Waterfall Facts

  • Waterfalls are places where a river plunges vertically.
  • Waterfalls may form where the river flows over a band of hard rock, such as a volcanic sill. The river erodes the soft rock below but it has little effect on the hard band.
  • Waterfalls can also form where a stream’s course has been suddenly broken, for example where it flows over a cliff into the sea, over a fault (see faults) or over a hanging valley (see glaciated landscapes).
  • Boulders often swirl around at the foot of a waterfall, wearing out a deep plunge pool.
  • Angel Falls are named after American pilot Jimmy Angel who flew over them in 1935.
  • Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe are known locally as Mosi oa Tunya, which means `the smoke that thunders’.
  • The roar from Victoria Falls can be heard 40 km away.
  • Niagara Falls on the US/Canadian border developed where the Niagara River flows out of Lake Erie.
  • Niagara Falls has two falls: Horseshoe Falls, 54 m high, and American Falls, 55 m high.
  • The spectacular Iguacu Falls in Brazil are made up from 75 individual falls cascading 82 m into the gorge below.