One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Crystalline or granular snow, especially on the upper part of a glacier, where it has not yet been compressed into ice.
- ‘About a quarter of that shrinkage, or 7 cm, may have resulted from snow packing down into denser material called firn, says Andrew Shepherd, a glaciologist at the University of Cambridge in England.’
- ‘Combine such dense firn with a daily rhythm of freeze and thaw, and spring avalanche danger is easy to predict and avoid.’
Mid 19th century: from German, from Old High German firni ‘old’; related to Swedish forn ‘former’.
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