A waterfall is a place where water, especially from a river or stream, flows over the edge of a cliff or mountain. Sometimes they occur when ice melts. Ephemeral waterfalls only flow after rainfall or a significant snowmelt.
Waterfalls are interesting natural phenomena as they vary greatly in width and depth.
Sand and stones carried by the watercourse increase erosion capacity, which causes the waterfall to carve deeper into the bed and to recede upstream. The waterfall might eventually recede back to form a canyon or gorge downstream as it recedes upstream.
If there is softer rock below the more resistant shelf, a shallow cave will be formed under and behind the waterfall and a deep plunge pool will eventually be created in the gorge downstream.
Waterfalls can be grouped into ten classes based on the average volume of water on the fall (which depends on both flow and height). Niagara Falls is an example of Class 10 waterfalls.
These are just a few of the many types of waterfalls:
– Ledge waterfall: Water descends vertically over a vertical cliff, maintaining partial contact with the bedrock.
– Plunge: Fast moving water descends vertically, losing complete contact with the bedrock surface. It always starts from a narrow stream.
– Horsetail: Descending water maintains contact with bedrock most of the time.
– Cascade: Water descends a series of rock steps.
– Cataract: A large, powerful waterfall.
– Frozen: Any waterfall which has some element of ice or snow.
And here is a short list of some of the most famous waterfalls:
– Angel Falls (Venezuela) is the world’s tallest waterfall at 979 metres.
– Dettifoss (Iceland) is the largest waterfall in Europe in terms of volume discharge, with an average water flow of 200 m3/s.
– Eas a’ Chual Aluinn (Scotland), at 200 metres is the highest waterfall in the United Kingdom.
– Iguazu Falls is an extensive series of waterfalls along a 2.7-kilometre stretch on the Argentina-Brazil border.
– James Bruce Falls (Canada), the tallest waterfall in North America at 840 metres.
– Niagara Falls are the widest, most powerful falls in North America.
– Ramnefiellsfossen (Norway), 808 metres tall.
– Reichenbach Falls (Switzerland), a sequence of two waterfalls totalling 120 metres in height. They were the site of the disappearance and apparent death of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes in the story “The Final Problem”.
– Rhine Falls (Switzerland), 150 metres wide.
– Shoshone Falls (Idaho, USA), sometimes called the “Niagara of the West”.
– Tugela Falls (South Africa) is the world’s second-tallest at 947 metres.
– Venta Rapid (Latvia), said to be Europe’s widest waterfall, is over 240 m wide but only about 1.8 m high.
– Victoria Falls, on the Zambezi river along the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia, is among the largest waterfalls in the world. During periods of high flow, it creates an unbroken sheet of water nearly 2 kilometres wide.
– Waihilau Falls (Hawaii, USA), 792 metres tall.
– Yosemite Falls (USA), 739 metres tall.
Happy English learning!!