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Shoshone Falls Facts

Shoshone Falls is located in Idaho, USA. It is the tallest waterfall in North America at 212 feet high.

Shoshone Falls is on the Snake River, near Twin Falls, Canada. It’s 36 feet higher than Niagara Falls. 

It cascades over a 900-foot wide horseshoe formation, making it one of the greatest natural waterfalls in the US.

Shoshone Falls Facts for Kids

  • The waterfall was named Shoshone after a local Native American tribe.
  • The USGS chose this name in 1905.
  • Since the water upstream is diverted for irrigation, these falls have lost much of their luster.
  • The annual average flow rate at Shoshone Falls is roughly 3,600 cubic feet per second.
  • These falls provide a hiking route, boat ramp, and picnic areas.
  • Much of the water in the Snake River drainage went to agriculture.
  • Upstream of the falls are American Falls and Milner Dams.
  • Shoshone Falls dam draws 1,000 cubic feet of water.
  • During the spring, the average water volume may exceed 7,000 cubic feet per second.

Characteristics

Shoshone Falls are located at the north end of the Snake River Canyon near the town of Twin Falls, Idaho. They are just west of the mouth of the canyon, where the river enters the Snake River Plain.

The falls are located within the boundaries of the Shoshone National Forest

Flows

In addition to its dramatic appearance, Shoshone Falls has been used as a source of power since the 1880s. A hydroelectric plant at the base of the falls generates electricity for the surrounding area.

Water released through the dam is stored behind a weir that diverts some of the flow down

Geology

Millions of years ago, lava flows from the Yellowstone hotspot drained into the Snake River Plain. The falls sit on top of a rhyolite or trachyte lava flow dating back 6 million years that crosses the weaker basalt layers surrounding the Snake River Plain, creating a natural barrier against erosion.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

Around 14,500- 17,500 years ago, during the catastrophic Bonneville Flood, an immense freshwater lake that covered much of the Great Basin erupted through Red Rock Pass into the Snake River and created the falls.

The water released was about 1,100 cubic miles (4,600 km3), which is 1500 times the snake river’s normal annual flow.

Snake River Canyon was carved in just a few weeks by a massive flow of water. Falls such as Shoshone Falls were formed where geology and hard underlying rock layers intersected.

Fishing

Fish can’t move upstream due to Shoshone Falls’ great height. The falls are too high for anadromous fish like salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout, and sturgeon.

Native Americans relied on the spawning fish at the base of Shoshone Falls as a major food supply before many dams were constructed on the Snake River below the falls.