What is a Waterfall?

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

People usually don’t think about waterfalls and that’s ok but today you get to read an article about them. You may be thinking well there’s no point in this article when really you have probably wondered at least once, “ how is a waterfall actually formed”? Well in this article your question will be answered. Did you know that the tallest waterfall is bigger than the Eiffel Tower, well it is and in this article you’ll find out by how much.

 A waterfall may seem simple when really it’s very complex. Yeah sure you could sum it up and say that a waterfall is a river with a cliff, but it’s so much more. A waterfall is an area of a river or stream where the water flows over a steep vertical drop, often landing in a plunge pool below.  And that’s just the beginning of how a waterfall is formed! Before a waterfall, the water is usually very fierce and can sometimes even form fast rapids. Did you know that the fastest rapid can go 20 mph, which does not seem fast, but imagine you’re on a kayak going through this, would it hurt? It really would. This erodes rocks into being very smooth which can start a waterfalls formation. But erosion is only one of the many processes that form waterfalls! Did you know that at the base of a waterfall there is an erosion called “recede”? I bet you didn’t know that about a waterfall. Something cool about a waterfall is that over time the area behind a waterfall is worn away, which creates a hollow, cave-like structure, this is called a “rock shelter”. But eventually, this  rocky ledge will tumble down, sadly sending boulders into the plunge pool below. This process causes the waterfall to “recede” many meters upstream. Then after all that time the waterfall erosion process will start again.

Did you know that the only way you can call a waterfall a waterfall, is if the water is falling continuously? Some people may argue that a melting icicle is technically a waterfall, but since the water is not  consistently dropping it’s not considered a waterfall.

Now what you have been waiting for, the waterfall that is bigger than the Eiffel Tower, and guess what it’s actually underwater! The tallest waterfall is the Denmark Strait. It is 11,500 feet, which is about 11 times bigger than the Eiffel Tower! The Eiffel Tower is only 1,000 feet tall. This is the largest known waterfall that lies underwater. It lies between Greenland and Iceland. Although this is the largest waterfall underwater. The second largest known waterfall is Angel Falls. Angel Falls is in Venezuela where the waterfalls 3,212 ft. The fall is so long that at warmer times of the year the water turns into mist before it reaches the stream below.2

Did you know that Erosion is very important in the formation of a waterfall? Well it is. It carries a special type of dirt called sediment. Sediment is a mixture of broken down rocks and sand that is mostly found in water. The craziest thing about this sediment is that it can erode the soft rock that it’s on. Eventually the sediment cuts deep enough so that only hard rock remains. Isn’t that crazy that a powder can cut a rock till the rock is only hard. This sediment helps form cliffs and ledges to make a waterfall. There are underground and underwater waterfalls. Underground falls can be found in many caves around the world.  

There are many different types of waterfalls. They are Punchbowl Waterfalls, Plunge Waterfalls, Multi-step Waterfalls, Horsetail Waterfalls, Frozen Waterfalls. A punchbowl waterfall can be known for its large punchbowl like pool below. A Plunge waterfall creates  spray to erode the cliff far enough caves beneath the lip of the waterfall. A Multi Step Waterfall can be classified by its multiple waterfalls that each have a plunge pool below. Horsetail waterfall glow when a light ray hits it. Frozen waterfalls are formed during the cold winter months and the become solid.  

 Now that you have read this article, did you learn anything, if so comment what? Did you think the article was going to be like this? I hope you had a good time reading it and have learned something interesting. All in all, you have just learned something new.






Print Friendly, PDF & Email