From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Proposed merger[edit]

Corrie seems to duplicate information found here, and is an essentially synonymous term. I didn't think having Corrie as a redirect was controversial until User:JzG disputed it. I'm inviting further discussion on the matter. The way, the truth, and the light 15:27, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

This is a bad idea for several reasons, not least of which is that in the English Wikipedia the merge target should be the predominant English usage, not a French term for a related but subtly different concept. Guy (Help!) 17:17, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
"Cirque" is by far the predominant and standard English usage, it is probably used hundreds of times more often than "corrie" in everyday speech (among mountaineers, geologists, etc.), in published books, and definitely in published geological papers. Cirque is not a "French term" except by etymology, and corrie is not English either (it's Scottish Gaelic). Also, according to Merriam-Webster's dictionary, cirque entered the English language in 1601, corrie in 1795. Please see and, where corrie is defined simply as cirque (unfortunately the dates are missing in the online dictionary, you need the paper one for those).
If you have any reference that clarifies the difference between a corrie and a cirque, please post it. In any case, I think that the articles should be re-merged, since subtle differences can be elucidated within the text of a single article. There is no need to have separate articles for synonyms, that is good use for redirects. --Seattle Skier (talk) 22:38, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
I have further evidence from the geological literature: In Georef, the main database for scientifc literature in the earth sciences, a search for "cirque" turns up 609 results, while "corrie" only finds 27, many of which are proper names like "Moraine Corrie Glacier" and not the general term (and also not counting numerous authors who are named "Corrie"). So cirque definitely is the predominant usage in the scientifc literature. A relevant Google search on the two terms appears to be impossible, since almost all hits are to names and other irrelevant stuff. --Seattle Skier (talk) 22:47, 24 May 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Seattle Skier: "cirque" is the standard geological term. For example, see [1] and[2]. In my opinion, "cirque" should be the article, "corrie" should be the redirect. hike395 03:25, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
I think this is a difference of wording based on British Isles uses and others. In North America, cirque is the common name. I think we can have the article on Corrie and work to identify what the differences are. I believe that JzG is indicating that a Cirque may have several Corries...I am not familiar with this, but again, this may be a British Isles terminology and we shouldn't reject it just because it isn't used in N. America. Lest we forget about the Western Cwm, named I suppose by explorers from Britain.--MONGO 05:29, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
As far as I know, "corrie" is synonymous with "cirque" (see Seattle Skier's explanation, above). Is there support/citations for the fact that "corrie" is different from "cirque"? hike395 13:17, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Definition of Coomb[edit]

The entry for the geological term "coomb" is redirected to the "Cirque" article. Are all coombs glacial? In Sussex the term "Coomb" is used for deep, rounded, dry valleys in the Downs. I don't think these are of Glacial origin. Suelaw1954 (talk) 00:17, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Please see WP:RS for how to identify reliable source for article content. Walter Siegmund (talk) 03:41, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Cwm (Welsh) and Coombe (French, but pronounced the same) are frequently solution features in the crest of anticline ridges in limestone. Radial stress fractures in the crest of the fold lead surface drainage into the ground instead of downslope, leading to solution and eventual collapse of the ridgetop. As a technical geological term, this is, to the best of my knowledge, the primary definition. Note that technical usage frequently differentiates terms that had common folk usage (see the distinction between slate, shale and schist, all of which were vague terms in folk usage 200 years ago).Douglas W. Jones (talk) 02:14, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

"Cwm" redirects here, but nowhere on the page is it explained that "cwm" and "cirque" are synonymous. That's quite confusing to the reader who searched for "cwm". What's up with that? Rclocher3 (talk) 05:41, 3 August 2011 (UTC)


I'm a little confused about the relationship between a cirque and a makhtesh. There's separate articles on the concept, but Makhtesh Ramon is listed here. If I were to make a guess on the basis of the other article, I'd be inclined to believe that they were structurally similar, but cirques "proper" are glacial in character (that much I'm relatively sure about), whereas "erosion cirques" are formed by seasonal surface water. Can anyone suggest (or indeed carry out) some clarifying edits? Alai (talk) 18:59, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Since the entire text of the article deals only with cirques in the classical, alpine-glacial sense, we really shouldn't include a makhtesh in the list of notable cirques. Besides, there's already a disambiguation link at the top of the article, making it clear that "erosion cirques" are outside the purview of this article. I'd favor deleting Makhtesh Ramon from the list. Let's wait a while to see whether anyone objects, though. (talk) 17:14, 4 February 2009 (UTC)
I agree that makhtesh should be removed from the list. hike395 (talk) 05:55, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

List of notable cirques[edit]

Speaking of the list of notable cirques, I think it would be great if the list were a little less USA-centric. I'd say it would be OK to include one east-coast dry cirque (Tuckerman Ravine being the most prominent example), one snowy Rocky Mountain cirque (maybe the one in Glacier National Park?), and one west-coast cirque--preferably one with an active glacier in it. There's no need to have five US cirques on the list when we don't even have a single one from the Alps! (what's the best known cirque in the Alps?) And let's add one prominent British cwm/coomb/corrie. Maybe Cwm Idwal? (talk) 17:14, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

Are there any geologists watching?[edit]

The Cirque du Bout du Monde and the Cirque de Navacelles are incised valleys, not formations described in the text. To my knowledge in French, there are regional variations in the meaning of cirque. Cirque de Gavarnie is probably safe. Are there any geologists watching who can sort this out and provide verifiable references? Similarly in Welsh, Cwm mere means valley. In South Wales we have Cwm Rhondda, Cwmbran which is non glacial, and in North Wales, and Cwm Idwal. The only reference I have is the authoritative Dudley Stamp (1947). Britains structure and Scenery. New Naturalist. Collins. pp. 87–9, 219.  but this is enough to say this page needs references and and a lot of work. Maybe it would be best to just delete any of the text that isn't referenced and start again. Discuss.--ClemRutter (talk) 19:03, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

I've added this to my public to-do list, which means that I will get to it in a less-than-timely manner :-). Awickert (talk) 15:24, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Cut the Israeli Makhtesh from the list. The French and Welsh locations will take a bit more work. Vsmith (talk) 16:20, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Hull GeolSoc may be useful
Google this pdf La géologie pour les nuls.Georges Calas
or maybe this in References.p.20
Résumé : "L'évolution du cirque de Navacelles et des gorges de la Vis est
l'image de l'histoire géologique et géomorphologique en général ; à la fois
longue et remarquablement brève. Longue pour ce qui est de l'installation du
cadre rocheux (-160 000 000 à -140 000 000 d'années) ; terriblement courte en ce
qui concerne la mise en place du relief puisque l'abandon et le recoupement du
méandre dans lequel passe la route conduisant à Navacelles a moins de 15000 ans.
La cascade a presque 160 000 000 d'années de moins que la roche dans laquelle
elle est modelée".
Cote : CDLG19853-4.
--ClemRutter (talk) 20:24, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
Heh, my French is limited to a few phrases picked up in Nam - so not much help there. The Hull meeting bit indicates a karst origin for the Cirque de Navacelles. And the glacial origin comment on that article is unsourced. Looking at this site I get a picture of incised fluvial erosion of a carbonate plateau. An incised meander like that just doesn't seem to fit within a glacial cirque environment. So, I'm going to remove that one from the list and place a citation needed in the linked article. Vsmith (talk) 01:10, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
I can see not having French could be a bit of a problem when trying to write about a French word! I am not suggesting you should learn- but a field trip is essential. How about joining me for a glass of wine in Sommieres this August. Navacelles is spectacular, tie that in with Millau Viaduct, the Gorges du Tarn and the Pont d'Arc- stir in a little history at the Pont du Gard and a few birds on the Camargue and youĺl be ready for a second glass.
The article must reflect that the word is ambiguous and there are two form of cirques, if you read back on this page all the comments seem to be skirting round this point. To me, brought up in the north of England, glacial cirques happened in Wales and Scotland and they were called cwms or corries. Yes, they too are ambiguous words but in a different way. A cirque describes a geometric shape, while any valley in welsh is a cwm- it just happened that all the examples of corries in Wales had a name- and the first word in that name was cwm. --ClemRutter (talk) 23:36, 18 January 2010 (UTC)
Hey, I'd love to take you up on that glass of wine and fabulous field trip, sounds fantastic. I've almost been to Cirque de Navacelles already, there's a very similar entrenched cut-off meander about 30 miles from my home (just not quite as spectacular).
But, the article is not about the French word, it is about the geological/glaciological feature - which in scientific English is known as a cirque. The dab links at the top do help with part of the potential confusion, but perhaps a short section on other terms / other uses could be worked in w/out too much distraction. Vsmith (talk) 01:51, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
We need to be bold here- so I have copied the article into a sandbox, where I will have do the evil deed, and pass it over to you to play with when I have finished- but there is a quaint British custom I must do first- 31st January is the deadline for my tax return, miss that and my next posting will be from a tent somewhere above the firn line. --ClemRutter (talk) 12:22, 19 January 2010 (UTC)
We could start the lede by saying "In geomorphology a cirque ...", to make it clear that the article refers to the scientific usage, thus avoiding most of the terminology issues. N.B. I've just completed my tax return, giving me a bit more time to spare here.
I also note that the french article on the Cirque de Navacelles refers to it as a cirque naturel and that page distinguishes three types: 'cirque glaciare', 'cirque volcaniques' and 'méandres encaissés' (entrenched meander). The closest translation for 'cirque naturel' is probably 'natural amphitheatre'. Mikenorton (talk) 12:29, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Seems we should include a short section on terminology starting with rewriting the commented out part of the lede and include the French usages.
Congrats on the tax bit! Vsmith (talk) 14:51, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
Firstly congratulations on submitting your Tax Suduko. Here is a link to my very raw doodlings User:ClemRutter/sandbox/cwm. There do appear to be three types of cirque according to the French academic tradition. All the crater cirques appear to be on the Island of Réunion, so we are left with glacial cirques and incised meanders. It is here I start to have problems with fr:wiki, cirque naturel is unreferenced and reading the lede- it is incorrect French being ambiguous in meaning. [French Navacelles] refers to an incised meander but lacks citations English is better. Googling Navacelle finds assumptions that because it is a cirques it must be glacial! I suspect that is a circular link- to misinformation that we are responsible for publishing.
So I have gathered some citations, and suggest we add a Terminology section, In my sandbox I have added a new diagram, added citations and started to structure a few ideas. Very rough at the moment. I am limited in that I have no access to a university library so am missing modern research. --ClemRutter (talk) 15:05, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
The best source I can find for the 'entrenched meander' origin of the Cirque to Navacelles is the Michelin guide for the area. I guess that we can regard that as a reliable source? Mikenorton (talk) 15:56, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
If you refer back to French Michelin- Gorge du Tarn ISBN 2-06-033702. p19 refers to p171 which gives a description of the geologu of the causses, and from a quick glance it looks as if limestone was bedded on muds which lay on a further layer of limestone. When the incised river cut through the muds it eroded the underlying limesstone by fluvial and/or chemical action. The meanders in the mud undercut the overlaying limestones forming a cirque.
But enough of just one cirque, out task here is to define every cirqueYour Michelin p294 defines a cirque as an incised river valley As we have established that there are other landforms that geomorlogists refer to as cirques, it looks to me if we need to explain.
  • Valley head cirques
  • Hanging cirques
  • Fluvial cirques
  • Karst cirques
  • Erosion cirques that may describe one or both of the two items above
  • Volcanic cirques
  • Cirques from compound methods
If you feel it would help I can copy over the starter from my Cwm sandbox and you professionals can work it up into a FA.--ClemRutter (talk) 20:30, 24 January 2010 (UTC)
[6 months late] From my AGI dictionary, the definition of a cirque is:
  1. A deep steep-walled recess or hollow, horseshoe-shaped or semicircular in plan view, situated high on the side of a mountain and produced by the erosive activity of a mountain glacier. It often contains a small round lake.
  2. [After noting French and Latin etymology]: A term sometimes used for an arm-chair-shaped or ampitheaterlike hollow of nonglacial origin.
As a US geomorphologist, I use "cirque" exclusively for the former definition, "ampitheater" for channel-head and karst features, and genetic terms for scarps on volcanoes. I would never use "cirque" for entrenched meanders, as the processes there are so completely different from glacial overdeepening and channel heads, but it appears that some others do. Anyway, in my experience, the glacial definition is the only en-us definition, and per the dictionary, it is the primary one. But it seems that there are other definitions too. Awickert (talk) 16:20, 13 June 2010 (UTC)

This concern is not new. Already in 1974 the wide usage of the term caused alarm and concern among the geomorphology community. I guess a reading of Geomorphometry and the operational definition of cirques (Ian S. Evans and Nix Cox, published in 1974) might help solve the problem of what is and what is not a cirque. —Chiton (talk) 23:14, 14 July 2012 (UTC)

I see I've weighed in by making a change which may well be controversial. But this is Wikipedia and we work through such contradictions. Let me know what you think by fixing the article or commenting here.

Thanks - Williamborg (Bill) 02:13, 7 September 2012 (UTC)