Have you ever been on a vertical drop at an amusement park?
How does it feel to fall down vertically from the top? Is it thrilling or scary?
Just imagine, if water molecules too had feelings, how would they feel when they fall down vertically from a waterfall?
If you have seen a waterfall, you must have noticed that there is a great deal of water that falls to the ground. It is really a beautiful sight. A waterfall is nothing but a place where water falls down on the ground or a rocky ledge, vertically from a height.
It takes thousands of years for a waterfall to form. There is so much strength and force in water that the swiftly moving water can cut through rock. This is nothing but erosion. Water is a great erosive agent. Erosion has an important role to play in the formation of waterfalls. But, an interesting fact is, waterfalls themselves cause erosion. When they plunge down from a great height, the rock that is present below gets eroded over a period of time.
Waterfalls are generally formed in the upper course of a river, where water flows quickly and suddenly drops either over cliffs or other steep regions. When you see a waterfall, it is a sign that there are layers of different types of rocks present under the river.
In the upper course of the river, there is a layer of hard rock, below which is the layer of soft rock. When the river flows over the rocks, it is the soft rock layer that gets eroded first, as it is soft and erosion is rapid on soft rock layer. The hard rock layer also gets eroded, but the erosion here is very slow.
When the erosion of rock surfaces happens due to the friction between the rocks and moving particles carried by the river, a drop develops slowly. This vertical drop forms gradually and more and more of the soft rock gets eroded and is carried downstream. This action that occurs constantly over a period of time develops a plunge pool beneath the river. And when the hard rock also gets eroded considerably, the plunge pool increases in size. Then, slowly the river flow becomes quite steep and forms into a waterfall.
Did you know that earthquakes and volcanoes also can cause a change in the land area, forming new waterfalls?
If you thought that waterfalls were permanent, then you are mistaken. Just as they took many years to form, they also slowly disappear.
Check out the different layers of rock in this picture of the Angel falls.
Angel falls is highest waterfall in the world that is present at a height of 3240 feet, in Venezuela, South America.
And, do you know from what height the water falls down, without any interruption? It falls down from a height of 2647 feet. It is like gallons and gallons of water coming down from the highest point of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The highest point of Burj Khalifa is approximately at around 2700 feet.
So, don’t you think waterfalls are amazing marvels of nature?
Another interesting fact about water falls is the presence of reverse water falls. We have always known waterfalls to fall down. What if they do not fall down, rather go up? Impossible to believe, but entirely possible. When the water from the waterfalls travels up, it is called a reverse waterfall. And this happens due to the high and gusty wind force that makes the water go up, against gravity!
Check out this animated video, courtesy Dream Tech, which explains in a simple manner, how water falls are formed.