A waterfall is a point in a river or stream where water flows over a vertical drop or a series of steep drops. Waterfalls also occur where meltwater drops over the edge of a tabular iceberg or ice shelf.
Waterfalls can be formed in several ways, but the most common and popularly accepted method of formation is that a river courses over a top layer of resistant bedrock before falling on to softer rock, which erodes faster, leading to an increasingly high fall. Waterfalls have been studied for their impact on species living in and around them.
Humans have had a distinct relationship with waterfalls for years, travelling to see them, exploring and naming them. They can present formidable barriers to navigation along rivers. Waterfalls are religious sites in many cultures. Since the 18th century they have received increased attention as tourist destinations, sources of hydropower, and—particularly since the mid-20th century—as subjects of research.