Saturday, December 31, 2011

Waterfalls going up

While driving along the southern coast of Iceland in summer of 2011 we just had to stop to take these pictures.

They are all taken from the road with long zoom ranges and therefore big apperatures to start with as well as some handling and shaking issues. I do admit it. The stories they tell, I do want to present, though.
This will be a long post of mine, hang in there.

What you see there is the mountain edge just off the coast. The coast mostly is low land, sands and garvel beds or lava flows and remains. Then, just a bit in from the coastline is the cliff edge that rises up to plateaus or the mountains inlands. Since there is water up ontop of that edge, it is natural that many waterfalls - small and large - come down from that cliff edge and make the drive along the southern coast very interesting.

The winds whipping up from the sea shore create a sight of their own, though.

With this waterfall you could really doubt your eyes. Blowing up was not a direction I had seen with waterfalls before. Water in Iceland goes any direction you can imagine, just check out all those photos I posted over time. But waterfalls rising are truely worth a picture - or would you believe me, otherways?

There are two more things I have notices about this scene, that I would like to draw your attention to. Stay with me for a moment, ok?

If you look at the picutre on the top again: Can you see that despite all the waterfalls there is hardly any water in the lower section? If the wind whips enough, we saw the bottom stay dry for quite a while. That is a strange impact on the ecosystem around the falls.

The other thing I noticed you can see in the two almost identical photos of the black and red cliff (photo 2 and 3 in this post): The rock often consits of very different material, layered, mingled and partially penetrated by each other. This is not folded rock as in the alps but it is lava of differend erruptions and times that worked their way through each other.

What these falls do, of course, is wear down their river bed and potentially create a big pool at the bottom that is hollowed out by the thundering water. What it does as well, though, is cause erosion right underneath the main fall. This leads to sections of rock falling (not being washed out) and therefore these caves behind waterfalls come into existence. Seljalandsfoss probably was shaped this way. 

Check out my posts about that incredible place as well!

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