Angel Falls, a waterfall in Venezuela is the world's highest waterfall at 979metres (15 times the height of the Niagara Falls) with a clear drop of 807metres and a 152metre wide base. Angel Falls plunges off the edge of a table-top mountain, known as Auyan Tepui (“Devils Mountain”) in Canaiman National Park. The base of the falls feeds into the Kerep River which flows into the Churún River, a tributary of the Carrao River.
Formation of the Angel Falls
Angel Falls is part of the plateau that underlies the lands located in Venezuela. The plateau's age is estimated at two billion years. Important geological transformations can be seen at the park, from its beginnings in the Precambrian period dating back to the time of the formation of the supercontinent Pangaea.
The continent began to separate due to the formation of a fracture in the Earth's crust resulting in the formation of the Atlantic Ocean, and the creation of different portions of lands called shields. The geographic region in Venezuela, known as the Guyanese Shield, existed from the start as a great plain at an elevation about 2000 to 3000metres. After approximately 400 to 200 million years ago, a series of climate-related phenomena caused important changes in the geography of the Guyanese Shield.
The transformation of the landscape was due to drastic variations from arid climate to strong, constant and lingering precipitations, discharges of high and low temperatures and the tectonic movements of the earth. Erosion occurred due to atmospheric agents removing material deposited in the great plain millions of years. In places where rocks were less resistant, the erosion was greater, resulting in the transformation of the Falls.
Angel Falls is formed through faulting. Faulting is the process of movement of rocs along a break or in the Earth’s crust. Faulting causes displacement of rocks and elevates one block of land above the other. When a river flows down the edge of an elevated block, a waterfall is formed. Repeated pounding on the riverbed by the force of the falling water creates a plunge pool.
Angel Falls is situated in the Gran Sabana region of Venezuela. The periphery of this area is filled with grasslands, whereas deeper into the Gran Sabana, one will find a dense tropical rainforest. This part of the world is remarkable for its numerous tepuis, flat-topped mountains with vertical walls. Angel Falls is located on the side of an extremely large and high tepui known as Auyan Tepui.
There is an incredible variety of tropical wildlife in the area, including monkeys, poison arrow frogs, and hundreds of species of orchids. Mammals in the area are generally difficult to spot but they include giant anteaters, armadillos, porcupines, three-toed sloths, otters, jaguars, pumas, tapirs, and capybaras.