Types of Waterfalls




Illustration Credit: Dan Maleck

After visiting waterfalls across the region, six distinguishable waterfall types have emerged.

BLOCK
A cascade, wider than it is tall, that usually covers the entire distance across a stream and drops at a near vertical angle. Blocks are often referred to as being “classic” or “horseshoe” style falls.

CASCADE
A series of small drops, too many to count feasibly, that fall at a low angle of descent. Just about every type of waterfall usually has cascades shortly upstream or downstream from it.

FAN
A steep-angled cascade that fans out from a narrow width at the top to a larger base at the bottom. Most fans are also horsetails in that they maintain contact with underlying rock during their descent.

HORSETAIL
A nearly vertical drop characterized by waters maintaining constant or almost constant contact with the underlying rock that they are flowing over. This is essentially a very steep set of cascades.

PLUNGE
A waterfall in which water drops at an entirely vertical angle. Water flows over a broad ledge, usually an overhanging one, into a pool without making contact with the underlying rock during its descent.

PUNCHBOWL
A special type of plunge characterized by water being forced to a very narrow width and being squeezed down into a pool. There are very few punchbowls found in this region.

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