A state park I recently visited triggered the idea for a theme about the geology related to glaciers.
esker – a long winding ridge of sediment (often resembles a railroad embankment) deposited by meltwater streams under a retreating glacier
[Irish eiscir. Here’s another picture.]
– Jean M. Auel, The Mammoth Hunters
cirque – a bowl-shaped hollow (like an amphitheater), at the upper end of a mountain valley, esp. one an the head of a glacier or stream.
– Edward Abbey, Down the River
[Edited to correct typo.]This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
Do you mean Welsh cwm "valley"? This seems to be the source of English coomb, and it's cognate with hump .
I also think it should be cwm. And, in regard to the lack of vowels, we Welshmen get along famously without 'em, thanks very much!
in regard to the lack of vowels, we Welshmen get along famously without 'em, thanks very much!
Welsh, like most languages, has a number of vowels (link): their number vary depending on the dialect. Orthographic w is IPA /uː/. There's a difference between the number of vowels a language has, a measurable quantity, and how those vowels are represented or not (cf. Hebrew,which orthography does not traditionally mark vowels).
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
oops! typo. It should of course have been cwm, not cwn..
kame – a conical hill of water-rounded sand or small stones, deposited by glacial meltwater
Pronounced like came, the past tense of to come. Our quote is a continuation of yesterday’s quote.
– Edward Abbey, Down the River
drumlin – an elongated hill, often tear-shaped, formed by moving glacier ice – the blunt end faces into the glacier (contrast kame, formed by meltwater). Common in Ireland, southern Wisconsin, New England, and parts of upstate New York.
A famous drumlin is Breed’s Hill in Boston, site of a famous battle in the American Revolutionary War. (It is misnamed as the Battle of Bunker Hill, because American colonel Prescott had planned to set his defenses there, but later decided that Breed’s Hill would be more defensible. It was here, by the way, that he gave the command, "Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes.")
– Jon Krakauer, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (ellipses omitted)
Today’s picture will make clear why today’s word comes from French for ‘cottage cheese’! [Compare serum, which means ‘a watery fluid’ – like the whey of cottage cheese.]
sérac; serac – a pinnacle or sharp ridge of ice, among the crevasses of a glacier
(crevasse – a deep fissure or chasm)
Our quotes give a literal usage, plus a nice figurative one from Lawrence of Arabia.
– Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild
About [the sand flat], in scattered confusion, sat small islands and pinnacles of red sandstone, grouped like seracs, wind-eroded at the bases till they looked very fit to fall and block the road; which wound in and out between them, through narrows seeming to give no passage, but always opening into another bay of blind alleys. Through this maze Auda led us unhesitatingly.
– T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph
I was pleased to see the additional picture referenced for esker was taken by Bill Shilts, a respected expert in glacial geology. It has been such fun to read and see photos of this week's words, in a field I concentrated in during my Masters studies in geology.
fjord – a long, narrow arm of the sea, running up between high banks or cliffs. Glacially eroded.
Fjords can be strikingly beautiful. Common in Norway. Alaskan fjords can exceed 100 miles long and 5 miles wide.
An orphaned mountain goat kid is tugging at the heartstrings of a boat crew. Only three weeks old, the pure white kid with black button eyes isn't yet weaned so it hadn't eaten since Friday, when its mother drowned in the sea. It is likely to die from dehydration. The goat can't escape its predicament because the terrain in the fjord is too steep, Weber said. "This little guy is either going to die in place there or it's going to get rescued."
– Juneau (Alaska) Explorer, June 2, 2008
Today’s paper reports that the kid made it and is recovering in the zoo, “bright, alert and responsive”.
Recall that a cirque is “a bowl-shaped hollow like an amphitheater, at the upper end of a mountain valley”.
tarn – a lake that develops in the basin of a cirque (more generally, a small mountain lake)
I prefer to quote modern usages, but this older one from Poe is too delicious to pass up.
– Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher