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What is Tarn?

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You must have noticed or seen some lakes in the mountains which have been formed because of the melting of the glaciers. Lakes are generally found in any type of environment and all parts of the world. Here, in this article, we will be talking about a type of lake that is considered a small mountain lake or tarn. It is also known as Corrie loch. This article will help you to understand one of the types of lakes or one of the important geographical features. It will be helpful in Geography, Earth Sciences, Geology, Geomorphology and Physical Geography.


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Introduction

A body of water that is surrounded by land is called a lake. It is not a part of the ocean. Most of the lakes are browsed and drained by the rivers and streams. There are many lakes which are found in the world. They are found on every continent and in every type of environment. They are generally found in mountains, deserts, on plains, and near seashores. The still bodies of water are lake as compared to the river where the water flows. Lakes are generally deeper than ponds and have a large surface area. They can contain salt and freshwater. They are larger than the ponds. 

There are different kinds of lakes found in the world. It is classified on the basis of its origin and mode of formation. The different kinds of lakes are organic lakes, volcanic lakes, glacial lakes, Tectonic lakes, fluvial lakes, Landslide lakes, Solution Lakes, Aeolian lakes, Shoreline lakes, Anthropogenic lakes, Meteorite lakes. Out of these, we came to know about the " Tarn" which is a type of glacial lake.


Formation of Lake

The lakes are formed by erosion. When the glaciers melted, water-filled the hollows, which formed the lake. Glaciers carved deep valleys and deposited high amounts of earth, pebbles and boulders as they melted. These materials sometimes formed dams that have water and formed more lakes.


Tarn Meaning

Tarn means a small mountain lake in a hollow area surrounded by steep slopes formed by a glacier. The word tarn comes from the old Norse tjorn which means "small mountain lake with no tributaries." It is a proglacial mountain lake which is formed in a cirque excavated by a glacier. It is found in corries which are the result of erosion of glaciers. After the glaciers have melted, it leaves behind circular hollows in the heads of the valleys up in the mountains. Such hollows are arm chaired shaped cirques and corries. The water collects on the floor of the cirques to form the tarn lakes. Both corries and tarns are typically located in higher topographies to match their glacial origins.


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Definition

The word tarn is derived from the old Norse word tjorn which means a small mountain lake with no tributaries. Tarn is a small mountain lake which is set in a glaciated steep-walled amphitheatre known as a cirque. A cirque is formed by ice and indicates the head of a glacier. Some of the cirques are so furbished that a lake formed in the base of the cirque after the ice has melted. These are called tarn.

  • "It is a small steep-banked mountain lake or pool." - Merriam-Webster

  • "It is a small mountain lake in a hollow area surrounded by steep slopes formed by a glacier." - Cambridge dictionary.

  • "A tarn is a small lake in an area of mountains." - Collins dictionary.


Features

There are some features of the tarn

  • Tarn is lakes that are formed in glacially carved cirques.

  • They are obstructed by moraines below a tarn.

  • Tarns are often full of tiny, glacially-ground sediment that pass the light and make the watercolour.

  • They are found in mountainous areas.

  • The highest tarns of the world are found in Snowdonia, Lake District and Scotland.


Examples 

Some of the famous examples of tarn are mentioned below:

  • Lake Tear of the Clouds, Adirondack Mountains, New York.

  • Veľké Hincovo, a tarn in Slovakia 

  • Lousy Lake (tarn) in North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA

  • Lakes of the Clouds, below Mount Washington in the White Mountains

  • Banderishka Chukar seen from the Banderishka Lakes (tarns), Pirin Mountain, Bulgaria

  • Gergiysko lake (tarn), Pirin Mountain, Bulgaria

  • The Dreadful Lake (tarn), Rila Mountain, Bulgaria

  • The Seven Rila Lakes (tarns), Rila Mountain, Bulgaria

  • Marichini lakes (tarns), Rila Mountain, Bulgaria

  • Sea Lion Tarn on Livingston Island in Antarctica


Conclusion

To conclude, we can say that tarn is nothing but a type of small mountain lake which is surrounded by steep slopes that are formed by a glacier. The word tarn comes from the old Norse tjorn which means "small mountain lake with no tributaries." It is a proglacial mountain which is formed in a circle and excavated by glaciers. A bowl-shaped feature in the centre of the glacier is called cirque which is formed by ice and indicates the head of the mountains. Here, we have learned tarn meaning, definition, basics of lakes or formation of lakes, famous examples of the tarn, etc. All these things will help you to learn one of the important geographical features of the Earth. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are Tarns? How is it Formed?

Answer. Tarns are known as small mountain lakes which are surrounded by steep slopes which are formed by glaciers and are found in corries that are formed by glacial erosion. These types of lakes are found at the high elevation where when the glaciers have melted, water collects in the floor of the corries which leads to the formation of lakes or tarns. The tarns or corries are typically and generally located in higher topographies. 

2. Where Lakes are Found?

Answer. A lake is a body of water that is surrounded by land. There are many lakes in the world. They are found on every continent and in every kind of environment. They are generally found in mountains, deserts, plains, and near seashores. If we talk about tarns, they are found in the mountains at high elevations.