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Cataratas do Iguaçu - Iguazu Falls

Foz do Iguaçu, Paraná.

 

Sobre as Cataratas do Iguaçu

 

A área das Cataratas do Iguaçu (em espanhol, Cataratas del Iguazú) são um conjunto de cerca de 275 quedas de água no Rio Iguaçu (na Bacia hidrográfica do rio Paraná), localizada entre o Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, Paraná, no Brasil, e o Parque Nacional Iguazú em Misiones, na Argentina, fronteira entre os dois países. A área total de ambos os parques nacionais, correspondem a 250 mil hectares de floresta subtropical e é considerada Patrimônio Natural da Humanidade.

 

O Parque Nacional argentino foi criado em 1934; e o Parque Nacional brasileiro, em 1939, com o propósito de administrar e proteger o manancial de água que representa essa catarata e o conjunto do meio ambiente ao seu redor. Os parques tanto brasileiro como argentino passaram a ser considerados Patrimônio da Humanidade em 1984 e 1986, respectivamente. Desde 2002 o Parque Nacional do Iguaçu é um dos sítios geológicos brasileiros.

 

Historicamente, o primeiro europeu a achar as Cataratas do Iguaçu foi o espanhol Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, no ano de 1542.

 

As Cataratas do Iguaçu estão participando da campanha mundial de escolha das Sete Novas Maravilhas da Natureza, organizada pela Fundação New 7 Wonders. As cataratas estão entre as 28 finalistas da campanha, que deve durar até 2011 quando deve ser atingido o número de 1 bilhão de votos.

 

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About Iguazu Falls

 

Iguazu Falls, Iguassu Falls, or Iguaçu Falls are waterfalls of the Iguazu River located on the border of the Brazilian State of Paraná and the Argentine Province of Misiones. The falls divide the river into the upper and lower Iguazu. The Iguazu River originates near the city of Curitiba. It flows through Brazil for most of its course. Below its confluence with the San Antonio River, the Iguazu River forms the boundary between Brazil and Argentina.

 

Iguazu Falls is located where the Iguazu River tumbles over the edge of the Paraná Plateau, 23 kilometres (14 mi) upriver from the Iguazu's confluence with the Paraná River. Numerous islands along the 2.7-kilometre (1.7 mi) long edge divide the falls into about 275 separate waterfalls and cataracts, varying between 60 metres (200 ft) and 82 metres (269 ft) high. About half of the river's flow falls into a long and narrow chasm called the Devil's Throat (Garganta del Diablo in Spanish or Garganta do Diabo in Portuguese). The Devil's Throat is U-shaped, 82-meter-high, 150-meter-wide, and 700-meter-long. The border between Argentina and Brazil runs through the Devil's Throat. The Argentine side comprises three sections: the upper falls, the lower falls, and the Devil's Throat.

 

Of the many islands the most notable is Isla Grande San Martín, on the Argentine side. Individual falls on the Argentine side include Dos Hermanas ("Two Sisters"), Bozzetti, San Martín, Escondido ("Hidden"), and Rivadavia. Notable falls on the Brazil side include Benjamin Constant, Deodoro, and Floriano.

 

Two-thirds of the falls are within Argentine territory. About 900 meters of the 2.7-kilometer length does not have water flowing over it. The edge of the basalt cap recedes by 3 mm (0.1 in) per year. The water of the lower Iguazu collects in a canyon that drains in the Paraná River, a short distance downstream from the Itaipu Dam. The junction of the water flows marks the border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. There are points in the cities of Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, Puerto Iguazú, Argentina, and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, which have access to the Iguazu River where the borders of all three countries can be seen, a popular tourist attraction for visitors to the three cities.

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Taken on June 2, 2011