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  • Writer's pictureLyneth

How are Waterfalls Formed?

What is a waterfall?

A waterfall is a steep descent of a river or another body of water over a rocky ledge. It is a river or other body of water's steep fall, over a rocky ledge into a plunge pool under. Waterfalls are also cascades. The process of erosion, the wearing away of the earth, plays an important part in the making of Waterfalls. Would you like to know more? Then read on...


Formation of The Waterfall

The process of erosion, the wearing away of the earth, plays an important part in the making of Waterfalls. Waterfalls themselves also contribute to erosion.


Often, Waterfalls form as streams flow from soft rock to hard rock. This happens both laterally and vertically (as the stream drops in a waterfall). In both cases, the soft rock erodes, leaving a solid ledge over which the stream falls.


As a stream flows, it will carry sediments, the sediment can be a microscopic slit, pebbles, or boulders. Eventually, the stream's channel cuts really deep into the stream bed that only a harder rock, like granite, remains. Waterfalls form as these granite formations make cliffs and ledges.


Conclusion

Erosion is just one process that makes waterfalls. A waterfall may form across a fault, or crack in the earth's surface. An earthquake, landslide, glacier, or even a volcano may also disrupt stream beds and help form waterfalls.


Glossary

Descent - An act of moving downwards, dropping, or falling

Steep - Rising or falling sharply, almost perpendicular

Erosion - The process of eroding or being eroded by wind, water, or other natural agents.

Streams - A continuous flow of liquid, air, or gas

Sediment - Matter that settles to the bottom of a liquid


This explanatory writing was prepared by Y6 Astor student Lyneth.

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