Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version

Fall 2010


Published in The Hydrogeologist 71 (September 2010), pp. 9-12. Copyright 2010 Darryll Pederson. The Hydrogeologist is a publication of the Hydrogeology Division of the Geological Society of America.


Everyone enjoys the sounds and sights of a tropical waterfall. They are the setting for romantic and action packed movies. Fantasy Island used Wailua Falls on Kauai to open their weekly TV series. From a different viewpoint waterfall origin and evolution has been attributed to a wide range of geologic processes. The Hawaiian Island's waterfalls and amphitheater-headed valleys have been cited by many as equivalent to similar features seen on Mars. After a number of years of studying these features on Kauai, I offer the following thoughts and observations about Kauai's waterfalls and amphitheater-headed valleys.