A fjord is a long, narrow inlet with steep sides, created in a valley carved by glacial activity.
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- These cracks can be several meters wide and deep.
The ice ages of the Quaternary Periodshaped the face of the Earth. Around 200,000 years ago, ice covered almost 47 million square kilometers (18.15 million square miles) of the Earth’s surface, while today only 16 million square kilometers (6.18 million sqare miles) are icebound. The southern edge of the European ice cover spread south to the London-Cologne-Krakow-Kiev line. In North America, ice extended southwards to the latitude of present-day New York, the 40th parallel north.
Ice accumulates in high mountains in areas above the permanent snowline, more specifically, in river valleys formed before the glaciation period. This mass of ice is called a glacier.
Glaciers erode V-shaped valleys into U-shaped ones. As they slide downhill, they widen and deepen the valleys. The ice flow breaks, plucks pieces off the bedrock, and drags them along as it slides downhill; this sediment is called moraine. The pieces can vary in size from grains of sand to huge boulders. The glacier's snout can be found at the snow line; below this line glaciers start to melt.
The last ice age ended more than 10,000 years ago, and then glaciers and the ice coverreceded.
Fjords are also glacier valleys. The word comes from Norwegian, and it means 'where one fares through'.
Fjords form along mountainous coasts, where long, narrow, deep, steep-walled inlets, carved out of the slopesbyglaciers, are flooded by the sea after the ice recedes.
Most of the Earth's fjords have been carved out of the Norwegian coast, but they can be found in large numbers in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, NewZealand and Chile as well. Fjords can reach or even exceed depths of 1,000 meters (3,281 feet). The longest fjord in the world is in Greenland, it extends 350 km (217.5 mi) inland from the coast.