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Friday, 6 June 2014

Horizontal Falls | Kimberley, Australia

The Horizontal Falls or Horizontal Waterfalls (nicknamed the "Horries") is the name given to a natural phenomenon on the coast of the Kimberley region in Western Australia. The Horizontal Falls are one of the most amazing natural features of the Kimberley region.  The tidal waterfalls located deep within Talbot Bay in the Buccaneer Archipelago are unlike any other waterfall, the water passes horizontally. Although they are called waterfalls, this natural phenomenon actually consists of intense tidal currents hurtling through two narrow coastal gorges. Massive tidal movements create a waterfall effect as water banks up against one side of the narrow cliff passage, to be repeated again on the turning tide.

Horizontal Falls | Kimberley, Australia
Image credit Philip Schubert

The twin gaps are part of the McLarty Ranges, which have two ridges running parallel approximately 300 meters apart. The first and most seaward gap is about 20 meters wide and the second, most spectacular, gap is about 10 meters wide.

It is possible to drive boats through the two gaps to the bay behind. The tides in this area have a 10 meter variation which occurs over six and a half hours from low tide to high tide and vice versa. The effect of the waterfalls is created by the tide building up in front of the gaps faster than it can flow through them and there can be a four meter high waterfall between the bays.

Horizontal Falls | Kimberley, Australia
Image credit Mike Haxby

Horizontal Falls | Kimberley, Australia
Image credit Greer Gavin

Horizontal Falls | Kimberley, Australia
Image credit Philip Schubert

Horizontal Falls | Kimberley, Australia
Image credit Greer Gavin

Horizontal Falls | Kimberley, Australia
Image credit Stephen Fox

Horizontal Falls | Kimberley, Australia
Image credit teloro

Horizontal Falls | Kimberley, Australia
Image credit Margaret Martin

Horizontal Falls | Kimberley, Australia
Image credit teloro

Horizontal Waterfalls, Talbot Bay, Western Australia
Horizontal Waterfalls, Talbot Bay, Western Australia. Image credit Shaun R

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