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.

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

Overview

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.

Etymology

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

References

  1. ^ "sound-3". TheFreeDictionary.com. 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

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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

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Øresund

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.

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