The Variables Affecting Water Colour at Beaches

We all enjoy a few hours (or days, or weeks) pegged out on the beach by tranquil waters as clear as crystal, but depending on where you are, you can’t always find such a location. The distribution of the world’s oceans is far from being a simple process, and there are many factors at work in determining the water colour, from murky grey to gleaming turquoise.
As it turns out, that greyish, apparently dirty colour is the result of what’s in the water, but it is far from being unclean. The darker colouration is actually caused by a combination of phytoplankton (algae), zooplankton (small ocean-wandering species such as jellyfish) and other sediments. In areas where this sediment is primarily comprised of lighter substances such as sand and silt, the sediment layer is more easily disturbed and churned up. This, in turn, can cause a greyish colouration. Where heavier deposits comprised generally of shell pieces and dead coral are present, waters tend to be clearer as the sediment layer is less easily disturbed.
The other thing you have to consider is the Earth’s rotation. As the Earth spins, the planet’s oceans move from west to east, creating a phenomenon known as upwelling along western-facing coasts. This has the result of replacing the warmer surface water with colder, sediment-rich water from the depths. As such, coastlines at the edge of large water bodies such as the Pacific Ocean tend to have murkier waters. In other areas, coral reefs and other structures, natural or otherwise, act as a barrier. This prevents the coastline from being affected by upwelling, again resulting in clearer waters.
So there you have it. While some coastlines are indeed murkier, often looking thoroughly dirty, there is no real reason not to enjoy them for all they’re worth. After all, it’s not filth, it’s just nature.

Sam Bonson
Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.

The Most Dangerous Sailing Passages in the World

Sailing is a risky undertaking at the best of times, it leaves you at the mercy of the wind and the water, and it takes a lot of practice before you can even think about setting off into the open ocean, or even certain seas. Once you do, you’ll be able to experience the other 70% in a way few people can, but some places are so risky that even the most seasoned sailors avoid them with a passion. Despite the fact that we’ve mapped the entire surface of the planet, some places probably ought to still be marked with a red X or a big skull, these in particular.

The Cape of Good Hope
Don’t let the optimist name bamboozle you; the Cape of Good Hope is also often referred to as the Cape of Storms, and with good reason. The cross currents are unpredictable, freak waves are common, storms are frequent and wind speeds can often hit 30 knots or more. For these reasons, sailing around this rocky headland, which intersects the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic can be extremely perilous.
Point Conception
The Californian Pacific Coast is a beautiful part of the world for sailing, but Point Conception is the looming danger that keeps sailors vigilant. It separates the Santa Barbara Channel and the Ocean, identifiable by the lighthouse near the tip of the headland. Like the Cape of Good Hope, the weather is very hard to predict, owing to the high speed winds which travel in from the Aleutian Islands. The local Chumash tribe believe that Conception is the gate through which the souls of the dead pass from Earth to the paradise beyond. For the sake of all the sailors it has claimed over the years, I kind of hope that’s true.
Cape Horn
Sitting like an angry spike at the tip of Argentina, Cape Horn is often a checkpoint on round the world sailing races, and in many case’s it’s the choke point that puts teams out of the running, or worse. It is often referred to as the Everest of sailing challenges. The infamous ‘williwaw’ winds which blow across the horn are largely the cause of the peril, and the route most yachts have to take around the horn involves firing right into the worst of them. History is littered with stories of sailors who couldn’t best Cape Horn. In one case a pair of recreational sailors, Miles and Beryl Smeeton, survived one wreck, repaired their yacht in Chile and went to try again, but once again they wrecked and somehow managed to once more survive the disaster.
Strait of Malacca
So far on this list, you might have noticed that the most present danger of these treacherous sailing routes is largely high winds. Well, the Strait of Malacca has this too, as well as reputation for frequent storms, earning it the nickname ‘Lightening Alley’, but wait, there’s more. This 550 mile stretch of water between Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra has become nightmarish swirl of sea traffic, confusing currents, endless islets, floating debris, shallow shipwrecks and, crucially, pirates. It’s not as bad as it used to be, and commercial liners are targeted far more commonly than sailboats, but it’s still possible to get caught up in an altercation. Additionally, Sumatran bush fires cause a thick haze to roll in at a certain type of year, which is a terrifying prospect when you’re sharing a route with 350 metre long container ships. 

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

The Science Behind Brine Pools

If you’ve never heard of a brine pool, do yourself a favour and search YouTube for some video footage of one before reading any further. The notion that a body of standing water can exist underwater takes some real adjusting to, and even if you understand perfectly well how it works, it’s hard not to be overcome by wonder every time you look at them.

A submersible vehicle approaches the edge of an underwater brine pool  –  Img source: newsyac.com
As the name suggests, they are pools of hypersaline water which is far denser than the surrounding seawater, and thus descends to the lower point of the seabed and pools there. Sizes range from tiny puddles to huge lakes. 
They are particularly common in the Gulf of Mexico. This is because, during the Jurassic, the Gulf was a shallow sea, and it dried out to form a thick layer (seriously thick, we’re talking 8km here). Once the Gulf opened back up again the salt layer was preserved, and deformed, causing it to morph into a dense brine, which pooled and bubbled over with methane. Interestingly, some have suggested that the aircraft and ship disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle are due to methane bubbling up from the sea bed.
The methane is also the basis for a lot of the life that builds up in the vicinity of these underwater lakes. Often, they are lined with hundreds, or even thousands of mussels, who are locked in a symbiotic relationship with bacteria through a process called chemosynthesis. Essentially, the bacteria are able to transfer the methane into carbon sugars, which provide the mussels with energy, and in return are given a home adjacent to all the nutrients they themselves derive from the methane during the conversion process.
Img source: nautilus2015.blogspot.co.uk
Animals can’t actually live in the pools themselves, as the intense salinity would ‘pickle’ them – well preserved, but with much of the carbon in their bodies eroded away. Typically, crustaceans will patrol the shoreline, eating whatever small organisms they can find between the mussels, and in turn larger deep sea fish will prey on them. 
What’s really amazing about the eco-system which brine pools support is that it’s almost completely independent of the sun. Even for other deep sea animals, the sun reigns supreme. First plankton nearer the surface photosynthesises, then it is consumed by larger organisms, and so on until you reach fish and whales. When these animals die, they sink, providing a basis for much of the deep sea eco-system, all the way back up to top predators again. Around brine pools, hydrothermal vents and other cold seeps, the base energy source is chemosynthetic, and works its way up from there.
How big is the largest brine lake? It’s impossible to say, we simply have not explored anywhere near enough of the ocean floor to know, but the smart money says it’s probably somewhere around the Gulf of Mexico. Recently, a 12ft deep, 100ft circumference pool was found in the area, and dubbed the ‘Jacuzzi of Despair’, somewhat due to the rather upsetting graveyard of dead crabs and isopods around the rim, all of them tragically unaware of the deadly nature of the brine. 

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

The Wondrous Locations Unlocked by Low Tide

Our little blue planet is constantly shifting, moving and adapting. As such, some truly remarkable locations spend much of the time completely inaccessible, cut off from the land by rising tides. To experience their wonders, you have to time it right and, trust me, it’s worth the wait. From island paradises to ancient castles, these locations are truly breath-taking; below we have compiled our 5 favourites from around the globe.

5. Haji Al Dargah, India
Img source: wikipedia.org
 Situated just of the coast of Worli, Mubai, this Indo-Islamic mosque and dargah (tomb) has stood since the 15th century. According to local legends, a wealthy merchant injured the earth when he jabbed his finger into the soil, causing oil to flow freely from the ground. Dying during a pilgrimage to Mecca while still haunted by his actions, his coffin apparently washed ashore, becoming stuck in the rocks. The Dargah was then constructed upon the islet.
Thousands of pilgrims travel to the site daily, waiting for low tide in order to make their way across the 500mcauseway, which is submerged during high tide.
4. Ko Nang Yuan, Thailand
Img Source: alexinwanderland.com
A true paradise located near Kho Tao, Thailand, Ko Nang Yuan is actually comprised of 3 islands. During low tide, the waves part to reveal a natural “bridge” of white sand, which connects the three islands together for a brief time. 
The region’s diverse wildlife and stunning coral formations have made it a legendary location for divers and snorkelers alike. For those who like to keep their head above the surface, the beaches are renowned for their beauty.
3. Holy Island, England
Img source: wikipedia.org
Once known as the epicentre of Christianity during Anglo-Saxon times, Holy Island still holds significance to those of faith to this day. The site is home to the Lindisfarne Gospels, and every year around 100 pilgrims make the journey to Holy Island to mark Easter Sunday, but it’s not the easiest location to get to.
Twice a day the island, and the accompanying Lindisfarne Castle which crowns it, are cut off from the mainland by rising tides. These tides come in quickly and can be highly unpredictable, so the Northumberland Council have taken to publishing safe crossing times online, although they still recommend caution even during these periods.
2. Mont Saint-Michel, France
Img source: camping-cars.com
Originally built on dry land before rising sea levels remade the area, the abbey at Mont Saint-Michel is now surrounded by the highest tides in Europe. The gothic architecture makes the site a truly beautiful thing to behold, and tourists seemingly agree. The abbey is the third most visited tourist attraction in France, according to the government website, only beaten out by the Eiffel Tower and the Castle of Versailles.
Access to Mont Saint-Michel is made possible by a causeway built in 1879. When exposed, the causeway is the only safe way to reach the abbey, but it is often submerged beneath the waves.
1. St Michael’s Mount, England
Img source: cornishretreats.com
As the legendary home of the giant Cormoran, the medieval church and castle at St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall are steeped in both myth and history. Set upon a small, rocky island not far from the coast, the mount’s vibrant gardens and rich historical collections culminate to create a simply remarkable experience.
At low tide, a great granite causeway is revealed by the retreating waters. This is the only way to reach the mount on foot, although ferry services are available at high tide.

Sam Bonson
Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.

The Top 5 Largest Waterfalls in the World (Width)

You wouldn’t think that the width of a waterfall was a particularly broad category. I mean, how wide can a cascade of water really get? Well, while the tallest falls tend to be fairly narrow, the ones with shorter drops can extend for kilometres at times, shifting huge quantities of water downriver every second.

Standing in the wake of a giant trunk of white water is one thing, but when it’s stretching out as far as the eye can see, it’s quite another.

5 – Mocona Falls – Argentina/Brazil
Img source: amusingplanet.com
The most well-known falls in Argentina are, of course, Iguazu, but take one look at Mocona, especially from the air, and you’ll have a whole new perspective on how waterfalls can look. The Mocona Falls don’t run across the Uruguay River, but rather, they run along the edge, dumping water into an adjacent gorge. Depending on the time of year, the falls can be between 1.8 and 3 kilometres wide. The falls are also sometimes called Yucuma, which means “the big fall”, whereas Mocona means “to swallow everything”.
4 – Iguazu Falls – Argentina/Brazil
Img source: raredelights.com
Actually a collection of some 275 falls, Iguazu is a sight to behold. Sitting right on the border between the Argentine Misiones province and Parana in Brazil, this knife edge dividing the Iguazu River stretches for 2.7km. The largest, most impressive part is the Devil’s Throat, which is 82 metres high. It makes a sort of U shape, 150 metres in width and 700 in length. The falls are almost entirely contained in two national parks, one on the Brazilian side and one on the Argentinian, covering a combined total of almost 2,500 square kilometres (although the lion’s share of that is on the Brazilian side).
3 – Kongou Falls – Gabon
Img source: myafricansojourn.blogspot.com
In 2002, a 3000 square kilometre expanse of land around the Ivindo River was turned into a national park. This was, in part, to protect the vast amount of biodiversity in and around the river, and nowhere else is this biodiversity more concentrated than the Kongou Falls. Often referred to as the most beautiful falls in all of Central Africa, they run a total width of 3.2km and are 52 metres tall at their highest point. There is almost no human life in the surrounding area, as the falls are flanked by thick, deep rainforest, populated by chimpanzees, elephants, gorillas and many other rare species in higher concentration than anywhere else in the world.
2 – Salto Para Falls – Venezuela 
Img source: skyscrapercity.com
Venezuela might have the biggest monopoly on amazing waterfalls of any country in the world. Not only can you find the tallest waterfall in the world there (Angel Falls), but also the second widest. These falls are formed in a crescent shape, as two separate parts of the Caura River join together, and they stretch for 5.6km. There are many small islands which run along the expanse, which itself is part of a huge jungle. There are 12 falls in total, and they are also thought to be the most powerful in Venezuela.
1 – Khone Falls – Laos
Img source: renown-travel.com
You might recognise these falls from the list we did of the most voluminous falls in the world. Although the Khone Falls only managed 3rd place there, they are easily the widest falls on the planet, stretching an astonishing 9.7km. There are thousands of waterways and islands across the width of the falls, which is why the surrounding area is known as Si Phan Don, or “The 4,000 Islands”. The Khone Falls seem to exude scale in every possible sense, even in terms of the wildlife. It is home to the plabuck, a very rare species of catfish which can get as big as 3 metres long. The falls have never been successfully scaled by water, and in 1893 a special gauge railway was developed to get around the issue.

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

The Science Behind the Baltic Sea

The Baltic Sea is the youngest sea on our planet, by a considerable margin. Most of the others formed millions of years ago, but the Baltic has only been around for somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 years. This was a result of ice mass retreating as the ice age started drawing to a close. 
It’s also one the largest brackish inland seas on the planet, and the only sea of its kind to result from glacial scouring, rather than tectonic activity. For this reason, it’s also decidedly shallow, averaging at about 55 metres deep. The way it’s fed – first by saltwater from the North East Atlantic and then by fresh water from rivers and fjords draining an area four times the size of the sea itself – creates a completely unique eco-system, with a delicate interdependency.
Some of resources provided by the Baltic Sea are fairly obvious, like cod and other pelagic fish, but others are less so. Thanks to the Baltic Sea, the local region is the richest source of amber on the planet, as a huge portion of the area was covered by forest about 44 million years ago, creating a massive deposit of the substance. Erosion across the shorelines gradually exposes more of it, and as a result, the Kaliningrad Oblast is responsible for 90% of the world’s amber trade.
Despite bordering the North Sea, the Baltic doesn’t actually mix with it, as the densities are completely different. In fact, the Baltic’s water is about as close to fresh as any seawater can be. You can actually drink Baltic seawater, it doesn’t taste very nice, so you wouldn’t want to do it unless you were in dire straits, but it won’t dehydrate you. 
The drainage of this freshwater creates very verdant, agriculturally suitable land, and about 20% of it is used as such. Another 17% is unused open land, and another 8% is wetland, while the rest is populated with, well, people. 85 million people live in the Baltic drainage basin, and about 17% of them live within 6 miles of the coast. The vast majority of the coastal Baltic population are Polish, but there are several major cities on the coast, including Saint Petersburg, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Riga, Helsinki, Gdansk, Kaliningrad and Malmo. 
This is thanks, in part, to the sea’s role as a major source of fishing trade, but that’s also part of the problem.
The Baltic Sea is now under major environmental threat due to the massive, disproportionate global demand for cod, which only intensifies as their numbers dwindle elsewhere in the world. The depletion of the cod has resulted in an increase in their natural prey – sprat. The sprat have thus caused the number of predatory zooplankton to fall, resulting in massive algal blooms, especially during the summer, when much of the Baltic is bathed in perpetual sunlight. This can change the chemical balance of the water, and actually poison some of the wildlife. 
On a similar basis, eutrophication is becoming a widespread, dangerous issue. Over fertilisation of the land results in excess nutrients seeping into the water, completely disrupting the marine eco-system. In the past 100 years alone, the nitrogen content of the sea has quintupled, and the phosphorus content has octupled. It’s gradually being addressed, but for the moment, it’s not uncommon to see huge swathes of the Baltic turn a very sickly green colour.

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

The Top 5 Largest Waterfalls in the World (Height)

Typically if you want to judge the impressiveness of a waterfall, you look at the height. Oddly though, the tallest waterfalls are rarely the most powerful, since even if a large volume of water is moving at such high altitude, it’s unlikely to come down in a single, consistent cascade.

That being said, the look and sound of a tall waterfall is unlike anything else, and people travel far and wide just to be in the presence of some of the tallest ones. These 5 are nothing short of legendary.
5 – Yumbilla Falls – Peru
Right on the edge of the Andes, there’s a tiny little village called Cuispes, and it’s basically the waterfall capital of the world. There are dozens of waterfalls in the surrounding area, some of them over 400 metres tall, fed by a network of streams and caverns. Yumbilla is by far the tallest, an 896 metre giant with 4 drops. The surrounding area is an excellent spot for wildlife watching, especially given the presence of the marvellous spatuletail hummingbird, and I didn’t add the ‘marvellous’ there, that’s actually what it’s called.
4 – Oloʻupena Falls – Hawaii
If you asked many Americans what they thought the tallest waterfall in America was, they would probably say Yosemite, but in actuality there’s a taller one lurking in the north eastern region of Hawaii. Oloʻupena Falls is a very impressive sight from a distance, a slit of white water carving its way down a dark green cliff face, which also happens to be one of the tallest sea side cliffs in the world, at 900 metres. The falls are so remote that they’re only observable by air or sea; nobody has even been in close proximity to them.
3 – Three Sisters Falls – Peru
Otherwise known as Tres Hermanas Falls, this 3 tiered drop resides in the Ayacucho region in the central highlands. The top two tiers fall into a catch basin, with the third then dumping out into the Cutivireni River, making up a total drop of 914 metres. The falls are flanked by 100ft tall rainforest, and once again they can only be properly observed form the air, as they are so remote. That being said, the falls sit very close to the Pavirontsi Natural Bridge, the largest in the world.
2 – Tugela Falls – South Africa
Over the years, more and more tourists have made the journey through the Royal Natal National Park to the Drakensberg (‘Dragon’s Mountains’). It’s one of the most popular hiking routes in all of South Africa, and being able to stand in the presence of the 948 metre Tugela Falls is the greatest reward of the trip. The water concentration varies from season to season, and there are 5 drops down an escarpment called The Amphitheatre. There are several walking and climbing trails in the area which allow visitors to summit and see the falls from above.
1 – Angel Falls – Venezuela 
This is it, the granddaddy of them all. Angel Falls has a total height of 979 metres, which to put it in perspective is double the height of the Sears Tower, the second tallest building in America, formerly the tallest in the world. The actual plunge – the part where the water is in freefall – lasts for 807 metres. Once it hits the cascade it drops into a high plunge stream and meets the rapids which carry the water to the Churun River. Even from a distance, it’s a spectacular sight that looks like something straight out of a fantasy film set in some forbidden landscape. They were named after Jimmie Angel, the first person to fly over them. The first explorer to clap eyes on them was thought to be Ernesto Sanchez la Cruz in 1912, although the indigenous Pemon people have their own name for it – “Kerepakupai Vená”, which means “waterfall of the deepest place”.

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

Hydroelectric Power: How Does it Work?

Often praised as a highly viable, effective source of renewable energy, hydroelectric power plants provided 70% of the world’s total supply of renewable energy in 2015, and continue to gain more prominence as environmental issues remain firmly at the forefront of public debate.
These plants and their associated dams can vary in size dramatically, ranging anywhere from micro plants which power a small number of homes, to massive installations like the awe-inspiring Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam alone provides a yearly figure of 4.5 billion kilowatt hours of energy to nearly 8 million people in the US, but how exactly do these power plants create electricity from nothing but water? As it turns out, it’s fairly simple.
Img source: wvic.com
First, the dam raises the water level before the plant, creating a drop into shallower waters beyond. As water flows through the dam and over the drop, it pushes large turbines which, via a connected generator, convert the natural kinetic energy into electricity. It essentially works like an underwater windmill, simply substituting the wind for water flow. From there, the electricity is distributed as it would be from any other type of power plant.
The amount of power a hydroelectric dam is capable of generating depends on two major variables: the height of the drop created and the flow rate of the river itself. Both of these will influence how much water passes through the turbines at any given time, being directly proportional to the power created.
You can actually calculate the power output of any given dam fairly easily if you have access to the relevant figures. The formula required to do so is as follows:
Power (in kilowatts) = (Height of Dam) x (River Flow) x (Generator Efficiency) / 11.8
To convert this to the more commonly stated figure of kilowatt-hours, run the solution through the next equation:
Kilowatt-hours = (kilowatt figure) x (24 hours per day) x (365 days per year)
If you then divide the result by 3,000, as 3000 kilowatt-hours is the average energy consumption of one person in the US, you can get a rough idea of how many people the dam can actually serve.
Sam Bonson
Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.

Hydrotherapy – Explained

Img source: freedom-leisure.com
In the most basic terms, hydrotherapy is physiotherapy that’s done in standing water. The water itself is very carefully controlled in terms of temperature, pressure and movement, depending on what the therapy is for. It often plays a vital role in the recovery or on-going treatment process for physical ailments or disabilities, but it can also be good for chronic pain bad circulation, headaches and even anxiety.
For this reason, it’s a very broad definition. You might be getting it in a large pool or a small bath, you might be still or having to move around and you might be alone or with a therapist. Some hydrotherapeutic treatments are prescribed, like say if you had a spinal injury, but spas are often outfitted with a hydrotherapy area or areas which offer a number of different treatments.
In the medical sense, it will usually involve a series of stretches and movements done under supervision, usually whilst floating. This process relaxes the muscles and can also alter the rate of blood flow. In this sense, it can also be used to aid the process of surgically removing dead tissue. Certain types of medical hydrotherapy also use showering, rather than immersion into a standing body, particularly for burn victims.
When you are immersed though, it could be in a pool, an immersion tank or a whirlpool bath. Beyond that, you might be getting a hydro-massage, which involves being sprayed with water jets at different pressures, targeting specific muscle groups, or something involving the application of minerals. Epsom salts, ginger extract, Dead Sea salts, muds and various oils are all used in certain types of hydrotherapy in spas, mostly to treat skin, respiratory or digestive ailments, but also just for relaxation and general cleansing. Mud baths in particular are supposed to be really good for your skin, despite how unpleasant they look from a distance.
Img source: palmbeachdailynews.com
Saunas are a form of hydrotherapy in and of themselves, as are steam rooms. In Scandinavia in particular, daily sauna sessions are almost sworn by as a form of dermatological treatment, and a way of sweating out all the toxins we pick up as we go about our day. Steam rooms have their own benefits, as they offer moist heat, rather than dry heat. Steam rooms are good for respiration, sinus relief and certain types of pressure pain, like headaches. Many people will also perform types of light exercise in steam rooms, particularly hot yoga, which seeks to replicate the humid conditions of India, where the practice originated.
The further away from medical hydrotherapy you go, the less sound the science becomes, and a lot of methods are considered holistic, or even pseudo-science. This is particularly true when meditation becomes involved, despite the fact that meditation is a provably effective form of therapy for many people. One example which combines the two, perhaps the most well-known, is flotation therapy.
Img source: YouTube
Float tanks are filled with warm saltwater, and the person inside is left in a state of almost total sensory deprivation, inducing a relaxed state which would be impossible to achieve without the aid of water and the lack of external distractions. There’s more to it than that though, as the floating state causes blood flow to increase, blood pressure to reduce, postural muscular control in the brain to decrease and natural endorphin production to increase. There’s still a lot of debate, but there can be no argument that time spent in flotation tanks has at least some minor health benefits, even if it’s just mood elevation.
Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. 

The Top 5 Largest Waterfalls in the World (Volume)

How do you measure a waterfall?  There are 3 different values you can use: height, width or volume. Isolate waterfalls by these parameters, and you’ll find yourself looking at 3 very different pictures. A tall waterfall might mist away before it reaches the ground, a wide one might only ever drop off by a few metres, and one which moves a substantial volume of water might not even look like a waterfall to the layman.

There is probably some amazing feat of mathematics which could take an average between the 3 values, but I’m nowhere near as good with numbers as I am with words, so I figured it would make more sense to split this into 3 different lists – the 5 tallest, the 5 widest and the 5 most voluminous. Let’s start with the latter.
5 – Vermillion Falls – Canada
Img source: rexposed.com
The measurement of waterfall volume is an inexact science, and there are many which are said to move more water than Vermillion, or Niagara, but cannot be accurately confirmed as such. For the purposes of this list, we’re sticking to the confirmed, catalogued ones. Located in the Peace River in Alberta, Vermilion only drops by 5 to 6 metres, but it’s almost 2,000 metres wide, and it’s very, very powerful. It is by far the most rapid section of the Peace River, shifting 1,812 cubic metres of water per second, on average.
4 – Niagara Falls – Canada
Img source: visitniagaracanada.com
A far more well-known waterfall, Niagara is actually made of 3 separate falls – the Horseshoe, the American and the Bridal Veil. Together, they make up the highest flow rate of any waterfall on the planet, dumping 2,407 cubic metres of water over the 51 metre drop every second. They span the border between America and Canada, and helping to drain Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. They were formed when the last ice age ended and a huge glacial network began to recede.
3 – Khone Falls – Laos
Img source: allpointseast.com
The Mekong River traces the border between Laos and Cambodia; it’s the 12th longest river on the planet, carrying a huge amount of water down from the Tibetan plateau all the way out to the South China Sea. Nowhere is the river’s power more evident than at the massive Khone Falls. The highest reach is only 21 metres, but the most rapid portion of the falls is 9.7 kilometres long, and prevents the Mekong from being fully navigable. Due to the width and steepness of the cascades, the Khone Falls have an average discharge of 11,610 cubic metres per second.
2 – Boyoma Falls – Democratic Republic of Congo
Img source: srune.com
The Lualaba River is the greatest headstream for the Congo, responsible for a huge portion of its record breaking power. It starts at an elevation of 1,400 metres above sea level, on the Katanga Plateau, and what goes up, must come down, violently so. The Boyoma Falls represent the steepest single descent made by the river before it becomes the Congo, a 100km stretch of 7 cataracts, which drop a total of 61 metres. With an average flow rate of 17,000 cubic metres per second, it’s a treacherous stretch of water. Despite this, the locals still fish there, running wooden struts through holes in the stone to secure baskets.
1 – Inga Falls – Democratic Republic of Congo
Img source: pinterest.com
Unsurprisingly, the most powerful waterfall on the planet is a part of the most powerful river on the planet. Long stretches of the Congo are sedate, and teeming with life, but some 40km out from the port town of Matadi, that changes. Inga is part of a much larger network of rapids called the Livingstone Falls, but it’s by far the most powerful, dropping by 96 metres over 15km. Within that relatively short stretch, it moves an average of 42,466 cubic metres per second, but it’s previously been recorded with a volume of 70,793cms. Inga is also, unsurprisingly, the site of 2 hydroelectric dams, Inga I and Inga II, with the suggestion that there might soon be two more built.

Callum Davies
Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop.