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"Precipice" redirects here. Cliff_sentence_0

For other uses, see Precipice (disambiguation). Cliff_sentence_1

"Rockface" redirects here. Cliff_sentence_2

For the TV series, see Rockface (TV series). Cliff_sentence_3

For other uses, see Cliff (disambiguation). Cliff_sentence_4

In geography and geology, a cliff is a vertical, or nearly vertical, rock exposure. Cliff_sentence_5

Cliffs are formed as erosion landforms by the processes of weathering and erosion. Cliff_sentence_6

Cliffs are common on coasts, in mountainous areas, escarpments and along rivers. Cliff_sentence_7

Cliffs are usually formed by rock that is resistant to weathering and erosion. Cliff_sentence_8

Sedimentary rocks most likely to form cliffs include sandstone, limestone, chalk, and dolomite. Cliff_sentence_9

Igneous rocks such as granite and basalt also often form cliffs. Cliff_sentence_10

An escarpment (or scarp) is a type of cliff, formed by the movement of a geologic fault or landslide, or by differential erosion of rock layers of differing hardness. Cliff_sentence_11

Most cliffs have some form of scree slope at their base. Cliff_sentence_12

In arid areas or under high cliffs, they are generally exposed jumbles of fallen rock. Cliff_sentence_13

In areas of higher moisture, a soil slope may obscure the talus. Cliff_sentence_14

Many cliffs also feature tributary waterfalls or rock shelters. Cliff_sentence_15

Sometimes a cliff peters out at the end of a ridge, with mushroom rocks or other types of rock columns remaining. Cliff_sentence_16

Coastal erosion may lead to the formation of sea cliffs along a receding coastline. Cliff_sentence_17

The Ordnance Survey distinguishes between cliffs (continuous line along the top edge with projections down the face) and outcrops (continuous lines along lower edge). Cliff_sentence_18

Etymology Cliff_section_0

Cliff comes from the Old English word clif of essentially the same meaning, cognate with Dutch, Low German, and Old Norse klif 'cliff'. Cliff_sentence_19

These may in turn all be from a Romance loanword into Primitive Germanic that has its origins in the Latin forms clivus / clevus ("slope" or "hillside"). Cliff_sentence_20

Large and famous cliffs Cliff_section_1

List Cliff_section_2

The following is an incomplete list of cliffs of the world. Cliff_sentence_21

Asia Cliff_section_3

Above Sea Cliff_sentence_22


Above Land Cliff_sentence_23


  • Nanga Parbat, Rupal Face, Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, 4,600 mCliff_item_1_4
  • Gyala Peri, southeast face, Mêdog County, Tibet, China, 4,600 mCliff_item_1_5
  • Ultar Sar southwest face, Karakoram, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan, 3,000 mCliff_item_1_6
  • Qingshui Cliff, Xiulin Township, Hualien County, Taiwan averaging 800 m above Pacific Ocean. The tallest peak, Qingshui Mountain, rises 2408 meters directly from the Pacific Ocean.Cliff_item_1_7
  • Trango Towers: East Face Great Trango Tower, Baltoro Muztagh, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan, 1,340 m (near vertical headwall), 2,100 m (very steep overall drop from East Summit to Dunge Glacier). Northwest Face drops approximately 2,200 m to the Trango Glacier below, but with a taller slab topped out with a shorter overhanging headwall of approximately 1,000 m. The Southwest "Azeem" Ridge forms the group's tallest steep rise of roughly 2,286 m (7,500 ft) from the Trango Glacier to the Southwest summit.Cliff_item_1_8
  • Uli Biaho Towers, Baltoro Glacier, Gilgit–Baltistan, PakistanCliff_item_1_9
  • Baintha Brakk (The Ogre), Panmah Muztagh, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan, 2,000 mCliff_item_1_10
  • The Latok Group, Panmah Muztagh, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan, 1,800 mCliff_item_1_11
  • Spantik northwest face, Karakoram, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan, 2,000 mCliff_item_1_12
  • Shispare Sar southwest face, Karakoram, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan, 3,200 mCliff_item_1_13
  • Hunza Peak south face, Karakoram, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan, 1,700 mCliff_item_1_14
  • Lhotse south face, Mahalangur Himal, Nepal, 3200 mCliff_item_1_15
  • Lhotse northeast face, Mahalangur Himal, Nepal, 2900mCliff_item_1_16
  • K2 west face, Karakoram, Gilgit–Baltistan, Pakistan, 2900mCliff_item_1_17
  • Meru Peak, Uttarakhand, India, 1200 mCliff_item_1_18
  • Ramon Crater, Israel, 400 mCliff_item_1_19
  • Various cliffs in the Ak-Su Valley of Kyrgyzstan are high and steep.Cliff_item_1_20
  • World's End, Horton Plains, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka. It has a sheer drop of about 4000 ft (1200 m)Cliff_item_1_21
  • Various cliffs in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Hunan Province, China. The cliffs can get to around 1,000 ft (300 m).Cliff_item_1_22

Europe Cliff_section_4

Above Sea Cliff_sentence_24


Above Land Cliff_sentence_25


North America Cliff_section_5

Several big granite faces in the Arctic region vie for the title of 'highest vertical drop on Earth', but reliable measurements are not always available. Cliff_sentence_26

The possible contenders include (measurements are approximate): Cliff_sentence_27

Mount Thor, Baffin Island, Canada; 1,370 m (4,500 ft) total; top 480 m (1600 ft) is overhanging. Cliff_sentence_28

This is commonly regarded as being the largest vertical drop on Earth ot:leapyear at 1,250 m (4,100 ft). Cliff_sentence_29


  1. The sheer north face of Polar Sun Spire, in the §74:MTAtoFaCliff_item_4_60

of Baffin Island, rises 4,300 ft above the flat frozen fjord, although the lower portion of the face breaks from the vertical wall with a series of ledges and buttresses. Cliff_sentence_30


  1. Ketil's and its neighbor Ulamertorsuaq's west faces in Tasermiut, Greenland have been reported as over 1,000 m high. Another relevant cliff in Greenland is Agdlerussakasit's Thumbnail.Cliff_item_5_61

Other notable cliffs include: Cliff_sentence_31


South America Cliff_section_6


Africa Cliff_section_7

Above Sea Cliff_sentence_32


  • Kogelberg, Western Cape, South Africa, 1,289 m (4,229 ft) above False Bay, Atlantic OceanCliff_item_8_96
  • Table Mountain, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, 1,086 m (3,563 ft) above Atlantic OceanCliff_item_8_97
  • Karbonkelberg, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa, 653 m (2,142 ft) above Hout Bay, Atlantic OceanCliff_item_8_98
  • Los Gigantes, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, 637 m (2,090 ft) above Atlantic OceanCliff_item_8_99
  • Chapman's Peak, Western Cape, South Africa, 596 m (1,955 ft) above Atlantic OceanCliff_item_8_100
  • Anaga's Cliffs, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, 592 m (1,942 ft) above Atlantic OceanCliff_item_8_101
  • Cape Hangklip, Western Cape, South Africa, 453.1 m (1,487 ft) above False Bay, Atlantic OceanCliff_item_8_102
  • Cape Point, Western Cape, South Africa, 249 m (817 ft) above Atlantic OceanCliff_item_8_103

Above Land Cliff_sentence_33


  • Drakensberg Amphitheatre, South Africa 1,200 m (3,900 ft) above base, 5 km (3.1 mi) long. The Tugela Falls, the world's second tallest waterfall, falls 948 m (3,110 ft) over the edge of the cliff face.Cliff_item_9_104
  • Mount Meru, Tanzania Caldera Cliffs, 1,500 m (4,900 ft)Cliff_item_9_105
  • Tsaranoro, Madagascar, 700 m (2,300 ft) above baseCliff_item_9_106
  • Karambony, Madagascar, 380 m (1,250 ft) above base.Cliff_item_9_107
  • Innumerable peaks in the Drakensberg mountains of South Africa are considered cliff formations. The Drakensberg Range is regarded, together with Ethiopia's Simien Mountains, as one of the two finest erosional mountain ranges on Earth. Because of their near-unique geological formation, the range has an extraordinarily high percentage of cliff faces making up its length, particularly along the highest portion of the range. This portion of the range is virtually uninterrupted cliff faces, ranging from 600 m (2,000 ft) to 1,200 m (3,900 ft) in height for almost 250 km (160 mi). Of all, the "Drakensberg Amphitheatre" (mentioned above) is most well known. Other notable cliffs include the Trojan Wall, Cleft Peak, Injisuthi Triplets, Cathedral Peak, Monk's Cowl, Mnweni Buttress, etc. The cliff faces of the Blyde River Canyon, technically still part of the Drakensberg, may be over 800 m (2,600 ft), with the main face of the Swadini Buttress approximately 1,000 m (3,300 ft) tall.Cliff_item_9_108

Oceania Cliff_section_8

Above Sea Cliff_sentence_34


  • Mitre Peak, New Zealand, 1,683 m above Milford SoundCliff_item_10_109
  • The Lion, New Zealand, 1,302 m above Milford Sound (drops from approx 1280m to sea level in a very short distance)Cliff_item_10_110
  • The Elephant, New Zealand, has cliffs falling approx 1180m into Milford Sound, and a 900m drop in less than 300m horizontallyCliff_item_10_111
  • Kalaupapa, Hawaii, 1,010 m above Pacific OceanCliff_item_10_112
  • Great Australian BightCliff_item_10_113
  • Zuytdorp Cliffs in Western AustraliaCliff_item_10_114
  • Ball's Pyramid, a sea stack 562m high and only 200m across at its baseCliff_item_10_115
  • The Twelve Apostles (Victoria). A series of sea stacks in Australia, ranging from approximately 50 to 70 m above the Bass StraitCliff_item_10_116
  • Tasman National Park, Tasmania, has 300m dolerite sea cliffs dropping directly to the ocean in columnar formCliff_item_10_117
  • Lovers Leap, Highcliff, and The Chasm, on Otago Peninsula, New Zealand, all 200 to 300 m above the Pacific OceanCliff_item_10_118

Above Land Cliff_sentence_35


As habitat determinants Cliff_section_9

Cliff landforms provide unique habitat niches to a variety of plants and animals, whose preferences and needs are suited by the vertical geometry of this landform type. Cliff_sentence_36

For example, a number of birds have decided affinities for choosing cliff locations for nesting, often driven by the defensibility of these locations as well as absence of certain predators. Cliff_sentence_37

See also Cliff_section_10


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