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How was the Victoria Falls Formed?
January 25, 2006
January 25, 2006 Issue #0011


Written by Enestle Zimba,
Founding Editor
(c) copyright 2006 Zambia African


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================== TABLE OF CONTENTS ===================

o Africa’s Best Kept Secret
o Just My Thoughts
o Resource Centre
o Free Trials


o Why is Zambia Africa’s best kept secret?

...Because of the Victoria Falls. How was it formed?

The Zambezi River used to flow southwards into a basin in
Kalahari Desert of Botswana. Then a volcanic eruption
occurred about 70 kilometres up stream of the present day
Victoria Falls. It produced a thick dark flowing material,
a molten rock called lava. The red hot molten rock mass
flowed on the land surface and filled the low lying areas
including the channel of the Zambezi River.

In this way the lava diverted the Zambezi River water from
flowing southwards to flowing eastwards. Thus formed the
present day Zambezi River channel that flows eastwards to
the Indian Ocean. The dark viscous lava from the volcano
was composed of basalt rock material. When it cooled down
it formed a very hard rock, the basalt.

The softer rock under the hard basalt rock was easily
eroded. The gushing water cut through the soft rock to
form a gap with a cliff on both sides. With the passage of
time the cliff became deeper as the water dug deeper at
the bottom of the falls.

Geological interpretation has defined parallel lines of
weakness observed along the east-west direction. During
the life of one waterfall the water from the river dug a
crevice upstream and along this line of weakness. As the
crack grew longer and deeper the chasm became a waterfall.
The previous waterfall then became a gorge.

These parallel fissures were opened up one after another
by the river water up stream of the waterfall. The whole
process has been repeated many times over. In fact nine
times because today’s Victoria Falls is the tenth future gorge.

Interpretation of the geology at Victoria Falls shows
that the face of the falls has migrated up stream to many
different positions. That one after another a line of
weakness became a waterfall. And the former waterfall
became a gorge. The consecutive gorges now form the zigzag
gorges along the Zambezi River channel. This process has
continued over the last 150 million years. Not a long time
in geological terms.

Even the current waterfalls will become a gorge once a new
waterfall forms up stream. Behold! In fact, a brand new
waterfall is currently in the making at this very moment. Wow!

A line of weakness has been observed along the east-west
direction. It starts off at the Main Falls on the
Zimbabwean side and cuts across the Zambezi River to the
Zambian side up stream. It cuts the river at an acute
(small) angle. When this waterfall finally forms it will
face Zambia. But you will have to wait for a very long,
long time... perhaps 150,000 million years.

But not to worry, in the last 150 years since Dr David
Livingstone sighted the falls virtually nothing has changed
at Victoria Falls and the surrounding area.


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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~JUST MY THOUGHTS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Victoria Falls is an interesting place. Besides its
size, its being the world’s largest waterfall, the Victoria
Falls is mystic and unique. Why? Because there are two
rainbows. Well not two, but two types of rainbows.

During daylight the plumes of mist formed by the falling
water plunging below the cliff when struck by the sun
produces a rainbow. The rainbow rises from the west (near
the Zimbabwe side) and falls in the east (towards Zambia).
This is the solar rainbow.

At night, on a clear moonlight night, another rainbow
forms. This one is a wee bit different in that it rises in
the opposite side of the falls and drops on the other side.
Now that’s our lunar rainbow.

Why does the solar rainbow appear to drop in the east and
the lunar rainbow points westwards? This question of
opposing rainbows continues to puzzle many minds, and
great minds at that. What phenomenon drives this mystery?

The mind boggles!

Come and visit us, you might just be the harbinger who
solves our little mystery.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~RESOURCES CENTRE~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~FREE TRIALS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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And keep on going on : -)



Written by: Enestle Zimba
Africa’s Best Kept Secret Ezine (Abkse)
(c) copyright 2006 Zambia African
73 Eucalyptus Avenue,
Luanshya, Zambia

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