Waterfall into the Abyss

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The pit is bottomless.

Magical lands abound in the world of fiction, especially fantasy. What better way to depict the magic of the place than to show floating islands? Why not throw in waterfalls flowing off the islands, to enhance the magical look?

An almost obligatory feature of Floating Continents, Floating Castles, and Flat Worlds, (especially if the setting is Crystal Spires and Togas) is waterfalls off the side of the structure. Awesome, but Impractical in the case of smaller floating islands since you'd expect the water to run out fairly quickly since they don't have a very large area of land from which to collect rainfall. It's especially strange in the case of Flat Worlds since it doesn't seem that there would be anything to bring the water back.

Not to be confused with Rock of Limitless Water, which are (usually small) rocks that create water, a fact that is usually explicitly stated. They also tend to be important to the plot. By contrast, Floating Waterfall Islands are usually there purely to look good.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

     Comic Books  

  • In DC comic book Wonder Woman, Themyscira is a set of floating islands with waterfalls. Sometimes.

     Film  

  • The Hallelujah Mountains in Avatar. The floating islands have waterfalls constantly flowing from out of them, despite not having a source for such water.
  • The secret entry to Davy Jones's locker in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
  • The edge of Asgard in Thor.

     Literature  

  • The world of The Chronicles of Narnia has this feature described in some detail in Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Continually sailing to the east doesn't bring you around to the west again, but to The End of the World. If you go over the edge, you end up in Aslan's Country - one of the few ways to get there without dying first.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld has the ocean falling off all sides of the Disc, but "arrangements are made" (it's probably quantum). There are even people who take advantage of this and have put a net around the edge (the "circumfence") to catch floating items for salvage.
  • Strata has a different disc-world made by Ancient Astronauts terraformers, which have a hidden system to pull the water back up.
  • Played for horror in Nightworld. Portals to Another Dimension have opened sending nightmare creatures swarming across the Earth. Some of them open in mid-ocean, creating vast whirlpools during the day and reversing at night into mile-high fountains of water, littering the ground with dead fish and...other things.
  • The giant waterfall at the edge of the Korunnal Highland in Shatterpoint. In this case, the water doesn't actually fall into "the abyss" so much as a soup of heavier-than-air toxic gases; eventually it boils away and makes it way back into the cloud layer.
  • The Myst novel The Book of Atrus featured something like this in a small, gravity-defying Age that Catherine made. Supposedly the water falling off into the abyss turned to vapor almost instantly and rose to the top of the world, where it condensed and rained back down again, perpetuating the cycle. Atrus was having fun working out the physics behind it, Catherine just thought it was cool.

     Tabletop Games  

  • The islands on the Magic: The Gathering plane of [i]Kamigawa[/i] float and are surrounded by waterfalls.

     Video Games  

  • Aion: Asteria Fortress has literal versions of these, as it's located in the aptly named Abyss.
  • One puzzle in Banjo-Tooie involves removing the plug from a pool of water in Cloudcuckooland.
  • Chrono Trigger's Kingdom of Zeal, of course, a series of Floating Continents, of which the largest has two waterfalls coming off it. Oddly enough, walking around on the surface of 12,000 B.C. you can't find any torrential downpours falling out of nowhere... so probably the wizards living on the floating continent have something worked out.
  • If you look at the floating Cocoon from Oerba in Final Fantasy XIII, you will see what must be massive streams of water running down from the bottom of its outer shell.
  • This appears in Golden Sun, which has a Flat World: the entire world map.
  • One of the Granacliffs in Grandia II cuts across the ocean, resulting in this. No explanation is given for where the water goes after falling down the cliffs for thousands of years, but at the end of the game it starts filling up.
  • In Guild Wars, Nightfall had some in the Vabbi region.
  • In Levyn Light, the magical city Fontis Sapienta is made up of several such islands floating over a giant lake.
  • May appear on floating islands in Minecraft and can be intentionally created by the player using a water or lava "source block". However, both water and lava stop flowing when they reach the lowest layer of the created world, therefore it is advisable to build floating islands quite high for the best flowing effect.
  • The second Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games has the floating island where Fogbound Lake is located.
  • The vaguely Sonic-like and so-cute-you'll-vomit SNES platformer Rainbow Bell Adventure had plenty of floating islands with waterfalls in the background.
  • These are all over the place in Skies of Arcadia, where The Sky Is an Ocean but most every Floating Continent has a river or two.
  • Some of the Skylands in Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure has this. Of particular note is the main hub, where you have to go on a ship with a Gillman and drive off the island in a waterfall.
  • Angel Island from Sonic the Hedgehog.
  • The planets of Beach Bowl Galaxy in Super Mario Galaxy let their water fall through the sunny space via multiple waterfalls, but they never run out of water. The exception is the cyllindrical planet, whose water originates from a black hole and flows into another.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has this in Sovngarde.
  • The Journey Down: The Edge looks like this. If you go over and survive, you may end up in Port Artue. Go deeper, and you might find yourself in the mythical Underland. In fact, it's possible to navigate down the waterfall to the locks, which can be done by special ships designed to sail both the water and the mist.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, there is a waterfall in Skyloft that goes from a small pond in the corner of the floating island and empties out into the unknown world below.
  • Wizard 101 has a lot of these because of the Shattered World setting.
  • There are a number of floating islands in Nagrand in World of Warcraft that have waterfalls continually coming off them. Outland has both small floating islands with waterfalls on them, as well as a few places where water falls off the edge of the world. Also, Necropoli and their derivatives in World of Warcraft and Warcraft III has slime waterfalls flowing out of them.
  • Xenoblade: Several of the islands that float above the Eryth Sea have never-ending waterfalls. You can also find areas like this at the outer edges of the Bionis.

     Western Animation  

  • Appears at the Edge of the World in Dreamwork's Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas.
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, the core city is elevated above a volcanic flow, its waters endlessly spilling over into the similarly inexhaustible magma (and creating a huge cloud of steam as a result).

     Real Life  
  • A bell-mouth spillway in a dam resevoir can look like one of these when viewed from higher up while there is water flowing into it. They look like giant holes in water's surface.
  • Common interpretations of the "flat earth" belief tend to depict all the oceans ultimately spilling off the edge of the world, as if the Earth itself was one large floating island.


Alternative Title(s): Floating Waterfall Island

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