The 14 Most Amazing Waterfalls in the World

Ban Gioc–Detian Falls surrounded by lush, green scenery
Ban Gioc–Detian Falls.

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Few natural wonders encapsulate the sublime power and impermanence of the wild better than roaring waterfalls. The force of a waterfall can carve a valley out of mountains, shape the world's grandest canyons, and even power our electrical grids. From plunge to cascade to cataract, waterfalls span borders and great distances and are incredibly diverse. Whether viewed from a bridge, the water, or the air, humans are mesmerized by the beauty and power of waterfalls. 

Here are 14 of the most amazing waterfalls around the world.

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Angel Falls

Angel Falls

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Angel Falls is widely considered to be the tallest waterfall in the world, plunging an incredible 3,212 feet over the edge of the Auyantepui mountain in Venezuela. In the Indigenous Pemón language, Angel Falls is known as Krepakupai Merú, which means waterfall of the deepest place. The fall is so tall that much of the falling water evaporates or dissipates as a fine mist before it reaches the ground.

Located near the southeastern border of Guyana and Brazil, Angel Falls is part of Canaima National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Tugela Falls

Tugela Falls

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Another contender for the top spot as the tallest waterfall in the world, Tugela Falls in South Africa has a reported height of 3,110 feet. There is some controversy about Angel Falls' position as the tallest. Based on potential measurement inaccuracies, either one could easily hold the tallest title.

With five tiered drops falling from the top of the Amphitheatre in the Drakensberg mountains, this seasonal waterfall, fed by the Tugela River, can completely dry up during the summer.

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Blood Falls

Blood Falls

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Located in a remote area of Antarctica, Blood Falls gets its name from its vivid red color. The red shade is partially the result of heavily salted sea water tainted with iron oxide, which turns red when it sporadically hits the air.

In a 2017 study researchers discovered what feeds Blood Falls — a large source of salty, brine-like water under Taylor Glacier that may have been trapped for more than a million years.

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Ban Gioc–Detian Falls

Ban Gioc–Detian Falls

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This breathtaking spectacle straddles the border of two countries: Vietnam and China. The falls are known as Ban Gioc in Vietnam and Detian in China. The picturesque backdrop of lush greenery and mountains adds to the falls' magnificence. The Ban Gioc-Detian Falls span three levels fed by the Quay Son River.

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Dettifoss

Dettifoss falls Iceland

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Located in North Iceland, the massive Dettifoss waterfall is generally recognized as one of the most powerful waterfalls in Europe. It is within Jökulsárgljúfur in the northern portion of Vatnajökull National Park. Dettifoss is one of a series of four waterfalls within with Jökulsárgljúfur; the others are Selfoss, Hafragilsfoss, and Réttarfoss.

While many waterfalls in Iceland are used to generate hydropower, the entire river of Jökulsá á Fjöllum, including its waterfalls, is protected from development due to their geological significance.

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Gocta Cataracts

Gocta waterfall Peru

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Located in the remote Bongará province of Peru, Gocta Cataracts is a towering two drop waterfall. Known to those in Bongará for centuries, this waterfall remained unknown to the rest of the world until 2005 when German hydro-engineer Stefan Ziemendorff encountered the waterfall and noted that it was not identified on a map.

Gocta Falls has a total height of 2,531 feet. The fall is known as a two drop because the waterfall occurs in two tiers.

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Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls

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Plunging over majestic red rocks and pooling into milky, turquoise water, it's easy to see why Havasu Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the world. This breathtaking waterfall is located on Havasupai land deep within Grand Canyon National Park, where the waters eventually converge with the mighty Colorado River.

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Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

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Splitting the border between Argentina and Brazil, Iguazu Falls is a remarkable cataract waterfall. Located within the Iguazu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the waterfall is surrounded by a subtropical rainforest teeming with plants and wildlife.

Iguazu Falls span a width of 9,500 feet and have a vertical drop of 269 feet. Fed by the Iguazu River, the falls are impacted by seasonal changes in the river. The falls become smaller in size during the dry season and increase considerably during the rainy season.

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Jog Falls

Jog Falls India

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One of India’s tallest waterfalls, Jog Falls is 829 feet tall and up to 1,900 feet wide. Made of four distinct segmented falls, Jog Falls is at its maximum water flow during the monsoon season.

Located near Sagara, Jog Falls is fed by the Sharavathi River. Water flow from the river is impacted by the Linganamakki Dam, located near the falls, which diverts water for hydroelectric power.

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Kaieteur Falls

Kaieteur Falls Guyana

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With a vertical height of 741 feet and a peak volume of 23,400 cubic feet per second, Kaieteur Falls is a powerful waterfall. Flowing from the Potaro River, this single drop waterfall is more than four times the height of Niagara Falls.

Located in Guyana's Kaieteur National Park, the lush tropical landscape surrounding the falls is teeming with unique wildlife, like the golden rocket frog, which is endemic to the region.

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Gullfoss

Gullfoss Iceland

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One of the most breathtaking sites in the world, Gullfoss is located in the canyon of the Hvítá river in the waterfall-rich nation of Iceland. One of the most mesmerizing aspects of Gullfoss occurs as one first approaches the falls. Because the crevice is obscured from view, it gives the appearance that a mighty river simply vanishes into the Earth.

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Niagara Falls

Niagra Falls

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The most powerful and most famous waterfall in North America, Niagara Falls pours more than 6 million cubic feet of water over its crest line every minute during high flow. Located on the border between the state of New York and the province of Ontario, Canada, the falls are an important source of hydroelectric power for both countries.

Famously, Niagara Falls has been a destination for daredevils as people attempt to plummet over the falls in a variety of ways. In 1901, Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to successfully navigate over the falls in a barrel

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Plitvice Falls

Plitvice Falls

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Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is home to numerous cascading waterfalls. Water seems to flow from every ledge and crevice, gathering in crystal clear lakes along the way.

Interestingly, the lakes between the falls are separated by natural dams of travertine, which is deposited and built by the action of living things: moss, algae, and bacteria.

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Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

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Sitting on the precipice between Zambia and Zimbabwe on the Zambezi River, magnificent Victoria Falls is the largest sheet of falling water in the world. The location is one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The massive Victoria Falls is 344 feet tall and spans 6,400 feet in width. Views of the sprays emanating from this immense waterfall can be seen from 30 miles away. These humid sprays have effectively created a rainforest filled with dense vegetation and plant life rare to the area.