Waterfalls are usually a geological formation resulting from water, often in the form of a stream, flowing over an erosion-resistant rock formation that forms a sudden break in elevation or nickpoint.
Some waterfalls form in mountain environments where the erosive water force is high and stream courses may be subject to sudden and catastrophic change. In such cases, the waterfall may not be the end product of many years of water action over a region, but rather the result of relatively sudden geological processes such as landslides, faults or volcanic action.
Waterfalls may also be artificial, and they are sometimes created as garden and landscape ornaments.
Formation of Waterfalls:
Typically, a river flows over a large step in the rocks which may have been formed by a fault line. Over a period of years, the edges of this shelf will gradually break away and the waterfall will steadily retreat upstream, creating a gorge of recession. Often, the rock stratum just below the more resistant shelf will be of a softer type, meaning undercutting, due to splashback, will occur here to form a shallow cave-like formation known as a rock shelter or plunge pool under and behind the waterfall. Eventually, the outcropping, more resistant cap rock will collapse under pressure to add blocks of rock to the base of the waterfall. These blocks of rock are then broken down into smaller boulders by attrition as they collide with each other, and they also erode the base of the waterfall by abrasion, creating a deep plunge pool or gorge. Streams become wider and more shallow just above waterfalls due to flowing over the rock shelf, and there is usually a deep pool just below the waterfall because of the kinetic energy of the water hitting the bottom. Waterfalls can occur along the edge of glacial trough, whereby a stream or river flowing into a glacier continues to flow into a valley after the glacier has receded or melted. The large waterfalls in Yosemite Valley are examples of this phenomenon. The rivers are flowing from hanging valleys.
Waterfalls are grouped into 10 broad classes based on the average volume of water present on the fall using a logarithmic scale. Class 10 waterfalls include Niagara Falls, Paulo Alfonso Falls and Khone Falls. Classes of other well known waterfalls include; Victoria Falls and Kaieteur Falls (Class 9); Rhine Falls, Gullfoss and Sutherland Falls (Class 8); Angel Falls and Dettifoss (Class 7); Yosemite Falls and Lower Yellowstone Falls and Umphang Thee Lor Sue Water Fall Thailand(Class 6).
Types of waterfalls:
Havasu Falls, near Supai, Arizona, is an example of a plunge waterfall
Dark Hollow Falls, near Skyline Drive, Virginia, is an example of cascade waterfall
Powerscourt Waterfall, near Enniskerry, Wicklow County, Ireland, is an example of a horsetail waterfall
Kakadu National ParkBlock: Water descends from a relatively wide stream or river.
Cascade: Water descends a series of rock steps.
Fan: Water spreads horizontally as it descends while remaining in contact with bedrock.
Horsetail: Descending water maintains some contact with bedrock.
Plunge: Water descends vertically, losing contact with the bedrock surface.
Punchbowl: Water descends in a constricted form, then spreads out in a wider pool.
Segmented: Distinctly separate flows of water form as it descends.
Tiered:Water drops in a series of distinct steps or falls.
Multi-step: A series of waterfalls one after another of roughly the same size each with its own sunken plunge pool.
Angel Falls, the world's highest at 979 metres (3212 feet), in Venezuela. It is located in the Canaima National Park, in the Gran Sabana region of Bolivar State, Venezuela at 5°58'03?N, 62°32'08?WCoordinates: 5°58'03?N, 62°32'08?W . The height of the falls is so great that before getting anywhere near the ground, the water is buffeted by the strong winds and turned into mist. The base of the falls feeds into the Kerep river (alternately known as the Rio Gauya) which flows into the Churun River, a tributary of the Carrao River. In the indigenous Pemon language Angel Falls is called Kerepakupai merú meaning "waterfall of the deepest place".
Bridalveil Fall, California - 189 m (620 ft) high: sheer drop when flowing. Bridalveil Fall is one of the most prominent waterfalls in the Yosemite Valley in California, seen yearly by millions of visitors to Yosemite National Park. Bridalveil Fall flows from a U-shaped hanging valley that was created by a tributary glacier.Bridalveil Fall is 620 feet (188 m) tall and flows year round. The glaciers that carved Yosemite Valley left many hanging valleys which spawned the waterfalls that pour into the valley. All of the waterways that fed these falls carved the hanging valleys into steep cascades with the exception of Bridalveil Fall. Bridalveil still leaps into the valley from the edge of precipice, although that edge has moved back into an alcove from the original edge of the valley. Note that while Yosemite Falls seem to also fall into this category, the original course took the Yosemite Creek down a gorge to the west of its current location. The primary source of Bridalveil Falls is Ostrander Lake, some 10 miles to the south.
Cascata delle Marmore in Italy is the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. The Cascata delle Marmore (Marmore's Falls) is a man-made waterfall created by the ancient Romans. Its total height is 165 m (541 feet), making it one of the tallest in Europe and the tallest man-made waterfall in the world. Of its 3 sections, the top one is the tallest, at 83 m (272 feet). It is located 7.7 km from Terni, a provincial capital of the Italian region of Umbria. Its source is a portion of the waters of the river Velino (the rest of the river flows into a hydroelectric power plant), after flowing through Piediluco lake near the community of Marmore. It pours into the valley below formed by the river Nera. Its flow is turned on and off according to a published schedule, to satisfy the needs of tourists and the power company alike. Tourists try to be there the moment the gates are opened to see the sudden, powerful rush of water.
Cautley Spout at 175 m (580 ft) is the highest waterfall in England. Cautley Spout is England's highest waterfall above ground. The broken cascade of falls tumbles 580 feet (175 m) down a cliff face at the head of a wild and bleak glacial valley that comes down from a high plateau called The Calf. It is located in the Howgill Fells, traditionally in the West Riding of Yorkshire but now in Cumbria on the western edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The waterfall is just north of the small town of Sedbergh. This fall is one of the few cascade falls in England; most are either tiered or plunge falls.
Eas a' Chual Aluinn at 200 m (658 ft) is the highest waterfall in Scotland and also the United Kingdom. The waterfall can be reached by a two mile walk across boggy ground from the road three miles south of Kylesku in Sutherland, Scotland. In good weather, a boat-trip runs from the slipway by the Kylesku Hotel to Loch Beag, from where the waterfall is visible.
Gocta, the fifth-highest in the world at 771 m (2533 ft), located in the province Chachapoyas, Peru. The Gocta Waterfall (Spanish: Catarata del Gocta), a waterfall with two drops, has been known for centuries to the local residents in Peru's province of Chachapoyas in Amazonas, which is approximately 700 kilometers to the north-east of Lima. Its existence was made public following an expedition in 2005 by German Stefan Ziemendorff with a group of Peruvian explorers.
Kaieteur Falls, (Potaro River in central Guyana) located in the Kaieteur National Park, a region that is also claimed by Venezuela. It is 226 m (741 ft). Kaieteur Falls is a waterfall on the Potaro River in central Guyana. It is located in Kaieteur National Park. It is 226 meters (741 feet) when measured from its plunge over a sandstone cliff to the first break. It then flows over a series of steep cascades that, when included in the measurements, bring the total height to 251 meters (822 feet).
High Force on the River Tees is one of the tallest waterfalls in England. High Force was formed where the River Tees crosses the Whin Sill - the rock system followed by Hadrian's Wall. The waterfall itself consists of two different types of rock. The upper band is made up of whinstone, a hard rock which the waterfall takes a lot of time to erode. The lower section is made up of carboniferous limestone, a softer rock which is more easily worn away by the waterfall. The wearing away of rock means that the waterfall is slowly moving upstream, leaving a narrow, deep gorge in front of it.
Huangguoshu Waterfall in Anshun, Guizhou, China, the largest waterfall in Asia.
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Iguazu Falls, a tall and extremely wide fall located in South America on the Argentina/Brazil border. Are waterfalls of the Iguazu River located on the border of the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentine province of Misiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu.
Jog Falls, India's eighth-highest (listed as 314 ranking on the World Waterfall Database), located in Karnataka state, India. Created by the Sharavathi River falling from a height of 253 meters (829 ft) is the highest plunge waterfall in India and the 7th deepest in the world. Located in Shimoga District of Karnataka state, these segmented falls are a major tourist attraction. It is also called by alternative names of Gerusoppe falls, Gersoppa Falls and Jogada Gundi.
Jurong Falls in Singapore is the tallest artificial waterfall in Asia. Jurong Falls is the tallest continuously running artificial waterfall in the world, at 30 metres (100 feet) tall. The falls are located within the open-access Waterfall Aviary at the Jurong Bird Park in Singapore. Water plunges over the top of a towering cliff at a rate of 140 litres (31 imp gal) per second. The water is recirculated through a meandering stream, that cascades down over a series of levels, creating an ideal environment for water birds, fishes, plants and other lifeforms at the aviary. Designed with a rainforest landscape, the Waterfall Aviary is a 20,000 square metre walk-in aviary, the largest in the world, that houses some 1,500 free-flying birds from 80 African species and 10,000 plants with 125 species of trees, bamboo, palms and ground-cover vegetation. Two observation posts at the top of the waterfall offer visitors panoramic views of the aviary.
Multnomah Falls: 611 feet (186 m) high 30ft wide. Multnomah Falls is a waterfall on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, located east of Troutdale, between Corbett and Dodson, along the Historic Columbia River Highway. The falls drops in two major steps, split into an upper falls of 542 feet (165 m) and a lower falls of 69 feet (21 m), with a gradual 9 foot (3 m) drop in elevation between the two, so the total height of the waterfall is conventionally given as 620 feet (189 m). Multnomah Falls is the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States after Yosemite Falls.
Niagara Falls is the most powerful falls in North America. Niagara Falls (French: les Chutes du Niagara) are massive waterfalls on the Niagara River, straddling the international border separating the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. The falls are 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York, 75 miles (120 km) south-southeast of Toronto, Ontario, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York. Niagara Falls is composed of two major sections separated by Goat Island: Horseshoe Falls, on the Canadian side of the border and American Falls on the United States side. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls also is located on the American side, separated from the main falls by Luna Island. Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last ice age), and water from the newly-formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment en route to the Atlantic Ocean. While not exceptionally high, the Niagara Falls are very wide. More than six million cubic feet (168,000 m³) of water fall over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost 4 million cubic feet (110,000 m³) on average. It is the most powerful waterfall in North America. The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Managing the balance between recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 1800s
Ramnefjellsfossen, the world's third-highest at 808 m (2685 ft), at Stryn, Nesdalen, Norway. The falls, which are located in the county of Sogn og Fjordane at the township of Stryn, Nesdalen in Norway, are fed by the Jostedal Glacier. They are easily reached by boat, sea plane or road. A campsite is located within hiking distance of the base of the falls.
Rhine Falls, Europe's largest, located in Switzerland. The Rhine Falls were formed in the last ice age, approximately 14,000 to 17,000 years ago, by erosion- resistant rocks narrowing the riverbed.
Tugela Falls, the world's second-highest at 947 m (3110 ft), in KwaZulu-Natal province, Republic of South Africa. Tugela Falls is the world's second highest waterfall. The total drop in five free-leaping falls is 3,110 feet (947 meters). They are located in the Drakensberg (Dragon's Mountains) in the Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Republic of South Africa. They are easily viewed after a heavy rain from the main travel road into the park, glistening from the reflection of the late afternoon sun. The source of the Tugela River (Zulu for 'sudden') is at Mont-Aux-Sources several kilometers from the escarpment from which the falls drop. The water is pure and safe to drink above the falls.
Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world, over a mile long and located on the Zambezi river on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) is a waterfall situated in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The falls are, by some measures, the largest waterfall in the world, as well as being among the most unusual in form, and having arguably the most diverse and easily seen wildlife of any major waterfall site.
Yosemite Falls, the second tallest in North America at 2,425 feet, is located in Yosemite National Park, United States. Yosemite Falls is the highest measured waterfall in North America. Located in Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, it is a major attraction in the park, especially in late spring when the water flow is at its peak.
Yumbilla falls, worlds 5th tallest waterfall, located in Peru. This is a tiered waterfall and has four distinct drops, meaning that its total drop of 896 meters is split into four distinct steps.
Krimmler Falls, Europe's tallest waterfalls, height: 390 m, located in Krimml, Salzburg, Austria. The Krimmler Wasserfälle, with a total height of 380 meters (1,247 feet), is the highest waterfall in Europe. It is located near the village of Krimml in Austria, in the Hohe Tauern National Park. The waterfall begins at the Krimmler Ache at the top of the Krimmler Achendal, and plunges downward in three stages. The next stage is the Krimml in Salzach, after which the fall flows to the Inn and flows into the Danube River and finally to the Black Sea. The upper stage has a drop of 140 meters, the middle of 100 meters, and the lowest a drop of 140 meters.
ShirAbad Waterfall, Iran, Golestan, Khanbebin, shirabad. The Shirabad Waterfall is a waterfall in the northern Iranian village of Shirabad. It is 7 kilometers south of Khanbebin, in the Fenderesk district of Golestan Province and in the slopes of the Alborz mountains in a forested area. This waterfall is in the form of a stairway and includes 12 large and small waterfalls. Its largest waterfall is 30 meters high and its Plunge Pool is 40-80 meters deep.
Waihilau Falls, the tallest waterfalls in the United States at 2,600 feet (792 meters), is located in the Waimanu Valley, Hawaii, United States.
Colonial Creek Falls, the tallest waterfalls in North America at 2,584 feet (788 meters), is located in the North Cascades National Park, Washington, United States.
Hannoki Falls, the tallest waterfalls in Asia at 1,640 feet (500 meters), is located in Tateyama. Hannoki Falls, in Toyama Prefecture, Japan, is the tallest waterfall in Japan at a height of 497 m (1,640 feet). However, it only has water from April to July when the snow covering the Midagahara plateau melts.
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