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More North Cascades trivia


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technically, a "tarn" is a lake in an alpine cirque rolleyes.gif


I think klenke means is it a pond or a lake.


i think it would have to be permanent water feature to be counted. lakes which drain away or change shape or only form during summer snowmelt or periodic ice-surface features should not count.



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Dru, that's why I put the third option in the poll ("It is a tarn AND a lake"). My Unabridged Random House dictionary, which is by no means definitive since other dictionaries may say something else, defines as follows:


'tarn: a small moutain lake or pool, esp. one in a cirque.' My Abridged Webster's says, 'a small steep-banked mountain lake or pool.' This second definition sort of jives with Forrest's comment.


Meanwhile, Random House says a lake is 'a body of fresh or salt water of considerable size, surrounded by land.' My Webster's says pretty much the same thing. Now what is considered considerable is what remains subjective.


In terms of defining the highest lake in the state, one might wish to qualify with "highest lake that has an official name." Clearly, this lake (so called "Cardinal Lake" but probably not officially) is not a named lake on a map. If it is, it shouldn't be.

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a tarn is a lake but a lake is not necessarily a tarn- the dictionary on the web is vague as I guess one would be for a printed version.


The key seems to be-" especially one formed by glaciers."


But if snow melted inside a crevasse it could also fit that definition. It requires more thought than a dictionary...








tarn ( P ) Pronunciation Key (tärn)


A small mountain lake, especially one formed by glaciers.




[Middle English tarne, of Scandinavian origin.]





lake1 ( P ) Pronunciation Key (lk)


A large inland body of fresh water or salt water.

A scenic pond, as in a park.

A large pool of liquid: a lake of spilled coffee on my desk.



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Dru said:

if it's not in a cirque - it's not a tarn


that's what my geomorphology textbook says fruit.gif


This includes more probababilities to the definition. But then is cirque an easy definition? I think so.


cirque ( P ) Pronunciation Key (sûrk)


A steep bowl-shaped hollow occurring at the upper end of a mountain valley, especially one forming the head of a glacier or stream. Also called cwm.



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I'll give it a try:


tarn- a small body of water that forms a pond or small lake normally in a cirque and often below or at a glacier sublimation zone; annually or regularly (sometimes seemingly permanent to a human's experience); often referred to as an analogy of this sort usually above or near timberline.

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Limnologist, You learn something new every day. I'm not very educated but I'll have a crack at it. I still think that's a lake on Rainier. I found these on the web;


Limnologist study the 'physics and chemistry of the water and the biology of plants and animals in it'


The scientific study of the 'life and phenomena of fresh water', especially lakes and ponds


A limnologist is a person who studies 'inland waters'


It seems like a Geologist would know all about holes in the ground and a Limnologist would know all about the water that's in them. If I wanted to know the difference between a fjord, inlet, bay or sound I'd want to ask a geologist not an oceanographer, right? Many of you folks spent good money for what you know so I'm all ears {so to speak}. Now I'm curious. I think it’s worth a trip up there next summer to go exploring.


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Okay, for vulcanology considerations:


What lake in the North Cascades is believed to be the site of a former ancient stratovolcano long since eroded away? This volcano is associated with the Monte Cristo volcanics and was in its heyday between 36 and 25 million years ago.


Harry: you can't respond right away because you know the answer first-hand.

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I think Cavey has it right in reference to common usage.


Usually a tarn is in a cirque, but there are a lot of small bodies of water that are up high, but not ensconced in stone, that are known as tarns. They are a result of runoff, no doubt, but may have a veggie shoreline and/or a bottom comprised of dirt.


They are usually not the best tarns, but they are too small to be lakes, and too clean to be ponds.

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Back on topic....


Here is a photo i took today. Digital, cropped from larger image, not all that good but you can see the unclimbed E faces of Moxes, Spickard and the SE buttress of Peak 8800 and the unclimbed NE face of Rahm... hope to try the latter this winter or spring if conditions permit... i could see a white line bottom to top today. cool.gif



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