waterfall

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waterfall,

a sudden unsupported drop in a stream. It is formed when the stream course is interrupted as when a stream passes over a layer of harder rock—often igneous—to an area of softer and therefore more easily eroded rock; the edge of a cliff or plateau; or the edge of a hanging valley formed under glacial conditions (see glacial periodsglacial periods,
times during which large portions of the earth's surface were covered with thick glacial ice sheets. In the Pleistocene epoch, in the Carboniferous and Permian periods of the Paleozoic era era, and in Huronian time of the Precambrian, the earth experienced an
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). Normally, as a stream grows older, the waterfall, by undercutting and erosion of the waterfall edge and stream bed above the fall, moves upstream and loses height until it eventually becomes a series of rapids and finally disappears. Waterfalls are often a source of waterpower for cities such as the string of cities in the United States that grew up along the waterfall line where streams from the Appalachians descend suddenly to the coastal plain and early textile and flour mills used power from waterfalls. Angel FallsAngel Falls,
waterfall, Sp. Salto Ángel, 3,212 ft (979 m) high, SE Venezuela, in the Guiana Highlands. Springing from Auyán-Tepuí Mesa, it is the highest uninterrupted waterfall in the world.
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 in Venezuela is the world's highest waterfall.

Waterfall

 

the falling of water in a river in places where its height changes abruptly, forming an almost sheer drop. When a river flows through an area composed alternately of solid and loose rock, it cuts into the erodable rock much

Table 1. The largest and best known waterfalls in the world
NameLocationHeight(in m)
Eurasia
Utigard...............Norway610
Kile...............Norway561
Gavarnie...............Gave de Pau River,
central Pyrenees, France
422
Krimml...............Krimml-Ache River, Austria380
Serio...............Serio River (Po basin), Italy315
Gisbach...............Gisbach River, Switzerland300
Il’ia Muromets...............Iturup Lake (Kuril Islands), USSR141
Imatra...............Vuoksi River, Finland18
Africa
Tugela...............Tugela River, Union of South Africa933
Kalambo...............Kalambo River, border of Tanzania and Zambia427
Augrabies...............Orange River, Union of
South Africa
146
Victoria...............Zambezi River, border of
Zambia and Rhodesia
120
Murchison...............Victoria Nile River, Uganda120
Stanley...............Congo River, Zaïre60
North America
Yosemite...............Merced River, USA727.5
Ribbon...............Merced River, USA484
Upper Yosemite...............Yosemite Creek, USA435
Nevada...............Merced River, USA178
Grand...............Churchill River,Canada74
American...............Snake River, USA55
Niagara...............Niagara River, border of USA
and Canada
51
South America
Angel...............Churun River (Caroni River system),
Venezuela
1,054
Kukenaam...............Kukenaam River (Orinoco basin),
Venezuela
610
Roraima...............Potaro River, Guyana457
Cayetur...............Potaro River, Guyana225
Paolo Afonso...............San Francisco River, Brazil84
Iguassu...............Iguassu River, border of Brazil
and Argentina
72
Australia and Oceania
Sutherland...............Arthur River, New Zealand
(South Island)
580
Wollomombi...............Mackleay River,Australian
Commonwealth
519

more quickly than into the stable rock. As a result, the riverbed develops ledges from which the flow of water drops. The water can fall along several ledges, forming a series of waterfalls (cascades). The waterfall ledge is constantly being destroyed, especially at its base; thus, the waterfall retreats upstream. For example, Niagara Falls (North America), which has a bed composed of hard limestone underlaid by softer shale, moves back 0.7-0.9 m per year.

When the ledge of a waterfall is sufficiently destroyed, rapids often form. A waterfall can also form as a result of the partitioning of mountain ravines by avalanches, as well as in plain areas where a river crosses a section with uneroded rock—for example, a trap. There are also waterfalls with less steep descents (called vodoskat, as opposed to vodopad). In the northern USSR small waterfalls are often called paduny.

Angel Fall is the highest waterfall in the world (1,054 m). Yosemite Falls, in the Yosemite Valley of the Sierra Nevada Mountains (California), has a drop of 727.5 m. Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River (southern Africa) is 120 m high and 1,800 m wide. Niagara Falls has the most water flowing over it; it is 1,100 m wide and about 51 m high. There are waterfalls in the USSR in the Karelian ASSR, Kola Peninsula, the Caucasus, Altai, Sayan Mountains, and other mountain regions of Siberia.

The presence of waterfalls on rivers blocks lumbering and navigation, but rivers with great water drops within short distances are suitable for the construction of hydro-electric power plants. This is the case with the energy from Narva Falls on the Narva River and Kivach Falls on the Suna River, among others.

A. I. CHEBOTAREV

waterfall

[′wȯd·ər‚fȯl]
(hydrology)
A perpendicular or nearly perpendicular descent of water in a stream.

waterfall

a cascade of falling water where there is a vertical or almost vertical step in a river

Waterfall

(dreams)
Water generally represents the unconscious and the emotions. A waterfall is a positive dream symbol that suggests a cleansing of negative emotions or psychological issues. Just a simple visualization or a daydream of standing in a waterfall makes a person feel energized and refreshed. If the waterfall in your dream is overwhelming or too powerful for you to enjoy, it may represent emotional energy and unconscious drives that are very difficult to effectively cope with on the conscious level.