Argentina: Iguacu waterfalls
Loamy yellow waters of Rio Iguacu flow ahead, framed in luxuriant rising „sea“ of South-American plants and rainy virgin forest. It seems that this is a river, similar to many others in South-American continent. Anyway, the importance of this water flow, as border river, could not be of any mention. In its middle part, it forms 100 kms border section between Argentina in south and Brasil in north. Sooner, as the river – in a point of contact of borders of three states (Brasil, Argentina and Paraguay) – finally mouths into grand-river of Parana, this idyll is suddenly finished with country breakage. The waves of Iguacu river rush (accross rocky basalt corner), via two big, 70 metres high stone stages, and at powerful thundering, into precipice. So, these are waterfalls of Iguacu-river, Saltos do Iguacu. With its 275 separate rapids, they are, except of famous Canadian-American Niagara Falls, and except of Victoria Falls, located on Zambezi-river (between the states of Zambia and Zimbabwe in Africa), most amazing natural view of such art. Water masses rumble in its four kilometers width into main gap of sickle form, more than 1 km long. Its name is Devil´s Ravine at its end. Further, along the stream, the river flows through canon. Foamed water-masses rush accross big rocky stages, and fill up the whole ravine with its eternal roaring. Tonns of waters roll ahead, it seems that it would be heavy, and with thundering via waterfalls edges down into abyss, and all is covered into sparkling steam. Separate waterfall streams engraved on its ways into the rock and rush
vertically into depth of Iguacu river. You can hear, even in long distance, steady rumbling of this grandious water phenomenon. Each second flows here 1750 cubic meters of water, and this quantity could completely fill up great swimming pool. Rocky stages and canon, where Iguacu-river surges in, were established by a breakage in a plate from 1600 meters thick vulcanic rock. It is named Parana-Bassalte, and covers the surface bigger than 1million of square kilometres. So, this is one of biggest eruptive rocks formations on the Earth. In spite of the fact, that Iguacu Waterfalls belong partially to Brasil and partially to Argentina, they are not so famous as Niagara Falls or Victoria Falls, they are also visited by tourists. The visitors can walk, across small bridges over the gap, along the whole front of waterfall, or they can be drown, by means of light motor boats, towards close vicinity of the precipice. The helicopters offer the chance to follow (watch) phantastic view from the air, and two hotels, located in the neighbourhood, enable a stay directly in this protected area.
Nevertheless, nature miracle Iguacu, obtain a competition of North, in a form of „technical miracle“. On a border between Paraguay and Brasil, in a distance of 40 kms from Iguacu Waterfalls, both states built – on Parana-river- one of greatest water power stations of the world: Itaipu Electric Power Station. First of all: river flow was taken away into new river-basin. By means of 8 millions kgs of cracks, there was - within two years - broken through a canal in a rock (two kilometers long, 50 metres wide, 90 meters deep). It is the greatest river turning movement, ever realized by man. The construction of power station started in 1979, and its termination was effected in 1983. The pier is 7,7 kms long, whereas the length of main dam-wall is 1,2 kms, its width is nearly 100 metres. Twenty-eight turbines of 14000 megawatt capacity supply two-thirds of total electric energy, which was produced in whole Brasil in past. Despite of this fact, Iguacu waterfalls remain with their smaller but more natural dimensions, a bigger attraction.
Text: J. Štantejský and Monumente der Welt
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