Dry waterfalls

What are dry waterfalls and why are they dry?

Comments for Dry waterfalls

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 10, 2012
Dry Falls or Dry Waterfalls...
by: World of Waterfalls

I think Dry Falls or Dry Waterfalls are essentially drainages with ephemeral or very seasonal streams that cascade or plunge over quick changes in elevation (e.g. over a cliff).

So given the short duration of these particular drainages having water, they're usually dry.

To my knowledge, these mostly occur in deserts where you have washes or slot canyons that normally don't see water until they get flash floods from monsoonal thunderstorms or strong precipitation from a storm system. Then within a day or at most a few weeks, the waterfalls go dry. We saw examples of this in Zion National Park.

You could also have geologic and climatic factors from the past the essentially altered the course of a particular river thereby depriving a waterfall of its water. I know there's a dramatic example of this from a massive waterfall (probably grander than Niagara Falls) somewhere in the Upper Grand Coulee drainage within the state of Washington.

In terms of man-made dry falls, you could have damming and/or diversion causing once permanent or reliable waterfalls to essentially become dry waterfalls. There are lots of examples of this: Mongefossen, Tyssestrengene, Ringedalsfossen, Lagarfoss, etc.

Something to watch out for is the trend of changing global precipitation patterns as well as continued damming and diversion of once permanent streams and rivers turning once permanent and reliable waterfalls into seasonal and eventually dry falls when the drainage ultimately becomes ephemeral. This isn't as far-fetched as one might think considering that we're hitting a breaking point on Nature's balancing act against the activities of humankind.

Great question!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Questions for the Waterfalls FAQ.