans or tubs with the addition of mercury, and sometimes of chemicals, such as blue vitriol and salt. Named from the Washoe District, NV, where it was first used.

wash ore

Crude iron ore containing readily liberated particles of pure iron ore, loosely agglomerated with sands from which they can be separated by scrubbing treatment. See also: natural ore.


a. A channel or channellike feature produced in a sedimentary deposit by the scouring action of flowing water and later filled with the sediment of a younger deposit. Syn: scour and fill.

b. A channel cut into or through a coal seam at some time during or after the formation of the seam, generally filled with sandstone--or more rarely with shale--similar to that of the roof. See also: cutout; horseback; want; low. c. Barren, thin, or jumbled areas in coal seams in which there is no actual disruption and no vertical displacement of the coal and strata. These disturbances may be divided into three main types; namely (1) classical washouts, (2) pressure belts, and (3) tremor tracts. Authentic washouts should be restricted to the first group. Also called rock fault; nip. See also: roll. d. Local thinning or disappearance of a coal seam due to erosion during or shortly after its formation. e. Channellike features that cut or transgress the stratification of the underlying beds; may be small scour-and-fill structures or large erosional channels. Also called cutout.

washout valve

Valve in a pipeline or a dam that can be opened occasionally to clear out sediment.


a. To wash away or remove material from around the outside of casing pipe, drill stem, junk, or tramp materials in a borehole. See also: washover shoe.

b. Material deposited by the action of overwash; specif. a small delta built on the landward side of a bar or barrier, separating a lagoon from the open sea, produced by storm waves breaking over low parts of the bar or barrier and depositing sediment in the lagoon. CF: blowover.

washover shoe

A casing shoelike bit used to drill downward around a piece of drilling equipment stuck in a borehole. See also: washover.

wash pan

A pan for washing pay dirt in placer mining.

wash pipe

The pipe that ejects the jet of water through the bit, used in wash boring.

wash place

A place where ores are washed and separated from the waste; usually applied to places where the hand jigs are used. See also: washery.

wash plain

See: alluvial plain.


In tin-plate manufacturing, a pot containing melted tin into which the plates are dipped to be coated.

wash rod

A heavy wall pipe used in lieu of drill rods to conduct water downward inside and to the bottom of a drivepipe being sunk through overburden by a wash-and-drive method. Syn: wash tube.

wash sale

A practice in which promoters, through the connivance of brokers who pretend to carry through transactions and thus obtain false quotations, create a fictitious flurry of activity in the stock market.

wash stuff

See: wash; washing stuff.

wash table

An inclined table used for cleaning coal or ore in which the lighter material or gangue is washed away by water. The coal or ore is fed onto the table and water is allowed to flow down the table carrying away the impurities.

wash trommel

Rotating horizontal drum that receives ore at one end and water at the other. Ore is tumbled countercurrent to the water so that coarse solids are discharged continuously while water now charged with mud and fine material overflows at the feed end.

wash tube

See: wash rod.

wash water

Water circulated through the drill string, past the bit, and then out of the borehole between the rods and the walls of the hole while drilling or during washing operations. See also: water wash.


An altered variety of allanite.


a. The part of an ore deposit that is too low in grade to be of economic value at the time of mining, but which may be stored separately for possible treatment later.

b. Refuse and impurities removed in mining and treating coal; also, the coal left in a mine as pillars. c. Gangue. d. Tailings. e. Overburden. f. The refuse from ore dressing and smelting plants. Gob; goaf; old workings; also, the fine coal made in mining and preparing coal for market; culm; coal dirt; also used to signify both the mine waste (such as coal left in pillars) and the breaker waste. g. A working or shaft which has been abandoned and filled with refuse (goaf or gob), or with material from the fall of the hanging wall. Syn: condie. h. See: spoil.

waste blasting

On some coal faces, the stone overlying the seam does not always fall in the wastes after withdrawing the supports. To avoid excessive weight on the face, which would cause dangerous roof conditions, it is desirable to blast down the stone in the wastes. Also, in thick seams, the overlying strata requires breaking down to provide sufficient stone for building packs. The holes for waste shots must be drilled from the face side so that the driller is working under a supported roof. Care must be taken to ensure that the holes are not drilled up into the solid strata and that the burden on the shot is not excessive.

waste drainage

The controlled leakage of air through a waste to ensure that large concentrations of mine gases do not accumulate in it.

waste dump

The area where mine waste or spoil materials are disposed of or piled.

waste edge support

A row of rigid timber or steel props or chocks set along the edge of the waste and parallel to the longwall face to induce the roof beds to break and to secure caving of the waste area. See also: breaker props.

waste-filled stopes

In these methods, support for walls and for workers and machines is furnished by waste rock, tailing sand, etc., called filling or gob. In true waste filling, the orebody is excavated in sections alternating with filling, and it is sometimes referred to as cut-and-fill stoping.

waste filling

Material used for support in heavy ground and in large stopes to prevent failure of rock walls and to minimize or control subsidence and to make it possible to extract pillars of ore left in the earlier stages of mining. Material used for filling includes waste rock sorted in the stopes or mined from rock walls, mill tailing, sand and gravel, smelter slag, and rock from surface open cuts or quarries.

waste-heat boiler

A boiler that uses the heat of exit gases from furnaces to produce steam or to heat water.


In anthracite and bituminous coal mining, a laborer who looks after and keeps clean the airways, haulageways, or working places of a mine. Also called cleanup man; dirt shoveler; sweeper. See also: jerry man.


a. Tinplate below the standard weight and quality.

b. Spoiled or imperfect casting or machined part that must be discarded although partly processed. c. A brick, structural or refractory, that is defective as drawn from the kiln; wasters in the refractories industry are crushed and reused as grog.

waste raise

An excavation in a mine in which barren rock and other material is broken up for use as filling at the stope.

waste rock

Barren or submarginal rock or ore that has been mined, but is not of sufficient value to warrant treatment and is therefore removed ahead of the milling processes.


The unfilled or unpacked portions of workings in a mine.

waste water

Excess water allowed to run to waste from the water circuit.


a. A channel for carrying off superfluous water.

b. The channel required to convey water discharged into it from a spillway, escape, or sluice; a spillway.

wasting asset

Property (as mines or lumber tracts) subject to depletion.


Eng. A tract of wasteland, or any waste material.


Weak coal pillars left in workings to give warning of an impending collapse.


a. Clear, colorless liquid.

b. A rarely used term referring to the color and clarity of a precious stone or pearl, and esp. of a diamond.

water ampule

A fire-resistant plastic container of water that is used as a safety precaution in shotholes.

water-ampul stemming

A water cartridge for stemming shotholes in coal or rock. The ampul consists of a plastic (polyvinylchloride) bag, 1-1/4 in (3.2 cm) in diameter and 18 in (45.7 cm) in length. When filled with water and the neck of the bag tied off, the filled ampul is about 15 in (38.1 cm) in length and holds slightly over 1/2 pint (0.24 L) of water. Compared with dry clay or sand, the use of water ampuls for stemming effects substantial reductions in both the airborne dust and the nitrous fumes produced by shot firing. This applies to both coal and rock blasting. Also called a water dummy. Syn: cushion firing. See: stem bag.

water-avid surface

A term used to describe a surface that seems to prefer contact with water to contact with air. In flotation, minerals with a water-avid surface will not float, while those with an air-avid surface will. The object of reagent additions in flotation is to form a water-repellent surface on the minerals to be floated and a water-avid surface on the minerals that are not to float (hydrophilic). CF: air-avid surface.

water bailer

See: bailer.

water balance

An obsolete water-raising apparatus consisting of a swinging frame carrying a double series of troughs ascending in zigzag lines, and so adjusted to each other that as the frame rocks in either direction water may be passed to a higher level.

water barrel

A barrel-shaped hoppit designed to collect and hoist water from the bottom of a sinking shaft. Water barrels are now obsolete. See also: pneumatic water barrel; sinking pump; water kibble. Also called barrel; bailer.

water barrier

a. An area of solid material left unworked to protect a mine, or part of a mine, against entry of secondary water.

b. See: barrier pillar.

water-base mud

A drill mud in which the solids are suspended in water.

water blast

a. The expulsion of water under pressure, in mine workings, caused by trapped air expanding as the water level is lowered.

b. Explosion caused by a sudden inrush of water. c. The discharge of water down a shaft to produce or quicken ventilation. See also: trombe. d. A water-actuated ventilating device.

water blasting

Pulsed infusion shot firing.

water block

a. A sudden stoppage of water-flow past the face of a bit while drilling is in progress.

b. A hollow box or block of iron through which water is circulated to protect part of a furnace wall.

water boss

Aust. The owner or holder of water or water rights who sells the same for mining purposes.


A general term indicating that water is the medium used to assist in filling the voids between mineral fragments and to improve compaction.

water box

a. A rectangular wooden pipe used in shafts for conveying water between garlands.

b. A square, open, wooden tank car used for removing small amounts of water from low places in a mine. Also, a tank car used for sprinkling the roadways to settle the dust.

water break

A break in the continuity of the water film upon a metal when it is withdrawn from a bath. CF: wetting.

water cage

A special cage running in guides in a special compartment of a shaft with a separate winding engine.

water cartridge

A waterproof cartridge surrounded by an outer case, the space between being filled with water, which is employed to destroy the flame produced when the shot is fired, thereby lessening the chance of an explosion should gas be present in the place.

water chamber

A water reservoir in a mine, usually located at the lowest place, commonly near the shaft station. Also called sump.

water chrysolite

Moldavite. See also: tektite.

water color

The apparent color of the surface layers of the sea caused by the reflection of certain components of the visible light spectrum coupled with the effects of dissolved material, concentration of plankton, detritus, or other matter. Color of oceanic water varies from deep blue to yellow and is expressed by number values that are a variation of the Forel scale. Plankton concentrations may cause a temporary appearance of red, green, white, or other colors. See also: Forel scale.

water content

a. Of a bottom sediment, a ratio obtained by multiplying the weight of the water in the sample by 100 and dividing the results by the weight of the dried sample; expressed as a percentage.

b. See: moisture content.

water core

A hollow core through which water circulates in a mold used for cooling the interior of a casting more rapidly than the outside while the metal is solidifying, such as in casting a cannon.

water coupling

See: water swivel.


a. A natural or artificial channel for the passage of water, as a river, canal, flume, or drainage tunnel.

b. A subsurface opening or passage in rocks through which groundwater flows.

water creep

The movement of water under or around a structure, such as a dam, built on a semipermeable foundation. See also: piping.

water curb

See: garland.

water cushion

A water load pumped into drill pipe during a drill-stem test to retard fillup and prevent collapse of pipe under sudden pressure changes.

water-cutoff core barrel

A core barrel having a device in its head part that closes and stops the flow of drill-circulation liquid when a core block occurs in the inner tube of the core barrel.

water cycle

See: hydrologic cycle.

water dam

A permanent stopping to seal off a large body or feeder of water. It consists usually of a block of concrete between two brick end walls and these are extended well into the surrounding ground. The contact points and all breaks in the strata are sealed by cement injection. The various pipes, pressure gages, etc., may be left through the stopping.


Eng. Containing much water--full of springs or feeders; e.g., heavily watered mines, heavily watered measures, etc.


See: divining rod.

water flush

A system of well boring in which percussive drills are used in connection with water forced down to the bottom of the hole through the drill rods. This water jet makes the tools cut better and washes the detritus up out of the hole.

water gage

a. An instrument for measuring the difference in pressure produced by a ventilating fan or air current. See also: manometer.

b. An instrument for measuring the ventilation pressure. One-inch (2.54-cm) water gage is equivalent to a pressure of 62.5/12 = 5.2 psi (35.85 kPa). See also: inclined water gage; total ventilating pressure. c. A measure of ventilating pressure, expressed in terms of the height of a column of water. d. A device that measures the pressure at which water is discharged by a pump or the volume of water flowing through a pipe or other conductor. e. An instrument used to measure the depth or quantity of water, such as in a steam boiler or water storage tank. f. A manometer used with a Pitot tube to indicate air pressure.

water garland

See: garland.

water gel

a. An explosive material containing substantial portions of water, oxidizers, and fuel, plus a cross-linking agent.

b. An explosive material containing substantial portions of water, oxidizers and fuel, plus a cross-linking agent. Syn: slurry.

water gin

Scot. A gin actuated by a water wheel.

water glass

A concentrated and viscous solution of sodium silicate or potassium silicate in water. Used as an adhesive, a binder, a protective coating, in waterproofing cement, and in bleaching. Colorless; amorphous; Na (sub 2) O.XSiO (sub 2) , in which X = 3 to 5; deliquescent. Syn: waterglass; soluble glass; liquid glass.


See: water glass.

water grade

a. An entry inclination that is just sufficient to drain off water.

b. A grade determined by keeping the working place nearly parallel to the edge of a pool of water standing upon its floor. Water grade is sometimes incorrectly called water level. CF: water level.

water groove

See: waterway.

water hauler

a. One who collects in a water box (car) water that accumulates in low places--at the mine entrance, along haulageways, or at the working face--bailing it into a car with a bucket or using a small hand pump. Also called waterman; water monkey; water tender.

b. A laborer who hauls water cars into a mine to supply water for sprinkling haulage roads and working places.

water hoist

A simple method of disposing of mine water using tanks with an engine or a motor on the surface. The machinery can be easily repaired and the plant is in no danger of being flooded. The high cost of this system and the fact that the shaft cannot be used for other purposes while water is being hoisted are important disadvantages. Water is delivered intermittently and at a decreasing rate as the depth of hoisting increases. This method is less economical than pumping but is useful as an emergency measure in reclaiming a flooded mine. See also: drainage.

water-holding capacity

The smallest value to which the water content of a soil can be reduced by gravity drainage.

water inch

a. The discharge from a circular sharp-edged orifice 1 in (2.54 cm) in diameter with a head of one line above the top edge that is commonly estimated at 14 pints/min (6.6 L/min), and that constitutes an old unit of hydraulic measure.

b. See: miner's inch.

water infusion

A technique being used abroad to suppress or prevent the formation of dust, in advance of mining a coal seam. Water (or sometimes foam or steam, which is costlier but more effective) is injected into the coal ahead of the face through long drill holes, as many as four to six per face and 6 to 20 m in length. The liquid infuses into the seam along fractures and cracks and, under pressure, penetrates a considerable distance from the hole radially, wetting the coal well. It has proved very effective in reducing dust concentrations during subsequent mining--in some instances, as much as 80%. Water infusion originated in Great Britain (it is used in 25% of the dusty mines) and has been tried experimentally with some success in the United States. See also: pulsed infusion shot firing.

water infusion gun

A special tube that acts as a borehole seal in the water infusion process. The tube has two separate passages: one for the infusion water and one for admitting hydraulic fluid, which actuates a piston, expanding the seal in the borehole. The infusion water is supplied by a power pump and the hydraulic fluid is supplied by a hand pump. Syn: infusion gun.

water infusion method

A method of removing methane from mines. It consists of injecting water under pressure into a coal seam to push out the gas. Holes are drilled horizontally into the coal face and water is pumped into some of the holes at pressures varying from 200 to 650 psi (1.4 to 4.5 MPa). This forces the methane out through the other holes and also from the exposed part of the coal seam. Syn: methane removal.

water infusion pump

A power pump, mounted on wheels, used to supply high-pressure water for coal seam infusion. It consists of an oil hydraulic circuit that drives two reciprocating rams, which in turn are directly coupled to the two rams of the water pump.

water inrush

A heavy and sudden inflow of water into mine workings or shafts. See also: inrush of water.

water jacket

Cast- or wrought-iron sections of a furnace so constructed as to allow free circulation of water for keeping the furnace cool. Also called water block and water box.

water-jet drilling

The drilling of boreholes in unconsolidated or earthy formations using the erosive power of a small-diameter stream of water forcefully ejected as the cutting tool. See also: jet.

water kibble

A large iron bucket with a valve in the bottom for self-filling; sometimes used in hoisting the water from a mine. See also: water barrel.

water level

a. A level roadway, constructed with an impervious seal or barrier on the dip side, to divert the flow of water along the level and prevent its seepage to workings on the dip side. The level dips slightly outward to allow gravity flow. See also: drain tunnel.

b. The level at which, by natural or artificial drainage, water is removed from a mine or mineral deposit. c. A drift at the water level. See also: water grade. d. The level of underground waters in a mine, or the elevation to which water will rise in a mine, when the mine is not being drained.

water leyner

A type of rock drill in which water is fed into the drill hole through the hollow drill steel to remove the drill cuttings and, at the same time, allay the dust. Also known as Leyner-Ingersoll drill.


See: hydraulic limestone.

water load

S. Wales. The head, or pressure per square inch, of a column of water in pumps, etc.

water lodge

An underground reservoir.


a. Said of workings or mines that have become filled with water because of abandonment or stoppage of operations. See also: inrush of water.

b. Referring to land where the water table is permanently located at or near ground level. See also: water table.

water loss

The amount of drill water that escapes into porous or fractured borehole wall rocks and hence does not return and overflow at the collar of the borehole.

water machine

Scot. A pump or other appliance actuated by a water wheel for raising water.

water mains

In coal mining, pipes made of cast iron or steel for the conveyance of water.


a. A laborer who quenches coke with water so that it may be drawn from the oven, using a sprinkling system of perforated pipes.

b. See: water hauler.

watermelon tourmaline

A variety of elbaite in pink, green, and colorless prismatic crystals.

water monkey

See: water hauler.

water of capillarity

The water held in the soil above the standing-water level by reason of capillary attraction. Also called held water. See also: capillary water.

water of compaction

Water furnished by destruction of pore space owing to compaction of sediments.

water of constitution

Water as an essential component in a mineral or other compound, either as water of crystallization; e.g., CaSO (sub 4) .2H (sub 2) O gypsum, or water more tightly bound as (OH) groups; e.g., FeO(OH) goethite. Also called H (sub 2) O+ in wet chemical analyses.

water of crystallization

Water that combines with salts when they crystallize and remains as H (sub 2) O molecules in the crystal structure; given off upon heating to 100 to 200 degrees C. Also called H (sub 2) O in wet chemical analyses.

water of hydration

Water that is chemically combined in a crystalline substance to form a hydrate, but that may be driven off by heat.

water opal

a. See: hyalite.

b. Any transparent precious opal.

water packer

An expandable device that is placed in a borehole to bar entry of water into the lower part of a hole or to separate two distinct flows of water from different strata. See also: packer.

water pocket

A small, bowl-shaped depression on a bedrock surface, where water may gather; esp. a water hole in the bed of an intermittent stream, formed at the foot of a cliff by the action of falling water when the stream is in the flood stage.


a. The power of water derived from its gravity or its momentum as applied or applicable to the driving of machinery.

b. A descent or fall in a stream from which motive power may be obtained; specif., in law, the fail in a stream in its natural state, as it passes through a person's land or along the boundaries of it.

water privilege

a. The right to the use of the water of a certain stream.

b. The right to the possession and use of a fall of water for mechanical purposes. See also: water right.

waterproofed stone dust

The proofing of stone dust to prevent the particles from caking or becoming sticky in humid atmospheres. Waterproofing is considered essential if stone-dust barriers are to operate effectively at humidities above 85%.

waterproof electric blasting cap

A cap specially insulated to ensure reliability of firing when used in wet work. Syn: blasting cap.


Cooled with water, as in hardening steel.

water rate

The weight of dry steam consumed by a steam engine for each horsepower per hour. The result is stated in either indicated horsepower or brake horsepower.

water-repellent surface

See: air-avid surface.

water resistance

A qualitative measure of the ability of an explosive or blasting agent to withstand exposure to water without deteriorating or becoming desensitized.

water right

a. The right to use water for mining, agricultural, or other purposes. See also: water privilege.

b. The right to appropriate water granted to miners by Federal laws; however, this right applies only to water on public domain. Rights of way are granted over public lands for ditches, canals, flumes, and for the construction of a reservoir to one who has a right to water. c. When one has legally acquired a water right, the person has a property right therein that cannot be taken away for public or private use, except by due process of law and upon just compensation being paid therefor. One who has acquired a legal water right can only be deprived of it by the voluntary act of conveying it to another, by abandonment, forfeiture under some stature, or by operation of law. A water right is an independent right and is not a servitude upon some other thing, and is an incorporeal hereditament, being neither tangible nor visible.

water ring

building up the walling and also a channel or groove for collecting water running down the shaft sides. Rings are built into the shaft lining at intervals and pipes are arranged to conduct the water to the next lower ring or a sump. See also: curb; garland. Syn: walling curb.


Said of round, smooth sedimentary particles that have been rolled about by water.

water sapphire

a. A light-colored blue sapphire.

b. An intense blue variety of cordierite occurring in water-worn masses in river gravels (such as in Sri Lanka) that may be used as a gemstone. Syn: saphir d'eau. c. A term applied to water-worn pebbles of topaz, quartz, and other minerals in Sri Lanka.

water seal

A water accumulation in a depression in an underground roadway or in a pipe, sufficient to form a seal.

water separation

See: elutriation.

water shutoff

The sealing off of salt-water-bearing formations to prevent harmful underground water pollution. This is ordinarily done by cementing.

water slot

A groove incised in the face and outside wall of a noncoring bit that serves as a waterway. Syn: waterway.

water smoke

To heat a kiln slowly to dry out the moisture from the bricks, before firing.

water softening

Removal of excess calcium and magnesium, from water through precipitation of their carbonates (ion exchange) to remove ionized calcium, magnesium, etc.

water-soluble oils

Oils having the property of forming permanent emulsions or almost clear solutions with water.

water stemming bags

Water-filled plastic bags with a self-sealing valve classified as a permissible stemming device by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.


a. A stone whose cutting crystals break away rapidly from its bond. The use of water forms a gritty paste which acts in much the same way as oil when used on an oilstone. The Queer Creek and Hindostan stone are good examples.

b. Forest of Dean. A shale, so called in consequence of the wet soil that is found wherever it appears at the surface. c. The formation name for certain flaggy micaceous sandstone and marls in the Keuper of the Midlands. d. Eng. Quarrymen's name for the lowest bed in a Portland stone quarry at Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire. e. A whetstone requiring water instead of oil.

water string

Casing used to shut off water-bearing formations encountered in the drilling of a well.

water swivel

A device connecting the water hose to the drill-rod string and designed to permit the drill string to be rotated in the borehole while water is pumped into it to create the circulation needed to cool the bit and remove the cuttings produced. Also called gooseneck; swivel neck; water coupling. CF: air swivel.

water table

The surface between the zone of saturation and the zone of aeration; that surface of a body of unconfined ground water at which the pressure is equal to that of the atmosphere. Syn: ground-water surface; ground-water table; plane of saturation; saturated surface; level of saturation; phreatic surface; ground-water level; free-water elevation; free-water surface. See also: waterlogged.

water-table contour

A line drawn on a map to represent an imaginary line in the water table of a definite level. These contours are constructed from the data provided by the water-table levels, corrected for differences in surface level at the respective boreholes. A site investigation or opencast plan sometimes show water-table contours.

water-table level

Level showing the depth of the water table below the surface; the depth at which water is encountered in trial pits or boreholes.

water-table map

A contour map of the upper surface of the saturated zone.

water-table stream

Concentrated ground water flow at the water table in a formation or structure of high permeability.


a. A borehole in which the conditions are such that no loss of the circulated drill fluid occurs.

b. A connection, container, or rock strata so tight as to be impermeable to water.

water-to-cement ratio

The ratio between the weight of water and the weight of cement in mortar or concrete. The lower the water-to-cement ratio, the higher will be the strength of the concrete.

water tower

a. A standpipe or its equivalent, often of considerable height, giving a head to a system of water distribution.

b. A tower in which a falling spray of water is used to wash gas, etc. c. A tower containing tanks in which water is stored, built at or near the summit of an area of high ground in cases where the ordinary water pressure would be inadequate for distribution to consumers in the area.

water transport

Water is used for transport in some mines, esp. in placers and in claypits, and generally in mines in an elevated position and with a loose mineral. Also filling material is often transported into the mine by water. The mixture of water and solid material can also be conveyed by pumps horizontally or raised to a small height.

water turbine

A prime mover coupled to an alternator, using a purely rotary motion to generate an alternating current. The main types of water turbines are (1) the Pelton wheel for high heads, (2) the Francis turbine for low to medium heads, and (3) the Kaplan turbine for a wide range of heads.

water tuyere

A water-jacketed tuyere.

water vein

a. Groundwater in a crevice or fissure in dense rock.

b. A term popularly applied to any body of groundwater, in part because dowsers commonly describe water as occurring in veins. The term is little used among hydrologists.

water wash

The use of water to remove the soluble constituents of a mill product before further treatment. See also: wash water.


a. A groove or slot incised in the surface of a bit or other piece of drill-string equipment to provide a channel through which the circulated drilling fluid can flow. Also called watercourse; water groove; water passage; water slot.

b. A way or channel, either natural (as a river) or artificial (as a canal), for conducting the flow of water. c. A navigable body or stretch of water available for passage; a watercourse.

water wheel

A wheel so arranged with floats, buckets, etc., that it may be turned by flowing water; used to drive machinery, raise water, etc. The overshot and undershot water wheel, the breast wheel, and the tub wheel are now largely discarded in favor of the turbine.

water witch

A device for determining the presence of water, usually electrically. CF: divining rod.

water witching

See: dowsing.

waterworn stone

Gem minerals, esp. crystals, rounded by action of water rolling them against rocks or gravels in beds of rivers, lakes, or the ocean.

water yardage

Extra payment to miners who work in a wet place, either by the yard of progress or the ton of coal mined.


The absolute meter-kilogram-second (mks) unit of power that equals 1 absolute joule per second; the standard in the United States; equals 1/746 hp. Abbrev., w and W.


An orthorhombic or monoclinic mineral, Na (sub 2) Ca(SO (sub 4) ) (sub 2) .4H (sub 2) O(?) ; forms hairlike crystals. Also spelled wattevilleite.


A unit of measurement of electrical work that equals 1 W expended for 1 h. Abbrev., whr and wh.

wattless current

An alternative name for the reactive component of an alternating current.


An instrument for measuring electric power in watts, the unit of electrical energy, volt times amperes; therefore, combining the functions of a volmeter and an ammeter. Abbrev., wm.


A unit of measurement of electrical work that equals the rate of 1 W expended for 1 s. Abbrev., wsec.

Waugh drill

See: rock drill.

wave diffraction

See: diffraction.

wave front

In seismology, the surface of equal time elapse from the source point to the position of the resulting outgoing signal at any given time after the source charge has been activated. In a more restricted sense, the surface along which phase is constant at a given instant.

wave-front chart

In seismology, a diagram of a series of lines showing equal times from the point of detonation. In its construction, velocity information must be known or assumed. Charts are usually constructed so that the horizontal and vertical scales are in length, but they can be constructed so that the horizontal scale is in length and the vertical scale is in time.

wave interference

The phenomenon that results when waves of the same or nearly the same frequency are superposed, characterized by a spatial or temporal distribution of amplitude of some specified characteristic differing from that of the individual superposed waves.


a. The linear distance between successive wave crests or other equivalent points in a waveform or harmonic series. It is equal to the velocity divided by the frequency--measured in cycles per second--and may be represented by the wave number in reciprocal units, e.g., cm (super --1) .

b. In symmetrical, periodic tectonic fold systems, the distance between adjacent antiformal or synformal axial planes. For asymmetrical and nonperiodic systems, various definitions have been proposed.


An orthorhombic mineral, Al (sub 3) (PO (sub 4) ) (sub 2) (OH,F) (sub 3) .5H (sub 2) O ; pearly; forms hemispherical radiating aggregates in low-grade aluminous phosphatic rocks; also occurs in veins; a source of phosphorus.

wave meter

An instrument to measure and record the wave spectra.

wave period

The time interval between the appearance of two consecutive wave repetitions at a given point, usually expressed in seconds. The wave segments considered must be the same; i.e., the crests, troughs, etc.

wave propagation

Radiation, such as from an antenna of r-f energy into space or of sound energy into a conducting medium.

wave refraction

a. The process by which a water wave, moving in shallow water as it approaches the shore at an angle, tends to be turned from its original direction. The part of the wave advancing in shallower water moves more slowly than the part still advancing in deeper water, causing the wave crests to bend toward parallel alignment with the shoreline.

b. The bending of wave crests by currents.

wave spectrum

A concept used to describe the distribution of energy among waves of different period. Wave speed increases with wave length, so distant storms may be detected by the increase of energy in long period waves. Sea is fully developed when all possible wave frequencies possess energies appropriate to the spectrum for the prevailing wind speed.

wave velocity

A quantity that specifies the speed with which a wave travels through a medium.

wavy extinction

See: undulatory extinction.

wavy vein

A vein that alternately enlarges or pinches at short intervals.


a. A solid, noncrystalline hydrocarbon of mineral origin, such as ozocerite and paraffin; composed of the fatty acid esters of the higher hydrocarbons.

b. Soft or puddled clay used for dams or stoppings in a mine.

wax opal

An early name for yellow opal with a waxy luster.

wax stone

Crude ozokerite associated with earthy matter.

wax wall

A wall of clay built around the gob or goaf to prevent the entry of air or egress of gas.

wax walling

The building of clay lumps as a lining to the pack to reduce leakage. If about 15% to 20% of calcium chloride is added to the clay, it will remain plastic.


The rails, sleepers, etc., upon which cars, tubs, or corves run.


a. Eng. A thin layer or band that separates or defines the boundaries of thicker strata; e.g., thick beds of limestone separated by wayboards of slaty shale, sandstone separated by wayboards of clay. Also spelled weighboard.

b. Leic. Beds of green marl among sandy shales in the Trias.


The tailrace of a mill.


A trigonal mineral, (B,Ca)Al (sub 3) (PO (sub 4) ,SiO (sub 4) ) (sub 2) (OH) (sub 6) ; crandallite group; white; in Uganda.

way shaft

See: winze.