I appreciate a broad rather than narrow definition of a waterfall.
Bryan and I have been taken to task by several somewhat indignant members of the waterfall community at large for having a broad definition of what defines a waterfall. Indeed, one gentleman rather snidely insinuated that our datum contains “all” waterfalls, including those that flow only part of the year.
If we accepted his more perennial definition, we’d have to exclude Yosemite and Tugela Falls as well as many others.
Most waterfall lists include Tugela (at one of several possible heights) but don’t realize that it is virtually dry for 8-9 months of the year.
The National Geographic Society has occasionally taken a swipe, but they still include Salto del Guaira in their datum, and that’s been inundated by the backwater of the Itaipu dam for over 25 years now…
Please forgive us for taking them with a grain of salt.
Personally, I follow this axiom: If it looks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it’s most likely a duck. Nomenclature is tricky and inconsistent, so I rely on visual cues rather than naming convention.
Italy’s Cascata del Marmore is the result of a relocated watercourse, and it’s quite spectacular. A little manmade waterfall in a park? No. But Marmore relies on a natural cliff, so it’s an issue that could be successfully argued both ways.
Again, my definition is inclusive rather than exclusive, so we elected to include it in our datum.
Many of the smaller northeastern waterfalls were named by loggers, and I suppose if I were riding a bunch of fast moving floating logs with nothing but hob nailed boots and a pike, I’d likely consider a 3 foot drop to be a waterfall too.
The ultimate examples of short waterfalls might be Pennsylvania’s McKees Half Falls (a river wide ledge that can’t drop anymore than a foot and a half) or Florida’s “Look and Tremble” Falls, named sarcastically by the boating community. They’re both colloquially named, and I’ll go with the collective view from the locals.