Saturday, July 31, 2010

10 Most Beautiful Waterfalls of the World

1. Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River located on the border of the Brazilian state of Paraná and the Argentine province of Misiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. With its brink spanning a distance of an incredible 2km in its average flow of 1.3 million liters per second, this fall is at the top of the list. The falls actually consists of some 275 individual waterfalls and cascades. Catwalks make it easy to get close-up and intimate views and the rainforest surroundings make the scenery feel right for a natural attraction such as this.




2. Victoria Falls

Victoria Fall located in southern Africa on the Zambezi River between the countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Victoria Falls are also known as Mosi-oa-Tunya, which translates to “the smoke that thunders” in the language of the Kololo Tribe, which were present in the 1800s. David Livingstone, the first European to see the falls, named it in honor of Queen Victoria in 1855. So awestruck was he that he described the falls saying “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” It’s the largest singular waterfall in the world spanning a width of 1.7km, a height of 108m, and an average flow of 1 million liters per second.







3. Niagara Falls

The Niagara Falls are voluminous waterfalls on the Niagara River, straddling the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of York. Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciations (the last ice age), and water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment en route to the Atlantic Ocean. While not exceptionally high, the Niagara Falls are very wide. More than 6 million cubic feet (168,000 m³) of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost 4 million cubic feet (110,000 m³) on average. It is the most powerful waterfall in North America. The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Managing the balance between recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 1800s.









4. Angel Falls

Angel Falls is the world’s highest waterfall, with a height of 1,054 m (3,458 ft) and a plunge of 807 m (2,648 ft). It’s the tallest waterfall in the world, drops nearly a kilometer (about 979m total drop with 807m freefall) from a table-top mountain known as Auyantepuy (or Auyantepui meaning “Mountain of the God of Evil” or “Devil’s Mountain”).The height of the fall is so great that before getting anywhere near the ground, much of the water is evaporated or carried away as a fine mist by the strong wind. Its existence seems like a paradox as it’s neither fed by conventional drainage sources such as snow/glacier melt, lakes, nor a major river system. Indeed, the abundance of water responsible for the falls is practically all rainfall from equatorial rainfall condensing onto the cloud forest above plateau of Auyantepui. It’s almost as if the clouds wring its water onto the tepui like a soaked rag.
Angel Falls is also called Salto Ángel or indigenously Kerepakupai-merú. This indigenous name derived from the Pemón natives means “falls from the deepest place”. Ironically, the more famous name of the falls has nothing to do with the connotation that water falls from the heavens. In fact, it just so happened to be the name of aviator Jimmy Angel who in 1937 landed his plane above Auyantepui near the falls in an effort to prove to the world of the existence of the falls (and to search for gold). Given the soggy terrain atop the tepuy, the plane was stuck so he, his wife, and two friends had no choice but to make the difficult trek down from the vertical cliffs of the tepui towards civilization (taking around 11 days). Only after successfully performing that feat did the falls become known to the rest of the world, and eventually the falls were named after him. Jimmy Angel’s plane has since been moved, restored, and on display at the airport in Ciudad Bolívar.




5. Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls is the iconic symbol of the grandeur and beauty of Yosemite National Park. Falling a total of 2425ft, it is amongst the highest waterfalls in the world. Couple that with the fact that it is one of the easiest waterfalls to access and you have a world class tourist attraction!The waterfall drops in three major stages. The first stage is the Upper Fall, which plunges 1430ft. The second stage is the Middle Cascades, which tumbles down a height of reportedly 625ft. The final stage is the Lower Fall, which drops 320ft. You can see some or all of the falls from various locations through the upper reaches of Yosemite Valley as well as the Valley itself.







6. Kaieteur Falls

Kaieteur Falls is a high-volume waterfall on the Potaro River in central Guyana, Potaro-Siparuni region. Kaieteur Falls is Guyana’s greatest scenic wonder. The Potaro River is said to drop some 221m with a width of nearly 100m (though rainy-season dimensions of 741ft high and 370ft wide are often quoted); so the falls has got world class dimensions. In fact, there are claims that this waterfall is the tallest single-drop waterfall in the world.









7. Gullfoss

Gullfoss (English: Golden Falls) is a waterfall located in the canyon of Hvítá river in southwest Iceland.Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The wide Hvítá rushes southward. About a kilometer above the falls it turns sharply to the left and flows down into a wide curved three-step “staircase” and then abruptly plunges in two stages (11 m and 21 m) into a crevice 32 m (105 ft) deep. The crevice, about 20 m (60 ft) wide, and 2.5 km in length, is at right angles to the flow of the river. The average amount of water running over this waterfall is 140m³/s in the summertime and 80m³/s in the wintertime. The highest flood measured was 2000 m³/s.





8. Dettifoss

Dettifoss is a very powerful waterfall on the glacial river Jökulsá á Fjöllum nestled in Iceland’s version of the Grand Canyon – Jökulsárgljúfur. With a flow of about 500 cubic meters per second at high flow, this 44m tall 100m wide monster is quite possibly Europe’s most largest and most powerful waterfall. This milky-colored waterfall is fed by the meltwaters of the vast Vatnajökull glacier. Viewpoints are available on both sides of the falls.







9. Sutherland Falls

The 580 meter high Sutherland Falls is the most impressive of the numerous falls encountered on the Milford Track. It is actually about a 45 minute side hike from the main trail each way, but is worth it. You can walk right up to the base of the falls and feel the power of the wind rushing down, driving the mists outward around the base. It sounds like an airplane, almost, it is so loud.






10. Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River

The lower falls are 308 feet high, or almost twice as high as Niagara. The volume of water is in no way comparable to Niagara as the width of the Yellowstone River before it goes over the lower falls is 70 feet (22 m), whereas Niagara is a half mile (800 m).













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