fjord or fiord (fyôrd) [key], steep-sided inlet of the sea characteristic of glaciated regions. Fjords probably resulted from the scouring by glaciers of valleys formed by any of several processes, including faulting and erosion by running water. When the regions occupied by these glaciers subsided, the valleys were drowned by the sea. The fjord coast lines of Norway, Scotland, Greenland, Alaska, British Columbia, S Chile, S New Zealand, and Antarctica are examples. A fjord differs from most estuaries in its sheer, parallel walls, often extending far below the water surface, and in its many branches of similar form. Often shallow at the mouth, fjords are frequently very deep farther inland. Sognafjord (Norway) is 4,000 ft (1,220 m) deep and over 100 mi (160 km) long. Loch Moran, Scotland (1,017 ft/310 m), is a typical fjord but is separated from the sea. Norwegian fjords are noted for their grandeur.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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