Sound (geography)

In geography, a sound is a large sea or ocean inlet, deeper than a bight and wider than a fjord; or a narrow sea or ocean channel between two bodies of land (see also strait).[1][2]

There is little consistency in the use of "sound" in English-language place names.

The Aldersund in Helgeland, Norway separates the island of Aldra (left side) from the continent


Oresund from helsingborg
View over the Øresund (English: The Sound), from Helsingborg, Sweden

A sound is often formed by the seas flooding a river valley. This produces a long inlet where the sloping valley hillsides descend to sea-level and continue beneath the water to form a sloping sea floor. The Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand are a good example of this type of formation.

Sometimes a sound is produced by a glacier carving out a valley on a coast then receding, or the sea invading a glacier valley. The glacier produces a sound that often has steep, near vertical sides that extend deep under water. The sea floor is often flat and deeper at the landward end than the seaward end, due to glacial moraine deposits. This type of sound is more properly termed a fjord (or fiord). The sounds in Fiordland, New Zealand, have been formed this way.

A sound generally connotes a protected anchorage. They can be part of most large islands.

In the more general northern European usage, a sound is a strait or the most narrow part of a strait. In Scandinavia and around the Baltic Sea, there are more than a hundred straits named Sund, mostly named for the island they separate from the continent or a larger island.

In contrast, the Sound is the internationally recognized,[3] short name for the Øresund, the narrow stretch of water that separates Denmark and Sweden, and is the main waterway between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. It is also a colloquial short name, among others, for Plymouth Sound, England.

In areas explored by the British in the late 18th Century, particularly the northwest coast of North America, the term "sound" was applied to inlets containing large islands, such as Howe Sound in Vancouver and Puget Sound in Washington State. It was also applied to bodies of open water not fully open to the ocean, such as Caamaño Sound or Queen Charlotte Sound in Canada, or broadenings or mergings at the openings of inlets, like Cross Sound in Alaska and Fitz Hugh Sound in British Columbia.

In the United States, Long Island Sound separates Long Island from the eastern shores of the Bronx, Westchester County, and southern Connecticut, but on the Atlantic Ocean side of Long Island, the body of water between Long Island and its barrier beaches is termed the Great South Bay. Pamlico Sound is a similar lagoon that lies between North Carolina and its barrier beaches, the Outer Banks, in a similar situation. The Mississippi Sound separates the Gulf of Mexico from the mainland, along much of the gulf coasts of Alabama and Mississippi. On the West Coast, Puget Sound, by contrast, is a deep arm of the ocean.


The term sound is derived from the Anglo-Saxon or Old Norse word sund, which also means "swimming".[2]

The word sund is already documented in Old Norse and Old English as meaning "gap" (or "narrow access"). This suggests a relation to verbs meaning "to separate", such as absondern and aussondern (German), söndra (Swedish), sondre (Norwegian), as well as the English noun sin, German Sünde ("apart from God's law"), and Swedish synd. English has also the adjective "asunder" and the noun "sundry', and Swedish has the adjective sönder ("broken").

In Swedish and in both Norwegian languages, "sund" is the general term for any strait. In Swedish and Nynorsk, it is even part of names worldwide, such as in Swedish "Berings sund" and "Gibraltar sund", and in Nynorsk "Beringsundet" and "Gibraltarsundet".

Puget Sound, as seen from the Space Needle
Puget Sound, as seen from the Space Needle


  1. ^ "sound-3". Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  2. ^ a b "sound-4". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Baltic Straits". Chapter 2.3: International straits and canals. UNESCO Maritime Law. Retrieved 3 March 2013.

External links

Media related to Sounds (geography) at Wikimedia Commons

Birdsview, Washington

Birdsview is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, in the U.S. state of Washington.

Cascadia Marine Trail

The Cascadia Marine Trail is a 150-mile (240 km) water trail on Puget Sound.Created in 1993, it is designated as one of the 16 National Millennium Trails and suitable for day or multi-day trips. It has over 50 campsites to visit. People can boat to the campsites from many public and private launch sites or shoreline trailheads. In 1994, it was designated a National Recreation Trail.

Dewey, Skagit County, Washington

Dewey (also Gibraltar) is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, Washington, United States.

Fidalgo, Washington

Fidalgo is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, in the U.S. state of Washington.

Fidalgo Island

Fidalgo Island is an island in Skagit County, Washington, located about 60 mi (97 km) north of Seattle. To the east, it is separated from the mainland by the Swinomish Channel, and from Whidbey Island to the south by Deception Pass. The island is named after the Spanish explorer and cartographer Salvador Fidalgo who explored the area in 1790.

Its largest city is Anacortes with a population of 15,778 according to the 2010 Census. Ferries leave daily from Anacortes to Sidney, British Columbia, and several ports in the San Juan Islands.

Gibraltar, Washington

Gilbraltar (also Gibralter) is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, Washington, United States. It lies on the west shore of Similk Bay.

Indian Island, Washington

Indian Island is an Unincorporated community in Jefferson County, Washington, United States. The whole island is covered by the Marrowstone CDP. It is located between Port Townsend Bay and Kilisut Harbor. Parts also border on Oak Bay and Scow Bay. Until the construction of the Port Townsend Ship Canal (also known as Portage Canal) Indian Island was connected to the mainland by a broad sand flat and backshore marsh. Indian Island is the location of the Indian Island Naval Reserve, which covers the entire island. No civilian residences are allowed on Indian Island. Indian Island is attached to Marrowstone Island, and is often grouped with it. Indian Island is served by the ZIP code for Nordland. The entire island has a land area of 11.28 km² (4.3553 sq mi) and a population of 44 persons as of the 2000 census.

Ink Blot Natural Area Preserve

Ink Blot Natural Area Preserve is a Washington state Natural Area Preserve located in Mason County. The preserve totals 153 acres (62 ha), mostly wetlands and Sphagnum bogs in three parallel glacier-formed basins.The preserve was created in 2010 with a purchase by the State of Washington from a private landowner.

Minkler, Washington

Minkler is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, in the U.S. state of Washington.

Prairie, Washington

Prairie is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, in the U.S. state of Washington.

Samish Island, Washington

Samish Island is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, Washington, United States. It lies on an island 48°34′25″N 122°31′48″W with the same name, which is located off the northwest coast of the Washington mainland. It is connected to the mainland by land reclaimed through a system of dikes created in the early 20th century.

Samish Island was part of the ancestral homelands of, and was named after, the Samish Indians, a Coast Salish tribe of the Pacific Northwest.

Skagit Valley

The Skagit Valley lies in the northwestern corner of the state of Washington, United States. Its defining feature is the Skagit River, which snakes through local communities which include the seat of Skagit County, Mount Vernon, as well as Sedro-Woolley, Concrete, Lyman-Hamilton, and Burlington.

The local newspaper is Skagit Valley Herald, published in Mount Vernon, Washington.

Between 1967 and 1983, there was a plan by Puget Sound Power and Light Co. to build two nuclear power plants in Skagit Valley, but due to controversy, these plans were shelved.

Sterling, Washington

Sterling is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, in the U.S. state of Washington.

Thornwood, Washington

Thornwood is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, in the U.S. state of Washington.

Urban, Washington

Urban is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, in the U.S. state of Washington.

Van Horn, Washington

Van Horn is an unincorporated community in Skagit County, in the U.S. state of Washington.

Washington Islands Wilderness

Washington Islands Wilderness is a protected area consisting of more than 600 islands, rocks, and reefs belonging to the three Washington Islands National Wildlife Refuges in Washington state. Although the land base is only about 1.8 square kilometres (0.69 sq mi), the total protected area covers over 780 square kilometres (300 sq mi).Washington Islands Wilderness comprises the Flattery Rocks, Quillayute Needles (except for Destruction Island), and Copalis National Wildlife Refuges. This includes all of the islands, rocks, and reefs along 100 miles (160 km) of the northwest Washington Pacific coast with the exception of Tatoosh Island, James Island, and Destruction Island.Dozens of bird species breed on the wilderness's islands thousands of migratory birds use them as rest stops. Other wildlife that can be seen include sea lions, harbor seals, and otters. The entire wilderness is closed to public entry in order to protect the wildlife. Boats are also requested to maintain a 200-yard (180 m) buffer, and aircraft are requested to maintain 2,000 feet (610 m) above the islands.

Whitney, Washington

Whitney is an extinct town in Skagit County, in the U.S. state of Washington. The GNIS classifies it as a populated place.Whitney was originally called Padilla, and under the latter name was platted in 1882. A post office called Padilla was established in 1885, and remained in operation until 1914.


Øresund or Öresund (UK: , US: ; Danish: Øresund [ˈøːɐsɔnˀ]; Swedish: Öresund [œrɛˈsɵnːd]), commonly known in English as the Sound, is a strait which forms the Danish–Swedish border, separating Zealand (Denmark) from Scania (Sweden). The strait has a length of 118 kilometres (73 mi) and the width varies from 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) to 28 kilometres (17 mi). It is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) wide at its narrowest point between Helsingør in Denmark and Helsingborg in Sweden.

Øresund is along with the Great Belt, Little Belt and Kiel Canal one of four waterways that connects the Baltic Sea to the Atlantic Ocean via Kattegat, Skagerrak, and the North Sea, and is one of the busiest waterways in the world.The Øresund Bridge, between the Danish capital Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö, inaugurated on 1 July 2000, connects a bi-national metropolitan area with close to 4 million inhabitants. The HH Ferry route, between Helsingør, Denmark and Helsingborg, Sweden, in the northern part of Øresund, is one of the world's busiest international ferry routes with more than 70 departures from each harbour per day.Øresund is a geologically young strait that formed 8500–8000 years ago as a result of rising sea levels. Previously the Ancylus Lake, a fresh-water body occupying the Baltic basin, had been connected to the sea solely by the Great Belt. As such the entrance of salt water by Øresund marked the beginning of the modern Baltic Sea as a salt-water sea.



This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.