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Lysefjorden in Norway
Lysefjorden in Norway

A fjord (pronounced FEE-ord or fyord, SAMPA: ['fi:3:d] or ['faI3:d]; sometimes written fiord) is a glacially overdeepened valley, usually narrow and steep-sided, extending below sea level and filled with salt water.



Fjords are found in locations where current or past glaciation extended to sea level. A fjord is formed when a glacier (carving its typical U-shaped valley) meets the sea and melts. This leaves a narrow, steep sided valley into which the sea floods. The flood creates a narrow, deep lake (sometimes as deep as 1300m) connected to the sea. The terminal moraine pushed down the valley by the glacier is left underwater at the fjord's entrance, causing the water at the neck of the fjord to be shallower than the main body of the fjord behind it.

This shallow threshold and the protection afforded by the valley'Fish_farming" title ="Fish farming">fish farming and shipbuilding.


Fjords are found all along the coast of:

The largest fjord in the world is Scoresby Sund on Greenland.

The long fjord-like bays of the New England coast are sometimes referred to as "fiards".

The Lim bay in Istria, Croatia, is sometimes called "Lim fjord" although it'Estuary" title ="Estuary">estuary created by the erosive forces of the river Pazinčica.

Linguistic notes

The word fjord comes from the Scandinavian languages, and is cognate to firth. In Scandinavia, fjord is used for narrow inlets in Norway, Denmark and western Sweden, whereas the name Fjärd is used in a synonymous manner for narrow inlets on Sweden'Baltic_Sea" title ="Baltic Sea">Baltic Sea coast, and in most Swedish lakes. This latter term is also used for bodies of water off the coast of Finland where Swedish is spoken. Note that the uses for the words fjord and especially for the eastern form fjärd are more general in the Scandinavian languages, than in English. Fjord in the English sense is taken from a type of fjord found in Norway and in parts of Sweden.

Fjords in literature and popular culture

  • Slartibartfast, a character in Douglas Adams'The_Hitchhiker%27s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy" title ="The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy">The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is noted for having crafted the fjords in Norway.
  • In Monty Python'Dead_Parrot" title ="Dead Parrot">Dead Parrot sketch, Michael Palin asserts that John Cleese'Parrot" title ="Parrot">parrot is, in fact, not dead, but rather "pining for the fjords".
  • Pinky, of Pinky and the Brain fame was known to, on occasion, exclaim "FJORD!" for no apparent reason.

See also

External link

de:Fjord fa:آبدره fi:Vuono fr:Fjord he:פיורד id:fyord ja:フィヨルド nl:Fjord nn:Fjord no:Fjord ru:Фьорд

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