I want to know the major differences between these two systems.

  • No one pines for sea lochs....
    – user12449
    Jun 27, 2019 at 12:33

2 Answers 2


In short, just the name. Fjord is of Norse origin, loch of Gaelic.

They are the same feature, formed when glaciers debouch into the sea.

In both countries, you'll find varying scales, from a few hundred metres in width to several kilometres.

  • TIL the word debouch: emerge from a narrow area. Of French origin.
    – cobaltduck
    Jun 6, 2019 at 14:37
  • 1
    This is wrong. Maybe the Scottish lochs were made by glaciers, but the fjords were made by Slartibartfast. He even won an award for them.
    – StrongBad
    Jun 27, 2019 at 17:03
  • :-) @StrongBad Jun 27, 2019 at 17:08

Geologically significantly different. Fjords are flooded glacial valleys, and usually have very steep sides. Often the fjord itself is deeper than the ocean beyond it's mouth. Many have very inaccessible shorelines except at the extreme ends.


Loch is used both for lake, and for a confined or protected sea inlet.

Firth is another term, tends to refer to a more open body of water. The use of the terms is not consistent.

  • Do you know a sea loch that isn't a flooded glacial valley? Even Loch Linnhe falls into that category, although its sides are much gentler than many, due to the Great Glen Fault. Jun 26, 2019 at 10:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.