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The fjard of Somes Sound, Maine, USA.

A fjard (Swedish: fjärd, IPA: [ˈfjæːɖ]) is a large open space of water between groups of islands or mainland in archipelagos. Fjards can be found along sea coasts, in freshwater lakes or rivers. Fjard and fjord were originally the same word with the general meaning of sailable waterway. In Scandinavia, fjords dominate along the North Sea coast while fjards dominate the Baltic Sea coast.

Fjards vs. fjords vs. förden vs. rias[edit]

Although fjards and fjords are similar in that they are a glacially-formed topography, they still differ in some key ways:

  • Fjords are characterized by steep high relief cliffs carved by glacial activity and often have split or branching channels.
  • Fjards are glacial depressions or valleys that have much lower reliefs than fjords. Fjards fill with eroded local materials which assist in "filling", along with rising sea level since the last ice age contributing as well. Other low relief landforms that are only associated with fjards, such as mud flats, salt marshes, and flood plains,[1] further characterize the difference between fjords and fjards.
  • "Förden" of the German coast and the fjords of Danish eastern Jutland together form a third type of glacial inlet. They tend to occur along older 'beheaded' river channels and open into the tideless Baltic sea.
  • Rias are drowned valleys, such as the estuaries of Thames, Severn and Humber and the firths of Tay and Forth.




  • Airisto in the Turku Archipelago
  • Kihti between the Turku Archipelago and Åland
  • Porkkalanselkä west from Porkkala peninsula

Republic of Ireland[edit]


United Kingdom[edit]



United States[edit]


  1. ^ ABPmer and HR Wallingford. 2007. Understanding and Managing Morphological Change in Estuaries, Ch. 3 of The Estuary-Guide: A website based overview of how to identify and predict morphological change within estuaries., Joint Defra/EA Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management R&D Programme. UK Department for Environment, Food, and Public Affairs.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Retrieved 14 August 2022. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ Bird, E.C.F., 2008, Coastal Geomorphology: An Introduction, 2nd ed. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. West Sussex, England. ISBN 978-0-470-51729-1
  4. ^ Cooper, J. A. G. (2006). "Geomorphology of Irish estuaries: inherited and dynamic controls". Journal of Coastal Research: 176–180. JSTOR 25741557.
  5. ^ Jackson, J.A., 1997, Glossary of Geology. American Geological Institute. Alexandria, Virginia. ISBN 0-922152-34-9
  6. ^ Goudie, A., 2004, Encyclopedia of Geomorphology. Routledge. London, England. ISBN 0-415-27298-X