Cliffs are common on coasts, in mountainous areas, escarpments and along rivers. Cliffs are usually formed by rock that is resistant to erosion and weathering. Sedimentary rocks most likely to form cliffs include sandstone, limestone, chalk, and dolomite. Igneous rocks such as granite and basalt also often form cliffs. An escarpment (or scarp) is a type of cliff, formed by the movement of a geologic fault, or a landslide. Cliffs are known for forming major geographical features such as waterfalls.
The Ordnance Survey distinguishes between cliffs (continuous line along the top edge with projections down the face) and outcrops (continuous lines along lower edge).
Major cliffs[change | change source]
Asia[change | change source]
- Nanga Parbat, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, 4600 m
- Great Trango Towers, Baltoro Muztagh, Northern Areas, Pakistan, 1340 m
- Uli Biaho Towers, Baltoro Glacier, Northern Areas, Pakistan
- Baintha Brakk (The Ogre), Panmah Muztagh, Northern Areas, Pakistan
- The Latok Group, Panmah Muztagh, Northern Areas, Pakistan
- Various cliffs in the Ak-Su Valley of Kyrgyzstan cliffs are high and steep.
- Masada, Israel, Dead Sea
Europe[change | change source]
- Hornelen, Norway, 860 m above Frøysjøen
- Cape Enniberg, Faroe Islands, 750 m above North Atlantic
- Croaghaun, Achill Island, Ireland, 668 m above Atlantic Ocean
- Vixía Herbeira, Northern Galicia, Spain, 621 m above Atlantic Ocean
- Preikestolen, Norway, 604 m above Lysefjorden
- Slieve League, Ireland, 601 m above Atlantic Ocean
- Cabo Girão, Madeira, 589 m above Atlantic Ocean
- Conachair, St Kilda, Scotland 427 m above Atlantic Ocean
- Cap Canaille, France, 416 m above Mediterranean Sea is the highest sea cliff in France
- St John's Head (Hoy Orkney Islands Scotland) at 335 m is the most vertical sea cliff in the UK
- Hangman cliffs, Devon, 318 m above Bristol Channel is the highest sea cliff in England
- Troll Wall, Norway 1100 m above base
- Mięguszowiecki Szczyt north face rises to 1043 m above Morskie Oko lake level, High Tatras, Poland
- Kjerag, Norway 984 m
- Mały Kieżmarski Szczyt (north face), Tatra Mountains, Slovakia about 900 m denivelation (vertical rise)
- Giewont (north face), Tatra Mountains, Poland, 852 m above Polana Strążyska glade
- Kazalnica Mięguszowiecka, Tatra Mountains, Poland, 576 m above the Czarny Staw pod Rysami
- The six great north faces of the Alps (Cima Grande di Lavaredo, Eiger, Grandes Jorasses, Matterhorn, Petit Dru and Piz Badile)
North America[change | change source]
- Mount Thor, Baffin Island, Canada; 1,370 m (4,500 ft) total; top 480 m (1,600 ft) is overhanging. This is commonly regarded as being the largest purely vertical drop on Earth at 1,250 m (4,100 ft).
- The sheer north face of Polar Sun Spire, in the Sam Ford fjord of Baffin Island, has been reported as exceeding Mount Thor's west face in height.
- Ketil's west face in Tasermiut, Greenland (also known as God's Thumbnail), has been reported as 1,400 – 1,450 m high, but there are arguments.
Other notable cliffs include:
- Mount Asgard, Baffin Island, Canada; vertical drop of about 1,200 m (4,000 ft).
- A variety of other cliffs measured at approximately 1,000 m (3,280 ft) in height can be found along the Sam Ford fjord in Baffin Island, such as Walker Citadel, Kiguti Peak and Great Sail Peak, whilst there are others in Querbitter Fjord, and in Tasermiut, Greenland.
- El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, Sierra Nevada, California, United States; about 900 m (3,000 ft) high
- Northwest Face of Half Dome, near El Capitan; 1,340 m (4,400 ft) total, vertical portion about 610 m (2,000 ft)
- Painted Wall in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Colorado, United States; 685 m (2,250 ft)
- The west face of Notch Peak in southwestern Utah, United States; a limestone cliff of about 670 m (2,200 ft)
- All faces of Devil's Tower, Wyoming, United States
- Various faces of Shiprock, New Mexico, United States
- The North Face of North Twin Peak, Rocky Mountains, Alberta, Canada
- All walls of the Stawamus Chief, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
- Calvert Cliffs along the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland
- Mt Siyeh Glacier National Park North Face 4200 ft sheer cliff
South America[change | change source]
- Autana Tepui, Venezuela, stands 1,300 m above the forest floor.
- Auyan Tepui, Venezuela, about 1000 m (location of Angel Falls) (the falls are 979 m, the highest in the world)
- Pared de Gocta, Peru, 771 m
- Fortaleza canyon, Aparados da Serra National Park, Brazil, about 720 m
- Pedra Azul, Pedra Azul State Park, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 540 m
- Pão de Açúcar/Sugar Loaf, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 395 m
- All faces of Cerro Torre, Patagonia, Chile-Argentina
- All faces of Cerro Chalten (Fitz Roy), Patagonia, Argentina-Chile
- Various faces of the Torres del Paine group, Patagonia, Chile
Africa[change | change source]
- Kogelberg, Western Cape, South Africa, 1289 m above False Bay, Atlantic Ocean
- Table Mountain, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, 1086 m above Atlantic Ocean
- Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, South Africa. A series of 17 precipitous peaks (all sharp cliff faces) ranging from ca 700 m to 1067 m above the Atlantic Ocean
- Risco de Faneque, Gran Canaria-Canary Islands, Spain, 1027 m above Atlantic Ocean
- Guguy's Cliffs, Gran Canaria-Canary Islands, Spain, 725 m above Atlantic Ocean
- La Mérica, La Gomera-Canary Islands, Spain, 711 m above Atlantic Ocean
- Andén Verde, Gran Canaria-Canary Islands, Spain, 690 m above Atlantic Ocean
- Karbonkelberg, Western Cape, South Africa, 653 m above Hout Bay, Atlantic Ocean
- La Peña's Cliffs, El Hierro-Canary Islands, Spain, 652 m above Atlantic Ocean
- Los Gigantes, Tenerife-Canary Islands, Spain, 637 m above Atlantic Ocean
Oceania[change | change source]
References[change | change source]
Footnotes[change | change source]
- "Natural world: the solar system: highest cliffs". Guinness World Records. http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/content_pages/record.asp?recordid=54819. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
- "Polar Sun Spire". SummitPost.Org. http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/152417/polar-sun-spire.html. Retrieved 2008-07-31.
- "Climbing in Tasermiut". bigwall.dk. http://www.bigwall.dk/galleri/klatring/tasermiu/pages-uk/uk05keti.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-30.
- "The American Alpine Journal 1986". http://www.americanalpineclub.org/AAJO/pdfs/1986/175_canada_greenland_aaj1986.pdf. Retrieved 2008-09-02.