Waterfall – performance staged by nature
Waterfalls are a unique phenomenon of nature. A waterfall is a place in a river where water spills suddenly downward. Waterfalls are known for their beauty and awesome power. Large waterfalls are called cataracts and drop straight down. Smaller or less steep waterfalls are called cascades and fall over a number of short rock walls.
Flowing river water wears away the soft rock before the hard rock. The hard rock that is left creates a steep wall. Waterfalls also form as a result of movements in Earth’s crust.
The Niagara Falls is one of the largest and the most grandiose in the world. However, Kaieteur Falls in Guyana, near the border with Venezuela, is the largest. Its height is 226 meters, which is five times higher than Niagara Falls. And there is the national park with the same name, where there are about 300 smaller waterfalls.
Angel Falls (Venezuela) is the world’s tallest waterfall. Its height is as much as 1054 meters. The waterfall was discovered only at the beginning of the 20th century thanks to the traveler Ernesto Sánchez La Cruz, who managed to get into the heart of the jungle. But it was named after James Angel, who in 1933 flew on an airplane over the Venezuelan tropics. As a result of the breakdown, the pilots were forced to land on the top of Auyán-tepui. Only eleven days later, four crew members came down to the valley. All this time they walked along the waterfall. With the help of a helicopter their plane was taken from the top of the mountain only 33 years later.
Baatara in Lebanon is the most famous cave waterfall in the world. Many consider it the oldest on Earth. Meanwhile, this unique object was discovered relatively recently, in the middle of the last century. It falls from a height of 225 meters to a limestone cave, which is approximately 160 million years old. Every year thousands of tourists come to see the waterfall. On the way to the cave water passes three arched bridges of natural origin. It is also called The Three Bridges’ Fall.
The name of the Japanese Shiraito Falls means “white threads”. Unlike most waterfalls in the world, it originates not in the river, but in ground waters under the rock. Although the height of the drop of the Shiraito is only about three meters, its width is impressive – as much as 70 meters!
Seven Sisters Waterfall in Norway is wonderful. The origin of this waterfall is associated with an old Scandinavian legend. Once a handsome young Viking came to choose his wife among the seven sisters. But all of them were so beautiful that he could not choose. Each of the sisters dreamed of marrying him. He decided to wait until the morning. In the morning the young man had to return to the house and bring a veil with him. Leaving the sisters’ house, the Viking plunged into deep thought. He did not notice how he turned into a stone. Seven brides, who had been waiting for their beloved, also turned into stones. And from the cliff in front of the Geirangerfjord, seven waterfalls, representing the unfortunate sisters, began to pour into the sea.
Hukou Waterfall in China on the Yellow River was a source of inspiration for Li Bo, the author of the medieval poetic monument Yellow River. But the waterfall is not just grandiose. It seems that the water in it boils! In fact, it’s just an optical effect: water flows are mixed with ice chips.
Horsetail Fall in California is falling from the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Joseph R. Walker discovered the waterfall in 1833. Every February the water is painted in a fiery red color and resembles a stream of red-hot lava. At this time of year, the sun’s rays fall on the water streams at a certain angle, which gives them such an “extreme” color.
Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke that Thunders), one of the greatest waterfalls of our planet, is on the Zambezi River in South Africa. The world learned about it thanks to the missionary and doctor David Livingston, who named it in honor of the Queen of England – Victoria. The bronze memorial to the great traveler is near the grandiose waterfall. Since 1989, the waterfall has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The European Country of Waterfalls is Norway. And 14 waterfalls from those that are on the territory of this state are the highest on the European continent, and 3 are among the ten highest in the world.
Scientists believe that the noise of the waterfall has a beneficial effect on the human psyche, soothing it and helping to cope with stress. The thunder of falling water also helps the birds to navigate during migration.
In Antarctica there is Blood Falls and its streams are rusty-red, and the reason for this is a high concentration of iron oxide in water. An unusual waterfall flows from the Taylor Glacier, and its source is a lake covered with 400 meters of ice.
The widest waterfall is a cascade of waterfalls in Laos on the island of Don Khon. The waterfall is formed on the Mekong river. This is a whole cascade of waterfalls that are formed as a result of the fact that the river is forced to pierce its way through a narrow rocky channel.