Tarn (lake)

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Glacial action forming a cirque which may host a tarn

A tarn (or corrie loch) is a mountain lake, pond or pool, formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier. A moraine may form a natural dam below a tarn.[1]


Verdi Lake in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada

The word is derived from the Old Norse word tjörn meaning pond. Its more specific use as a mountain lake emerges as it is the commonly used term for all ponds in the upland areas of Northern England. Here, it retains a broader use, referring to any small lake or pond, regardless of its location and origin (e.g. Talkin Tarn).[2]

In Scandinavian languages, a tjern or tjärn, tärn or tjørn is a small natural lake, often in a forest or with vegetation closely surrounding it or growing into the tarn.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Illustrated Glossary of Alpine Glacial Landforms". Archived from the original on 2007-08-11. Retrieved 2007-08-05.
  2. ^ "Fresh Water Tarns". Cumbria Wildlife Trust. Archived from the original on 2007-06-27. Retrieved 2007-08-05.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Tarn (lake) at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of tarn at Wiktionary