The world’s largest waterfalls by width
The largest waterfalls in the world can be measured in three separate ways: by volume, height and width. For this blog post we shall focus on waterfalls by width. Don’t be surprised if you are unfamiliar with some of the names that follow, as volume and height seem the more popular measurements for this kind of thing.
Although featuring prominently in the ‘volume of water’ stakes, Niagara Falls (feature photo) barely creeps over the line by width in 9th place at 3,950 feet. Even the vaunted Victoria Falls just about manages 7th place with a width of 5,600 feet. Needs to stretch a bit.
In 5th place is Saltos Del Mocona, which has a width of about 6,800 feet with a drop of about 35 feet. The waterfall is caused by a geological gash along the Uruguay River, within the Mocona Provincial Park, which is a good place to put it.
In 4th place is Cataratas Del Iguazo (or Iguassu). In the Tupi-Guarani etymology, Iguassu means ‘large water’ but you probably knew that. A bit like ‘Gobi’ means desert. It is 8,800ft wide, with a drop of 270 feet, running between Argentina and Brazil, with 19 recognisable falls most of which (14 to be exact) fall on the Argentine side. It is recommended, should you be moved to go and visit there, that you view them from the Brazilian side.
In 3rd place is the mighty Chutes Kongou, not only posting an impressive width of 10,500 feet, but also is one of the most powerful waterfalls in the world with over 30,000 cubic feet being delivered per second. Intriguingly, the World Waterfall Database says ‘the waterfall is known to exist but its stature and location have yet to be verified’. However, it is believed that it is in the Ivindo National Park, a park specifically set up to offer the waterfall and surrounding areas some level of eco-protection. It is quite big, so you won’t miss it.
In 2nd place and probably sulking a bit is Salta Para, or the Para Falls. It is 18,800 feet in width, almost twice that of its nearest rival and is on the Caura River in the Bolivar region of Venezuela. The Caura River, with good acidity and decent levels of tannin, keep the mosquitoes at bay as you travel up river to the falls. Within this 45,000 square miles of outstanding natural beauty, two indigenous communities, the Yekuana and Sanema, and fresh water dolphins charging about the place, you will find this a likeable place.
1st place (ta daa – it better live up to expectations after all the fuss!): Chutes du Khone, also known as The Khone Falls or Les Chutes Du Khone. It is situated on the Mekong River in Laos which was an old French colony, hence the name Les Chutes Du Khone. This mega waterfall is 35,376 feet (approx 6 miles) in average width with 2,500,000 gallons of water being pushed through every second or double the Niagara Falls output which hasn’t done very well so far. The World Waterfall Database states that, in monsoon season, the waterfall disappears, leaving only the occasional eddy; so it’s a bit of a part timer in my book. Nonetheless, an impressive winner … of the width category, anyway.
(Photos by Fraser Mummery and Voyages Lambert)
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