Zimbabwe :: Four Nations
Category: Attraction :: Waterfall
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Geology buffs may be interested to know that the Falls, in geological years, is but an embryo. About a million years ago, the Zambezi River flowed from the north uninterrupted southwards, to where the Matetsi River today flows into the Zambezi. Here, the river fell over a 250 m drop, over thousands of years gradually eroding away the ‘lip’ of the waterfall.
Further upstream, in the Batoka Gorge Region, weaknesses in the rock, called fissures, filled with softer sandstone, eroded faster than the basalt, and about 40 000 years ago, formed a deep crack, with the basalt forming a solid rock wall over which the river falls, creating a new waterfall further upstream. The water now erodes a new fissure behind this wall of rock, and the process is repeated, and the falls retreat further upstream. The eight gorges which lend the Zambezi its zig-zag flow just below the Falls were all formed in this manner. Careful observers will be able to spot the beginning of a new fissure on the eastern side of Devil’s Cataract, where the water is gradually wearing away at yet another weakness to form a new waterfall a few thousand years from now.
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