Waterfalls are beautiful, natural occurrences that attract onlookers all over the world. Waterfalls form where river rapids run over hard rock surfaces (like granite) with soft rock bases (like sandstone). The rushing water cuts away at the softer rock and creates a sort of step, or plunge pool. The plunge pool continues to grow as water continues to erode and eventually creating an overhang of the hard rock. The overhang is unstable and breaks off under the weight of the running water, thus creating the waterfall. Waterfalls also occur where meltwater spills over the edge of an ice shelf. This process leads to waterfall formation, no matter the height. The taller the falls, however, the more impressive they seem. This article takes a look at the highest waterfalls in the world.
The Tallest Falls
The absolute highest waterfall in the world is Angel Falls, located in the Canaima National Park in Venezuela. This waterfall is 3,212 feet tall, over half a mile! The falls lead into the Carrao River and are located in the rainforest.
The second tallest waterfall is in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. The Tugela Falls form a cascade of 3,110 feet. This waterfall runs through the Royal Natal National Park, a rocky mountainous and brush covered area, and is formed by the Tugela River.
Tres Hermanas Falls
Number 3 on the list is Tres Hermanas Falls. This impressive 2,999-foot waterfall is located in the Otishi National Park of Junin, Peru. It originates as the Cutivireni River, is surrounded by montane forest and falls in 3 different sections.
The Olo’Upena Falls are next on the list at number 4. Molokai, Hawaii in the US is home to this 2,953-foot waterfall. Molokai is a tropical, volcanic island. These falls are notable because they can only be seen from air or ocean, no access trails.
Continuing, the list returns to Peru, this time to the Amazonas region. Here is the Yumbilla Falls, the fifth highest in the world. Surrounded by the Amazon rainforest yet still in the Andes mountains, this waterfall is tiered in 4 or 5 different parts that make up its 2,940 feet. The Utubamba River makes up the Yumbilla Falls.
The Vinnufossen and Balåifossen of Norway
Europe makes the list next. Both the Vinnufossen (2,822 feet) and the Balåifossen (2,789 feet) are located in Norway. Vinnufossen is the tallest waterfall in Europe and is part of the Vinnu River. The Balåi River forms the Balåifossen and it empties into the Osafjorden. Both fall off a tall mountain.
James Bruce Falls
The eighth tallest mountain in the world is in Canada. The James Bruce Falls are 2,756 feet tall and located in British Columbia. This waterfall holds the distinction of being the tallest in North America and originates from a snowfield. It empties into the Princess Louisa Inlet and is surrounded by breathtaking mountains.
The same height as the James Bruce Falls, the Pu’uka’oku Falls are located in Hawaii. They are surrounded by lush, green mountains.
Finally, number 10 on the list of the highest waterfalls in the world is Browne Falls. This waterfall is located on South Island, New Zealand in Fiordland Park. Browne Falls is in the middle of a temperate rainforest. Its 2,743 feet originate from a glacial mountain lake and fall into the Doubtful Sound.
Waterfalls across the globe are just as, if not more, appealing to tourists as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, as not only do they provide something marvelous to behold with the eye, but they allow people to feel closer to nature, even awed become by it, as well. When properly protected and maintained, waterfalls can be an important source of tourism revenue for countries. Tourists may come to see the falls, but they spend money on lodging, food, and souvenirs while visiting.
The Highest Waterfalls In The World
|Rank||Waterfall||Location||Height (in feet)|
|1||Angel Falls||Canaima National Park, Venezuela||3,212|
|2||Tugela Falls||Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa||3,110|
|3||Tres Hermanas Falls||Otishi National Park, Junin, Peru||2,999|
|4||Olo’Upena Falls||Molokai, Hawaii, United States||2,953|
|5||Yumbilla Falls||Amazonas, Peru||2,940|
|6||Vinnufossen||Møre og Romsdal, Norway||2,822|
|8||James Bruce Falls||British Columbia, Canada||2,756|
|9||Pu'uka'oku Falls||Hawaii, United States||2,756|
|10||Browne Falls||South Island, New Zealand||2,743|