Hanging Valley

Hanging Valley

Hanging Valley Landforms Have 2 Main Characteristics:

1. A valley that leads to another valley below
2. A cliff or steep wall below the meeting point

Example of a Hanging Valley Landform:

The hanging valley picture is of Bridal Veil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California, USA

What is a Hanging Valley Landform?

A hanging valley is elevated above another valley, with one end open to the valley below. There may be a cliff or steep formation where they meet. A river or stream may run through a hanging valley, forming a waterfall that enters the lower valley. Either valley may be U-shaped, if created by glacier activity.




How are Hanging Valleys Formed?

A hanging valley can be formed when the lower valley has a greater rate of erosion. This can be cause by 2 glacier flows, one feeding the other. This may also be caused by a greater flow of water in the lower valley or soft rock layers that erode more quickly. It’s possible that the lower valley may have been formed by glacier flow, and the hanging valley formed more recently by a river or stream.

How Large is a Hanging Valley?

A hanging valley is usually smaller than the valley below.

Where Can a Hanging Valley Be Found?

Hanging valleys are usually found in mountainous areas.

Famous Hanging Valleys

• Hanging Valleys of Yosemite National Park, California, USA
• Birdman Woman Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

In Yosemite National Park of California there are many hanging valleys feeding waterfalls that enter the Yosemite Valley below. These include Yosemite Falls, Ribbon Fall, Bridalveil Fall and Illilouette Fall. Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in California at 2,425 feet and also has the highest vertical drop in North America at the upper fall which is 1,430 feet high. Ribbon fall has the highest uninterrupted drop at 1612 feet, making contact with the cliff face and not a vertical drop. Bridalveil Fall descends 620 feet into Yosemite Valley and is one of the most impressive. There is a debate about whether glacial activity carved the Yosemite Valley and the hanging valleys in the area. The flow of the Merced River may also be responsible for deepening the Yosemite Valley to create the hanging valleys and waterfalls above. Another example of a hanging valley is found at Glacier National Park in Montana. A hanging valley feeds the Birdman Woman Falls that drop down to Logan Creek in a larger valley below. Glaciers cut and formed both valleys, a smaller glacier in the upper valley feeding the larger glacier down below. A glacier of larger size and depth creates more erosion and cuts deeper into the land.

Hanging Valley Definition:

A valley that opens at one end to another valley below, having a cliff or steep wall below the point where they meet

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