10 Most Incredible Cave Waterfalls on Earth
Waterfalls are some of the most beautiful natural forms that can be found in the world, their shimmering streams of water hurtling downwards. More fantastic still are waterfalls buried beneath the earth, as rivers flow between stone and rock to form underground torrents. Here are 10 of the most amazing cave waterfalls on the planet.
10. Natural Bridge, Springbrook Park, Australia
9. Smoo Cave, Scotland
The Smoo Caves are unique in the UK for having been formed by both rainwater and by seawater: the first chamber is a tidal gorge, while the inner chambers have been formed by freshwater erosion. They also contain the largest sea cave in Britain, the main chamber of which measures 120ft wide and 45ft high. The name ‘Smoo’ is thought to be derived from the Norse ‘smjugg’, meaning hole, creek or cleft. Aside from containing a huge salt water-formed cavern, the caves also include a waterfall; the Allt Smoo river flows through the roof of the cave system, down the Fallis Smoo (or chimney Smoo), before plummeting 80ft to fill a 25ft deep pool of water.
8. Mine St Michel, Luxembourg
This waterfall is one of several in the Spring Room of the Marvel Cave, sitting some 500ft underground. The caves system was originally called Marble Cave, as early explorers believed that they could see marble on the cave’s roof – though they were eventually proved wrong. A theme park, Silver Dollar City, now sits atop the cave mouth.
7. White Scar Cave, Yorkshire
The White Scar Cave is the longest show cave in Britain and features a 300ft long chamber, with a 90ft ceiling, known as the Battlefield Cavern. Sitting in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the caves were only discovered in 1923 but run for miles. The caves also feature several waterfall chambers, which feed into the subterranean river Greta.
6. Gaping Gill, UK
The cavern is found in the side of the 2,373ft limestone mountain, Ingleborough, the second largest peak in the Yorkshire Dales, and was formed by water erosion from the Fell Beck stream – which after falling through the chamber, re-emerges further down the mountain.
5. Złoty Stok, Poland
This amazing shot was taken in the Złoty Stok gold mine in Poland. The 30ft waterfall sits at the end of 600ft of hand cut mines, which were first excavated in the 17th century. Now you can tour these antique passages, which have lain unused for decades.
4. La Grotte aux Fees, Valais, Switzerland
3. Thunderhead Falls, South Dakota, USA
After falling 600ft, the Thunderhead Falls hit the pool seen above – at a rate of 8 cubic feet, or 500lb of water, per second. The tunnels were blasted out with gunpowder over the course of 20 years to get at the gold deposits contained within. It was 50 years later that the caves were opened to the public after a curious passer by noticed water running from the mountainside.
2. Ruby Falls, Tennessee, USA
The Falls have been a tourist attraction for 80 years, and have inspired musicians ranging from Johnny Cash (who wrote ‘See Ruby Fall’) to Mastodon (who recorded a music video in the chamber).
1. Waiahuakua Sea Cave, Hawaii, USA
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