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[free-at-ik] /friˈæt ɪk/
adjective, Geology
noting or pertaining to ground water.
noting or pertaining to explosive volcanic activity involving steam derived from ground water:
a phreatic explosion.
1890-95; < Greek phreat- (stem of phréar) artificial well + -ic Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for phreatic
  • The phreatic surface indicates the level of the water table.
  • Eruption column generated by phreatic and magmatic explosions rises from the larger east maar.
  • We used an initial phreatic line that is high in the dam, then lowered the reservoir level but left the phreatic level constant.
  • Volcanic eruptions often begin with a series of steam or phreatic explosions caused by the interaction of magma and groundwater.
  • Occasional phreatic activity was observed at the entry.
  • Pits in the foreground are from phreatic explosions within the debris avalanche.
  • Thus, tree coring has potential for mapping vadose-zone as well as phreatic-zone applications.
British Dictionary definitions for phreatic


(geography) of or relating to ground water occurring below the water table Compare vadose
Word Origin
C19: from Greek phrear a well
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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