What is meant by 'number of drops' of the waterfall?

by Jay

I've seen Victoria Falls with a classification of 1 as its number of drops, and Angels with that of 47; what does it mean?

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Jun 25, 2011
Number of Drops
by: World of Waterfalls

Sometimes instead of number of drops, we can say number of tiers.

Anyways, the short answer is the number of drops tries to tell you how many steep sections (steep enough for each section to be called a waterfall on its own) does the whole waterfall have?

But as you'll see below (or in this article), there is some subjectivity to this metric.

Here are some examples.
Victoria Falls. Even though this is a very wide waterfall, I think it's reasonable to say that the Zambezi River drops significantly as a waterfall only once. Therefore, we'd say this has one drop.

Angel Falls. We can see there's obviously one giant plunge, but you could argue there are cascades further downstream that bring up its number of drops count. I guess the source you've cited has it at 47, but to me it seems like there are far fewer drops than that (maybe 2 or 3) since I wouldn't count most of whatever they're counting in the cascades further downstream as significant drops

Mitchell Falls. This remote waterfall looks like it obviously has four drops. From what I could tell on our visit here, there weren't any other significant cascades or other tiers that would've bumped up this count.

Yosemite Falls. This one is commonly said to have three tiers (or drops) - Upper Falls, Lower Falls, and Middle Cascades. But as you can see in this photo, you could argue that the Middle Cascades has multiple drops in it.

Vernal Fall and Nevada Falls. You can make the case that this is two waterfalls each with one drop, or they're actually one waterfall with two drops. Where do you draw the line between where one waterfall ends and where the next one begins? Or how far apart must they be to become different waterfalls?

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