What Is a Cataract in a River?

The cataracts of the Nile are sections of the Nile river characterized by extreme shallowness and a number of obstacles that make them difficult to navigate. Historically, six sections of cataracts along the river have been particularly notable, and there are a number of smaller shallows that have come and gone with the Nile’s changing terrain. Many people use these sections as a landmark when discussing the history of civilizations in Egypt, as the cataracts were well known to members of the ancient world.

In order to travel over these shallows, people were forced to get out of their boats and drag them along the rocky riverbed, taking care to avoid protruding boulders and islets.

What is the difference between a cataract and a waterfall?

A waterfall is an area where water flows over a vertical drop or a series of steep drops in the course of a stream or river. Waterfalls also occur where meltwater drops over the edge of a tabular iceberg or ice shelf. A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye that leads to a decrease in vision.

What is cataract in geography?

Answer: a descent of water over a steep surface ; a waterfall, especially one of considerable size.

What is an example of a cataract in geography?

A waterfall in which a large volume of water flows over a steep precipice. … The definition of a cataract is a flood, waterfall or rush of water, or an eye disease when the lens becomes opaque, causing partial or total blindness. An example of a cataract is Niagara Falls.

The Blue and White Nile meet in Khartoum, becoming the mighty River which opens its way across the desert to reach Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea. Along its banks all life developed, and that is why today following its course we can find all the most important cultural sites of the Sudanese heritage.

Here the Nile carves its way through a beautiful granite canyon and round rocky formations that gradually flows into the desert forming kilometres long gorges called Sabaloka.

The Cataracts of the Nile are shallow lengths (or whitewater rapids) of the Nile River, between Khartoum and Aswan, where the surface of the water is broken by many small boulders and stones jutting out of the river bed, as well as many rocky islets. In some places, these stretches are punctuated by whitewater, while at others the water flow is smoother but still shallow.

[1] The Nubian Swell has diverted the river‘s course to the west, while keeping its depth shallow and causing the formation of the cataracts. These distinctive features of the river between Aswan and Khartoum have led to the stretch being often referred to as the Cataract Nile , while the downstream portion is occasionally referred to as the “Egyptian” Nile.

It is believed [2] that the bedrock was previously eroded to be several thousand feet deep. Despite these characteristics, some of the cataracts which are normally impassable by boat because of the shallow water have become navigable during the flood season. In ancient times, Upper Egypt extended from south of the Nile Delta to the first cataract, while further upstream, the land was controlled by the ancient Kingdom of Kush that would later take over Egypt from 760 to 656 BC.

[3] Besides the Kushite invasion, for most of Egyptian history, the Nile’s cataracts, particularly the First Cataract, primarily served as a natural border to prevent most crossings from the south, as those in said region would rely on river travel to venture north and south. It has a similar shape to a backwards letter N. It flows northward from Mero about 2700 stadia, then turns back to the south and the winter sunset for about 3700 stadia, and it almost reaches the same parallel as the Mero region and makes its way far into Libya. Then it makes another turn, and flows northward 5300 stadia to the great cataract, curving slightly to the east; then 1200 stadia to the smaller cataract at Syene (i.e. Aswan ), and then 5300 more to the sea.

The word cataract is not used for most waterfalls. It is used for waterfalls along the River Nile in Egypt, which are little more than steps, but there are steps in other places, too. One of the most famous is on the Mississippi. the Great Falls of the Potomac is another cataract.

What are the Cataracts of the Nile?

The cataracts of the Nile are sections of the Nile river characterized by extreme shallowness and a number of obstacles that make them difficult to navigate. Historically, six sections of cataracts along the river have been particularly notable, and there are a number of smaller shallows that have come and gone with the Nile’s changing terrain. Many people use these sections as a landmark when discussing the history of civilizations in Egypt, as the cataracts were well known to members of the ancient world.Individuals can find the cataracts between Aswan in Egpyt and Khartoum in Sudan. Five of the six major sections are located in Sudan, with one in Egypt at Aswan. All of them are distributed along the so-called Great Bend, a section of the Nile where the river veers sharply off-course before turning back towards the Mediterranean. The Great Bend and the cataracts are caused by tectonic uplift, which pushes the Nile off-course along the Nubian Swell, an area of Africa that is extremely geological active.Several things distinguish the cataracts of the Nile. The first is their shallowness. They are also studded with an assortment of rocks of various sizes, and the bottom of the river is extremely rough at the site. The area is also studded with small islets, and the water is often quite rough, making the cataracts seem like rapids. Although the word “cataracts” is derived from the Greek word for “waterfall,” the region is not, in fact, made up of waterfalls, although there are true ones along the route of the Nile.The characteristics of the cataracts made them extremely difficult to navigate, and limited exploration and trade in that region of Africa for many civilizations. In order to travel over these shallows, people were forced to get out of their boats and drag them along the rocky riverbed, taking care to avoid protruding boulders and islets. In some cases, the cataracts became easier to navigate during the flood season, which elevated the water level.People sometimes refer to various sections of the Nile along the Great Bend with the relevant cataract as a reference. For example, explorers referred to “traveling beyond the sixth cataract,” meaning that they were penetrating deep into Africa. Because the cataracts limited navigation, they also often marked the boundaries of various ancient civilizations as well.