This is the highest waterfall in the world, and you'll never guess where it is (PHOTO)

Angel Falls, in Venezuela, is said to be the highest waterfall on Earth. Except that's not quite true.

highest waterfall world underwater earth
© Jonatan Pie / Unsplash
highest waterfall world underwater earth

While some waterfalls, such as the 40 km-wide Victoria Falls, are impressive in their sheer size, on paper, Venezuela's Angel Falls is the world's highest waterfall at 979 metres high. El Salto del Ángel, as it's called in the original version, would appear to be indisputable. However, the Earth being what it is - 70% made of water, among other things - it's only fair to give credit where credit is due, and declare that no, she's not the champion.

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Underwater waterfall

Incredible as it may seem, the world's largest waterfall is located... underwater! Known as the Denmark Strait Cataract, it lies in the depths between southeastern Greenland and eastern Iceland. And at 3.5 kilometers high, the Angel Falls waterfall pales in comparison.

Stretching over a width of 160 kilometers, this XXL waterfall, discovered in 1989, also beats Victoria Falls to the punch, ensuring its place as the overall winner. According to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Denmark Strait cataract has a flow rate of over 5 million cubic metres - the equivalent of 2,000 Niagara Falls. And that's just the beginning!

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How is this possible?

The figures are pretty impressive, but how can a waterfall exist underwater? The answer lies in the difference in temperature. According to NOAA, cold water is denser than warm water. So when ocean currents meet, cold water will be projected under warmer water. Add to this an underwater depression and you get the Denmark Strait cataract.

But with global warming leading to a rise in sea and ocean temperatures, geoscientists such as Anna Sanchez Vidal from the University of Barcelona fear that there will be less and less cold water, which in time would have an impact not only on the waterfall's flow, but also on deep ecosystems and global climate regulation.

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This article has been translated from Gentside FR.

Sources used:

NOAA: Where is Earth’s Largest Waterfall?

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