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Schwarzenbach Falls

Main characteristics

Coordinates: 66.5052 N 65.5227 W
No:457        (list of all attractions)
Category:Waterfalls
Values:Geology, Visual
Rank:3
Address:North America, Canada, Nunavut, souther part of Baffin Island, Auyuittuq National Park, western tributary of Weasel River in Pangnirtung Pass
Alternate names:Qulitasaniakvik (Inuktitut name), Schwartzenbach Falls (erroneous)
Total height:˜ 520 m
Tallest drop:˜ 200 m
Drops:1 major drop and very steep run on cliffs
Width:˜ 30 m
Average annual flow:3 m3/s
Maximum flow:7 m3/s
Stream:unnamed (?) western tributary of Weasel River

The otherwordly beauty of Auyuittuq National Park would not be complete without Schwarzenbach Falls - northernmost large waterfall of the world, approximately 520 m tall.

This waterfall has formed in hanging valley (Qijuttaaqanngittuq valley), which was formed by a glacier which here joined another, much larger glacier which was flowing through Pangnirtung Pass.

Most of these glaciers have melted away, opening a dramatic mountain scenery. Now Pangnirtung Pass is approximately 1.5 km wide and... 1.5 km deep, with giant cliffs towering above it. This area provides some of the most dramatic landscapes in Arctic region with such amazing landmarks as the Mount Thor (some 10 km east from Schwarzenbach Falls) - cliff which has 1250 m high vertical, even overhanging drop. Most likely this is the world's tallest vertical cliff. Further east is located the fantastic Mount Asgard which rather belongs into fantasy film.

Schwarzenbach Falls are falling over a ledge of Precambrian granites and granite gneiss. Waterfall starts with very impressive, approximately 200 m tall vertical drop. Afterwards it continues with a myriad of smaller drops, mostly sliding down along steep cliffs.

Horizontal distance of falls is approximately 700 m, thus for most part the drop is not that steep.

Earlier it was declared that the height of falls is approximately 680 m, but this is rather the vertical distance between the floor of valley and upper rim of falls or even level of the lake further up in the mountains.

For most part of the year falls are dry or frozen. Warmer period of the year (when snow and ice is melting) here is very short - higher in mountains it can last only from the late June to the middle of August and at the tallest summits only few days per year there is snowmelt. Just 6 km to the north from waterfall is Arctic circle.

Indigenous name - Qulitasaniakvik - in Inuktitut language means "place to get caribou skins", This most likely designates that the valley above the falls is good place to hunt for caribou.

Name of Schwarzenbach most likely comes from Swiss botanist Fritz Hans Schwarzenbach (born in 1925) who was exploring this area during the lewgendary expedition of 1953, led by Patrick D. Baird.

Map

See Schwarzenbach Falls on the map of Canada!

 

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