Types of Waterfalls

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Waterfall types. Types of waterfall. Victoria Falls. Cascata delle Marmore. Iguaza falls. Wappinger Creek.Angel Falls.Man made waterfall. Different types of waterfall. All waterfall types.

Waterfalls are one of earth's most beautiful natural phenomena.

A waterfall is formed when a river is still quite young when the water's course runs over resistant underlying bedrock.

Erosion happens as the river's watercourse increases in velocity, wearing away the bedrock, causing the edges along the water's course to erode quite quickly.

This creates whirlpools which increase water volocity and capacity, which causes further erosion.

As the water begins to fall the water becomes wider and shallower at the point of the water's drop, sometimes resulting in a pool forming below.

There are 12 types of waterfall found around the world, they are:

BLOCK - is formed by a wide river giving way to a wide fall of water.

CASCADE - is formed by water descending over a series of many rocks.

CATARACT - is formed by a large volume of high velocity water.

CHUTE - is formed by a high volume of water falling through a narrow gap.

FAN - is formed when water spreads, fan like,and falls horizontally.

FROZEN - formed from any waterfall in times of low temperatures.

HORSETAIL - is formed when the falling water remains in contact with the river's bedrock.

PLUNGE - is formed from water with a vertical flow losing contact with any underlying bedrock.

PUNCHBOWL - is formed from a constricted flow of water which then spreads out into a wider drop

SEGMENTED - is formed from a distinct seperate flow of several channels of water.

TIERED - is formed when water falls over several tiered steps or levels.

MULTI STEP - formed by several waterfalls above one another each with their own seperate drop pool. 


 (  Image courtesy of Tintazul wikimedia commons )               

                         ANGEL FALLS.

Angel Falls is the world's tallest ( cascade) waterfall situated in Venezuela, South America.

The water gushes over the top of Mount Auyantepui and falls into the River Kerep, 979m ( 3,212 ft) below, all of which are situated at the Canaima National Park, Bolivar State, which is an UNESCO World Heritage Site..

Until November 1936 the falls had never been seen until American pilot James Crawford Angel ( 1899 - 1956) spotted them whilst flying in Bolivar State. The following year on October the 9th Angel, along with two others, landed a Flamingo Monoplane on top of the falls, but the wheels became stuck in the mud and the plane could not take off, leaving Angel and his passengers having to walk for ten days in order to get back to civilisation. Because of this extraordinary feat, the falls were named after him. 

The aircraft known as El Rio Caruni, is on permanent display at Bolivar Airport.


  ( image courtesy of John Walker, wikimedia commons) 

                       VICTORIA FALLS.

Victoria Falls is the world's widest waterfall ( cataract) at 1,708m ( 5,604 ft) wide, situated on the River Zambesi on the Zambia - Zimbabwe border.

The full width of the river plunges in a vertical drop into a transverse chasm below, made up of 7 gorges. 

The falls were named after Queen Victoria, with it's indigenous name being Mosi - oa - Tunya, which means ' the smoke that thunders'. 


                 CASCATA DELLE MARMORE.

The Cascata delle Marmore is found in Umbria, Italy and is the world's highest man made ( cascade) waterfall at 165 m high.

Originally built by the Romans in 271 by way of a canal system fed from the nearby River Velino which runs through the Piediluco Lake, it is now used to power a local hydro - electric plant.

The falls themselves can be switched on and off by schedule depending on local water needs.

The falls are a major tourist destination in the area, as it is quite something to see the water gushing over the side of the Marmore Caves when the falls are first turned on. 


   ( Image courtesy of Luca Galuzza www.galuzzi.it wikimedia commons)

                        IGUAZA FALLS.

The Iguaza Falls are the world's largest cataract waterfalls, situated along a 2.7km ( 1.67mile) stretch of the River Iguaza in Brazil .

The falls divide the River Iguaza into upper and lower courses by way of 275 drops, of which the highest is the Devil's Throat ( pictured) at 82 m high.

Iguaza or Iguassa as it is sometimes spelt, means ' big water' in the local Amerindian language.


                                    A              B                   C                 D 

                             A - Nunobiki Falls, Japan - Punchbowl.

                             B - Lushington Falls, India - Segmented.

                             C - Alexander Falls, Canada - Tiered.

                             D - Cola de Caballo, Mexico - Fan


                          A frozen waterfall, Wappinger Creek, New York State, USA.  



                                     A                 B                      C                 D 

                               A - Sipi Falls, Uganda - Plunge.

                               B - Niagara Falls, USA - Block.

                               C - Fukuroda Falls, Japan - Multi step.

                               D - Sava Bohinjka, Norway - Horsetail.


Title picture - American Falls and Bridal Falls of Niagara Falls at night, as seen from the Canadian side.

Small images courtesy of Markus Bernet, Balaji Narayanan, Julian Coulton, Ujjwal Kumar and Laitr Keiows  wikimedia commons.

                                                  © D.B.Bellamy.October, 2010.


Posted on May 5, 2011
Nobert Bermosa
Posted on Oct 11, 2010
Ron Siojo
Posted on Oct 11, 2010
Posted on Oct 10, 2010