[waw-ter-fawl, wot-er-]

Area where flowing river water drops abruptly and nearly vertically. A waterfall may also be termed a falls, or, when large volumes of water are involved, a cataract. Waterfalls of small height and less steepness or a series of small falls are called cascades. Still gentler stretches of river that exhibit turbulent flow and white water are called rapids.

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Waterfall, at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Approximately twice as wide and twice as deep as Niagara Falls, the falls span the entire breadth of the Zambezi River at one of its widest points (more than 5,500 ft [1,700 m]). There the river plunges over a precipice, split by islands and promontories, to a drop of 355 ft (108 m). Two national parks, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Mosi-oa-Tunya in Zambia, are adjacent to the falls. Victoria Falls was designated a World Heritage site in 1989. The first European sighting of the falls was in 1855 by David Livingstone, who named them after Queen Victoria.

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City (pop., 2000: 123,975), southeastern South Dakota, U.S. Founded in 1857, the area was abandoned in 1862 following an Indian uprising. With the establishment of Fort Dakota on the site in 1865 the settlers gradually returned. Sioux Falls is the state's largest city, and it is a commercial and financial centre in a livestock-farming region, with one of the largest livestock markets in the U.S. Nearby was one of the world's first commercial nuclear power plants, decommissioned in 1967. The Earth Resource Observation Systems (EROS) Data Center is located in the city.

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Great falls of the Niagara River, on the U.S.-Canadian border. They are divided by Goat Island into the Horseshoe (or Canadian) Falls and the American Falls. At the foot of the American Falls is the Cave of the Winds, a large rocky chamber formed by erosion. The river below the falls flows between high cliffs, forming Whirlpool Rapids. Bridges spanning the river include Rainbow Bridge between the U.S. and Canadian cities of Niagara Falls. French missionary Louis Hennepin visited in 1678. Tourism is a major industry, and the falls are a hydroelectric centre.

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Cataract on the Potaro River, west-central Guyana. After a sheer drop of 741 ft (226 m), the falls pass into a gorge 5 mi (8 km) long, which descends another 81 ft (25 m). The falls are 300 to 350 ft (90 to 105 m) wide at the top and are the central feature of Kaieteur National Park (1930).

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formerly Grand Falls

Part of a series of cataracts and rapids on the Churchill River, Newfoundland, Canada. The falls drop 245 ft (75 m) and are 200 ft (60 m) wide. They power one of Canada's largest hydroelectric stations. Visited in 1839 by John McLean of the Hudson's Bay Company, the cataracts were called Grand Falls until 1965, when both falls and river were renamed for Winston Churchill, who died that year.

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Angel Falls (Salto Ángel), La Gran Sabana region of Bolívar state, Venezuela.

Waterfall, southeastern Venezuela. It lies on the Churún River, a tributary of the Caroní, southeast of Ciudad Bolívar. The highest waterfall in the world, the cataract drops 3,212 ft (979 m) and is 500 ft (150 m) wide at its base. It was named for James Angel, an American who crash-landed his plane nearby in 1937.

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