giovedì 9 giugno 2011

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Ten of of the most impressive waterfalls on earth

1.The Angel Falls, Venezuela
To be completely dwarfed by any natural feature is awe-inspiring, perhaps nothing more so than  the Angel Falls, in the heart of Venezuela, which fall an unbelievable  3,212 feet from top to bottom,, the highest waterfall on earth, with longest single span of falling water anywhere to be found. Venezuelan natives named it ‘Kerepakupai merú , which translates to waterfall of the deepest place, and takes the name we know it by fromJames “Jimmy” Angel, the explorer who first told the world about it in October 1937.

2.Niagara Falls, United States
Naturally, the Americans like to foster the belief that their very own falls are the biggest, and that is indeed the case, with an average flow of 85,000 cu meters per second. Lying on the border between Canadian Ontario,  and American New York, they are indeed vast, though volume of water passes over these falls than those of the larger Victoria.  Renowned for being of spectacular beauty, and employed as valuable providers of hydro-electric energy., these incredible waterfalls are truly amazing, and much is speculated as to how they came to be so named. The actual word Niagara could stem from an old Iroquois word, Onguiaahra  or The Strait, and rumour has it that  the Horseshoe Falls hide the spirit of Iroquois thunder god  He-No,

3, Iguazu Falls, Brazil/Argentina borders
This utterly compelling  waterfall system is almost two miles wide, with almost 300 separate waterfalls making up the whole, the most impressive being the Devil’s Throat , which is U-shaped cataract that falls 500ft, a feature directly on the border between Argentina and Brazil. The name Iguazu, which the river is known as, supposedly stems from a Tupi word meaning “great water. A god had reputedly planned to marry a native girl, who, unwilling to accept such a fate, fled in a canoe, along with her human lover. The angry god created the waterfalls in front of the lovers,, condemning them to an eternal fall. This is the second largest waterfall on earth by volume, with average recorded flow of 62,000cubic meters per sec.

4. Victoria Falls. Africa
The third largest waterfall on earth by volume, this mighty feature of nature is known to locals as the Smoke That Thunders, hardly surprising when you see the falls concealed by heavy mists of watter droplets thrown up by the force of the falling water. David Livingstone, English explorer, found the falls  in 1855, naming them in honour of Queen Victoria of England. The volume of water moving over these falls is immense, over 38,000 cu mtrs per second., in the wet season. The Smoke That Thunders can be seen from as far away as 25 miles.

5, Cuquenan falls, Venezuela
This impressive natural wonder is the second tallest free-falling waterfall on earth, with a single span water-drop of about 2,000ft in length.

6. Kaiteur Falls, Guyana  Kaiteur falls
Guyana is home to another majestic water feature, in the shape of the Kaieteur falls, the largest single drop waterfall in the world. Double the height of the mighty Victoria Falls, and five times as tall as Niagra, this spectacular fall is 741ft  from top yo bottom, and around 370ft  at the widest point. Sitting atop the Guyana Shield, an ancient rock formation amidst what is some of  the most undisturbed rainforest on earth, this is one heck of a sight to see. Named after Patamona tribal chief  Kai, whom legend tells  sacrificed himself, by canoeing over the falls to please the god Makonaima, because he wanted to save his people from savage tribe raiders. “Teur” means “falls” in their  language

7. Sharavathi Falls, Jog, India
Another mighty and impressive sight is to be found in India. This truly spectacular set of falls is located in the Indian state of Kannada, at Jog, where the Sharavathi river plunges 879 feet own into the gorge below,as it falls noisily over the edge, into the river below.

8. Yosemite Falls, America
One of the most visited tourist sites in America is the spot where the Yosemite falls, 2,390ft high, crash down the mountainside as the water descends. This is the  the seventh highest set of waterfalls on earth,  a major attraction for visitors to the Yosemite National Park in California. The word Yosemite can literally be translated as meaning those who kill”, Yosemite tribes having been composed of renegades from multiple tribes,reputed to be killers by the surrounding tribes ,whowere always in great fear of them.

9. Tugela Falls, South Africa
These stunning waterfalls, second highest in the world at a mighty 3,110ft, are to be found deep within the Drakensberg Mountain range, in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Tugel means sudden in Zulu, perhaps a reference to the sharp drop as the water falls over the edge. the entire fall is made up of a series of five in total, pure safe drinking water that cascades stunningly down the mountainside.

10. Olo’upena Falls, Hawaii
Hawaii, specifically the island of Molokai, is home to the highest seaside cliffs on earth, reaching over 3,000ft into the sky. Because of this phenomena, several very tall waterfalls, among the highest known in the USA, can be found here. and Olo’upena Falls is the highest, at over 2,950 ft., making it one of the highest waterfalls on the planet. This amazing waterfall is very slender and deep within the surrounding rock, only really visible by sea, but nonetheless a glorious natural sight.


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