The Wonder Of Waterfalls
There’s nothing more majestic than a mighty waterfall. Let’s discover, with the help of Spartan and the Green Egg, the cause and characteristics of these fantastic formations.
“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick.” –J.R.R. Tolkien
Basics: The Who, What, When and Where of Waterfalls
Waterfalls are some of the most splendid sights in all of nature. A waterfall is created when a river or other moving body of water flows over a rocky cliff into a pool below. Rushing water comes from rivers that flow over rocky ledges into what is known as a “plunge pool” beneath. This is usually caused by erosion—but not always—and more wearing away of the earth’s surface takes place as the force of water crashes, carrying pebbles, rocks, sediment, etc.
“A stream’s velocity increases as it nears a waterfall, increasing the amount of erosion taking place. The crashing flow of the water may also create powerful whirlpools that erode the rock of the plunge pool beneath them. The resulting erosion at the base of a waterfall can be very dramatic, and cause the waterfall to actually ‘recede.’”
- Volcanoes, glaciers, earthquakes, and landslides also create waterfalls.
- The tallest waterfall in the world is Angel Falls (over 3,200 feet high), located near the jungle in Venezuela. With a plunge of over 800 meters, these cascades are truly extraordinary. Where does the water come from? Mostly from the Atlantic Ocean. “Northeasterly trade winds” blow from the Sahara Desert, bringing along dry masses of air that “evaporate water from the ocean surface and carry it towards South America.” How incredible is that?!
Spartan and the Green Egg Sights/Explorer Pin Destinations
Join Spartan and the Green Egg and discover some of the most amazing waterfalls on the globe. With the help of SGE’s explorer pin collection, you can learn about geography and keep a bright and colorful souvenir depicting your favorite destination.
“Water is the driver of nature.” –Leonardo Da Vinci
“The Paílón del Diablo is a large waterfall in Ecuador. The Spanish name translates to “Devil’s Cauldron.” To reach the trail to the waterfalls, one must cross a small, suspended bridge. When it is viewed from the bridge, the image of a devil’s face can be seen in the rock. The waterfall is about 100 feet down and maintains a temperature of about 73°F.” Who actually visits these destinations, you may ask. Explorers and adventurers! Daredevils seek out these fantastic—as well as dangerous—places.
- “The Underwater Waterfalls can be found in the waters of Mauritius Island. Located in the Indian Ocean, there is an illusion of underwater waterfalls. The sediments of sand and silt in the waters have varying shades of greens, blues, and whites that create this optical illusion. The best way to view the illusion is through helicopter tours or from aerial photographs.”
“The Plitvice Lakes National Park is not only one of the largest parks in Croatia, but it is one of the oldest parks in all of southeastern Europe. There is a road that runs through the park, which connects the Croatian inland with the rest of the Adriatic coastal region. The waters throughout the park are different shades of blue, green, and gray. This leads to some very unique waterfalls and lakes throughout the Plitvice Lakes National Park.”
“The Iguazu Falls get their name from where they are located, the Iguazu River. The river is on the border of Argentina and Brazil. The falls split the river and divide the area into upper and lower Iguazu. A local legend states that the two waterfalls were formed when an ancient god split them in two.” Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Iguazu Falls are one of the world’s most impressive landscapes.
“Victoria Falls is one of the largest and tallest waterfalls in the world. It is located in Livingstone, Africa. Victoria Falls is about twice as high as Niagara Falls, another one of the largest waterfalls in the world. The sheer amount of water that comes down is an incredible sight to see.” The Zambezi River is poured into an enormous gorge—over 100 meters deep!
- Murchison Falls in Uganda
- NohKaLikai Falls in India
- Epupa Falls in Namibia
- Yosemite Falls in the United States
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Visit the World Waterfall Database for more information on waterfalls!
To learn more about the waterfalls mentioned in this blog, check out the links below: