Fjords are beautiful creations that exist because of nature itself. The mountainous backgrounds and steep sides that the water flows between will simply take your breath away. If you ever have the opportunity to go on a fjord cruise or even just travel to one, I highly recommend it, and whatever you do, don’t forget to pack your camera!
A fjord is a long, narrow inlet that has steep sides. It is usually deeper than the ocean connected to it. Fjords primarily exist in the mountainous higher middle latitudes because they are a direct result of glacial activity during the previous Ice Age.
Fjords were created by glaciers during the previous Ice Age. Glaciers are large, slow-moving blocks of ice that sculpted the Earth depending on how they moved. With fjords, glaciers carved a u-shaped valley into existing bedrock. As the glaciers receded into the ocean, they left the valleys behind. When the temperature warmed up and melted the ice, water flowed into the valley creating the beautiful scenery that we have today.
Although beautiful, fjords can also be very dangerous. Extreme currents and intense rapids often exist where the inlet and the ocean join together. This is a result of the glacier’s terminal moraine, which is the end of the glacier. As the glacier moved into the ocean, it left a widening hole that affected the existing currents.
Although most fjords do connect to the ocean, there are a few that connect with rivers, streams, or lakes. Therefore, they have a mix of salt and freshwater, which is known as an estuary. Some fjords, especially those around the Norwegian lakes, are all fresh water, because they do not connect to the ocean at all.
Fjords that were created in areas where westerly winds dropped lots of snow on glaciers are the ones that are more pronounced today. The areas these fjords are located in include the west coast of Europe, the west coast of the Puget Sound to Alaska in North America, the west coast of New Zealand, and the west coast of South America. The longest fjord, Scoresby Sound in Greenland, is 220 miles long. Skelton Inlet in Antarctica is the deepest fjord at 6,342 feet.
Although I don’t recommend traveling to Antarctica, I do think that everybody should see afjord in their lifetime, since there is nothing else like it in the world. The Norwegian Fjords are probably the most popular, and there are plenty of vacation packages available.