The highest conventional waterfall in the world is Angel Falls, Venezuela, it is 17 times higher than Niagara. Angel Falls are named after James Angel, whose plane crash-landed on a nearby mesa in 1937. Mesa is Spanish for 'table' and means a flat-topped mountain.
There are two towns called Niagara Falls on either side of the falls. Both towns spent more than 100 years making up their mind what to call themselves. The town of Niagara Falls on the Canadian side has been variously known as Elgin, Clifton and Stamford, and the American one as Fort Schlosser, Manchester, Suspension Bridge and Clarksville.
Motion after-effect is an illusion of movement which one gets when looking at a stationary object after spending time looking after continuous movement. The effect was first described by Robert Addams who was inspired by a trip to the Falls of Foyers near Loch Ness - after admiring the waterfall for a while, he looked at nearby rocks and they seemed to be moving upwards.
The second-highest waterfall in Canada doesn’t have a name. It’s known as ‘unnamed waterfall’.
Annie Taylor was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, in 1901. She survived the experience. The second, Bobby Leach, also survived the fall and died some years later in New Zealand, of gangrene caused by injuries resulting from slipping on an orange peel. Charles Stephens, a 58-year-old father of 11 from Bristol, lost his life in 1920; only his tattooed right arm (‘Forget Me Not Annie’) was found in the remains of the barrel. He had strapped his feet to the anvil ballast, which shot straight through the bottom of the barrel when it hit the water and his body was never recovered; the arm was buried in a local cemetery.
Of the 16 known barrel-drops, six have died. A jumper will reach a speed of 352.8km per hour by the time they reach the bottom. Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the Channel, died attempting to swim across the Niagara Falls Whirlpool Rapids in 1883.
The Niagara Falls bridge began life as a small boy’s kite. The string of his kite was fastened to a tree on the far side of the river, a light cord attached to it, and carefully pulled across. Next came a heavier cord, then rope and finally a wire cable. The following year, the Falls dried up altogether for 40 hours owing to an ice jam upriver - so if they'd waited a year they could have saved themselves $5.
Chimpanzees sometimes perform religious-like dances when they see particularly impressive waterfalls.
The world’s highest waterfall is underneath the Denmark Strait – which can be found between Greenland and Iceland. This underwater waterfall has a 3.5 km drop. That’s more than three times higher than Venezuela’s Angel Falls (1km) and nearly 70 times higher than Niagara (51m).
It’s also the fastest flowing waterfall in the world – 300 times faster than the Cuaira Falls which is on the border of Brazil and Paraguay.
Frogs living close to waterfalls sometimes communicate by semaphore to counter the sound of the water.
Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea.