There are thousands of different waterfalls on our planet: wide and narrow, high and small, famous and unknown. But not a single “fall of water from a ledge” (this process is the key characteristic of a waterfall) is similar to one another. Streams of water can fall from a height in a variety of ways, and each waterfall is unique in its own way. In this article, we will look at 7 of the most amazing and outstanding waterfalls on our planet.
1. Iguazu Falls, Argentina – Brazil (South America)
The famous Iguazu Falls in South America is located on the territory of two countries: Brazil (to a lesser extent) and Argentina (to a greater extent). It is relatively low (up to 82 meters), but it is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world. Depending on the season, every second Iguazu drops from 1 to 3 million liters of water down.
If Iguazu were a single wall of water, then it would be the widest waterfall in the world. But Iguazu is made up of 275 individual falls. Their width reaches 2700 meters, but only in total. The largest waterfall of this cascade bears the ominous name "Devil's Throat" and is the border between Brazil and Argentina. The “throat” is 150 meters wide and 700 meters long. In shape, it is more like a horseshoe, and 14 powerful streams fall down it.
The Iguazu National Parks, lying on both sides of the waterfall, were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1984-1986, and the waterfall itself was rightfully among the winners of the Seven New Wonders of Nature competition in 2011 (New 7 wonders of Nature).
2. Victoria Falls, Zambia – Zimbabwe (Africa)
Another border waterfall lying between the two states is Victoria in Zambia and Zimbabwe. This is the widest waterfall in the world (1800 meters). Victoria Falls is one of the main attractions of South Africa, belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It is created by the Zambezi River, which plunges sharply into a narrow crevice 120 meters wide, carved by water in a break in the earth's crust. Its noise is heard at a distance of 40 kilometers, and the spray and fog from falling water, rising to a height of more than 400 meters, are visible from a distance of 50 kilometers. Even rainbows are formed here record – "lunar" (the result of the refraction of the light rays of the moon).
The waterfall is divided into four parts by islands on the edge of the abyss. And at its upper point there is a natural mountain reservoir about a dozen meters wide, called the Devil's Font, or the Devil's Pool. There the water is relatively calm, and from September to December you can swim here, on the edge of a dizzying cliff.
3. Angel Falls, Venezuela (South America)
In the tropical forests of Venezuela, on the territory of the Canaima National Park, there is the highest waterfall in the world – Angel: 979 meters in total (and according to some sources, its height is 1054 meters). It is named after the pilot James Angel (in Spanish, this surname sounds exactly like "Angel"), who noticed a giant water stream during a flight in 1933.
The height of the continuous fall of Angel (807 meters) is so great that, before reaching the ground, the water is sprayed into tiny particles and turns into fog. On cloudy days, the top of the waterfall is hidden behind the clouds, and it seems that the water falls directly from the sky. This is partly true: Angel does not feed on melting snow, glaciers or lakes. All the water comes from the clouds pouring tropical rain over the top of the mountain.
Together with the National Park, Angel has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994.
4. Churun Meru Falls, Venezuela (South America)
There are many other waterfalls in the Venezuelan Canaima Park. The smallest of them, Churun-Meru, does not even reach 400 meters in height. The waterfall was unlucky in every other sense. The researchers of this area noticed him last, and he falls in a very narrow canyon, where it is difficult to get close, so even the height of Churun-Meru is not exactly known.
But the worst thing is that from time to time the locals also call the “big brother” – Angel Falls – the name of Churun-Meru. Firstly, it is located in the Churun River basin, and secondly, not everyone likes that the main attraction of Venezuela is named after an American pilot. So the tiny Churun-Meru lives in the shadow of its famous giant neighbor.
However, the canyon into which the waterfall falls is so beautiful that we rightfully consider Churun-Meru one of the most picturesque waterfalls.
5. Niagara Falls, USA – Canada (North America)
Niagara Falls is perhaps the most famous water stream in the world. It does not hide in overgrown jungles or ominous gorges: on the contrary, proudly dividing the two countries, the USA and Canada, Niagara Falls has been known since the 17th century, and has been welcoming tourists since the 19th century.
By world standards, it is not so high – 53 meters, but with a width of 792 meters, Niagara Falls is one of the widest on the planet. It appeared as a result of the activity of the ice sheet, which moved more than 10,000 years ago from the territory of eastern Canada and rapidly changed the surrounding terrain. By the way, the movement of rocks continues to this day, and over the past centuries, Niagara Falls has receded 11 kilometers to the south.
The location of the waterfalls on Niagara is such that their simultaneous view from the ground is impossible. Therefore, a virtual walk at a bird's eye view will give the most accurate idea of this famous landmark in the United States and Canada (see at the end of the article).
More interesting facts about Niagara Falls can be found in our article here ☞.
6. Waterfall Svartifoss, Iceland (Europe)
There is probably nothing more breathtaking in Icelandic nature than a waterfall. One of the most amazing is the Svartifoss waterfall, (Svartifoss is translated from Icelandic as the Black Falls). It is located in the Skaftafell National Park, surrounded by unusual hexagonal black lava columns, which gave it such a name. This is one of the most unusual waterfalls in the world.
The base of this waterfall deserves attention because of the pointed stones, as the hexagonal columns at the very beginning of the waterfall wear down faster under a powerful stream of water. These basalt columns have inspired many Icelandic architects to create magnificent masterpieces of classical architecture.
These columns were created inside a lava flow that cooled very slowly, causing it to crystallize. Similar well-known lava formations can be seen in the north of Ireland at a place called "Giant's Bridge" or "Giant's Path" (read more here ☞).
Despite its small size, this is a very beautiful waterfall. And the virial panorama of this waterfall (see at the end of the article) took second place at the Epson International Pano Awards 2012.
7. Waterfall Purakaunui, New Zealand (Oceania)
And on the other side of the world, in New Zealand on the South Island, in the silence of the subtropical forest of the Catlins National Park, the Purakaunui cascading waterfall is hiding on the river of the same name. This is one of the most photographed waterfalls in New Zealand and is even featured on the country's postage stamp issued in 1976.
Despite a very insignificant height of 20 meters, the water in this waterfall is divided into thousands of separate jets, running down from several ledges. The waterfall is especially beautiful during the rainy season.
And finally, it's time to take a virtual walk through these amazing waterfalls. This virtual tour contains the best panoramas of waterfalls on five continents from the AirPano Internet service. Happy viewing!
Waterfalls of five continents
If you want to get to know each of the presented waterfalls more fully, you can do it here:
- Iguazu Falls
- Victoria Falls
- Angel Falls
- Churun Meru waterfall
- Niagara Falls
- Black waterfall (Svartifoss)
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