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World of Waterfalls - Top 8

Updated on June 19, 2013

Cascades, strange and unique places on Earth

A waterfall is a place where water flows over a vertical drop in the course of a stream or river. They occur where meltwater drops over the edge of an iceberg or ice shelf. According to some sources (worldwaterfalls.com), a drop of at least three meters (approximately ten feet, or a slope of at least 30 degrees creates a waterfall. Waterfalls are real natural wonders, they are very rare and not very much understand by most people.

Cascade is a common term when referring to waterfalls. This word comes from Italian cascada, which actually means waterfall.

Types of waterfalls are based on the way the water falls or passes through, how much water is flowing, the surface beneath and the geological process that created it (this is called geomorphology). These are the elements that shape the form of the waterfall.

The following is an (incomplete) list of waterfalls by type:

1. Plunge – when water descends vertically, without any contact with the bedrock surface.

2. Horsetail – descending water, with some contact with the bedrock surface.

3. Cataract – is a large and powerful waterfall.

4. Multi-step -a series of waterfalls of almost the same size, each of them having its own sunken plunge pool.

5. Block - water descending from a relatively wide stream or river.

6. Segmented – distinctly separate flows of water form as it descends.

7. Tiered – water descends in a series of distinct steps (or falls).

8. Punchbowl – water descends in a constricted form and then spreads out in a larger pool.

9. Fan – water spreads horizontally while descending, remaining in a contact with bedrock.

10. Chute – a large quantity of water forced through a narrow passage.

11. Frozen – any type of waterfall which has some icy elements.

12. Catadupa – the term catadupa refers to people who live near such a waterfall. They are supposing to be deaf due to the constant uproar.

Waterfalls are strange for people. On the one hand, they give us the impression of peaceful, natural (yet powerful) landscape, a piece of earthly paradise. Waterfalls could be beautiful and romantic places (for instance, many couples plan honeymoon visits to Niagara Falls). On the other hand, waterfalls are actually chaotic in nature and very dangerous for living creatures (yes, including humans!). If you ever fell over the edge of a (tall) waterfall, it wouldn't be the most pleasant experience. You could be hurt when hitting the water from great heights, or the powerful churning at the bottom of a waterfall could cause you to drown.

However, there is no doubt, waterfalls are beautiful. This is why theworldgeography.com has made a list of the most impressive waterfalls in the world.

VIDEO: Bigar Cascade Falls, Romania

Top 8 most beautiful waterfalls

1. Bigar Cascade Falls, Romania - is situated in Caras-Severin, Romania. The moss-covered falls are situated in the forests of the Anina Mountains and is formed by an underground water spring that spills into the Minis River. The waterfall is exactly on 45 Paralel which is unique.

2. Eternal Flame Falls, USA – the waterfall is dependent on rainfall and melt water. A small grotto houses a natural gas spring that can create a flame of 10-20 cm (4-8 inches) in height. The place is a real beauty when the water enters that grotto, covering the flame and diffusing the light like a real lampshade.

3. Asik-Asik Spring Falls, Philippines – This waterfalls is situated in Alamada, North Cotabato. Its waters is said to have some healing powers. The interesting fact about this cascade is that there is no water body above it, the water comes out from the rocks, and the cliffs are sometimes covered with grasses (giving the impression of large green curtains). The clean and fresh water that falls from Asik-asik down to the river below is so cold that the tourists could drink from it.

4. Horizontal Falls, Australia (The Horries) – It is a natural phenomenon on the coast of the Kimberley region, Western Australia. Although this is called a waterfall, it consists of intense tidal currents hurtling through two narrow coastal gorges. It is possible to drive a boat through the two gaps to the bay behind, because the tides in this area could have a 10 meters variation (which occurs over six and a half hours from low tide to high tide and vice versa). David Attenborough described once this phenomenon as "one of the greatest natural wonders of the world".

5. Blood Falls, Antarctica – This waterfall was discovered in 1911, and the red color was first attributed to red algae. Only later the real reason was discovered. The scarlet tint derives from iron oxides. The Blood Waterfall takes its water from a nearby lake. The water is salty (four times than the ocean), this is why the waterfall never freezes, even when the temperatures are below -10ºC (14ºF). \

6. Svartifoss, Iceland – This waterfall is situated in the Skaftafell National Park, and it is surrounded by dark lava columns. The falls themselves are quite unusual, with some inverted hexagonal basalt columns in a kind of semi circular ring. These columns have provided inspiration for Icelandic architects, most visibly in the Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík, and also the National Theatre. It is a beautiful and quiet place, when the sun is out and the wind is calm.

7. Baatara Gorge Waterfall, Lebanon (the Baatara Pothole Waterfall) - The location is also known as the “Three Bridges Chasm” (in French “Gouffre des Trois Ponts”).This waterfall drops 255 meters (837 ft.) into a cave and falls behind three natural bridges. Baatara Gorge Waterfall can be seen during March-April every year, when the snows are melting. It was discovered in 1952, by a French bio-speleologist, Henri Coiffait.

8. Hierve el Aqua, Mexico (Spanish for “the water boils”) – It is a set of natural rocks that look like waterfalls. There are two rock shelves which rise between 50-90 meters from the valley below. The water is oversaturated with calcium carbonate, and it has a temperature of 22-27°C (70-80°F)




Bigar Cascade Falls, Romania

Bigar Cascade Falls, Romania
Bigar Cascade Falls, Romania | Source

Eternal Flame Falls, USA

Eternal Flame Falls, USA
Eternal Flame Falls, USA | Source

Asik-Asik Spring Falls, Philippines

Asik-Asik Falls, Philippines
Asik-Asik Falls, Philippines | Source

Blood Falls, Antarctica

Blood Falls, Antarctica
Blood Falls, Antarctica | Source

Svartifoss, Iceland

Svartifoss, Iceland
Svartifoss, Iceland | Source

Baatara Gorge Waterfall, Lebanon

Baatara Gorge Waterfall, Lebanon
Baatara Gorge Waterfall, Lebanon | Source

Hierve el Aqua, Mexico

Hierve el Aqua, Mexico
Hierve el Aqua, Mexico | Source

Which waterfall do you consider the most interesting/beautiful?

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