Fjords pp 3-17 | Cite as

Fjords and Their Study

  • James P. M. Syvitski
  • David C. Burrell
  • Jens M. Skei


The usual scientific definition of a fjord, and the one adopted in this book, is a deep, high-latitude estuary which has been (or is presently being) excavated or modified by land-based ice. The term derives from the Old Norse “fjorthr,” which is close to the present-day Icelandic usage. Throughout this book we use the modern Norwegian spelling “fjord,” except that the anglicized “fiord” is retained in proper names. There are also many other designators in a variety of local languages, such as the Celtic “loch” or “lough.” In Nordic usage, “fjord” is a generic name for a wide variety of marine inlets (and, formerly, bodies of fresh water), including, in southern Scandinavia, a number of shallow, temperate-zone estuaries somewhat removed from the types of fjords generally referenced here. Fairbridge (1968) has advocated the Swedish name “fjärd” for this latter variety. The distinction is a useful one, but the term itself has not been generally accepted into the scientific literature.


Terminal Moraine Sediment Gravity Flow Norwegian Fjord Saanich Inlet Estuarine Residence Time 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • James P. M. Syvitski
    • 1
  • David C. Burrell
    • 2
  • Jens M. Skei
    • 3
  1. 1.Bedford Institute of OceanographyGeological Survey of CanadaDartmouthCanada
  2. 2.Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity of AlaskaFairbanksUSA
  3. 3.Norwegian Institute for Water ResearchOslo 3Norway

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