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The falls are formed as the full width of the river plummets in a single vertical drop into a transverse chasm 1708 metres (5604 ft) wide, carved by its waters along a fracture zone in the basalt plateau.

The depth of the chasm, called the First Gorge, varies from 80 metres (260 ft) at its western end to 108 metres (354 ft) in the centre.

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resulting in the world's largest sheet of falling water.The river's annual flood season is February to May with a peak in April, The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 400 metres (1,300 ft), and sometimes even twice as high, and is visible from up to 48 km (30 mi) away.At full moon, a "moonbow" can be seen in the spray instead of the usual daylight rainbow.The recent geological history of Victoria Falls can be seen in the overall form of the Batoka Gorge, with its 6 individual gorges and 8 past positions of the falls.The east-west oriented gorges imply structural control with alignment along joints of shatter zones, or faults with 50 m of vertical displacement as is the case of the second and fifth gorges.The entire volume of the Zambezi River pours through the First Gorge's 110-metre-wide (360 ft) exit for a distance of about 150 metres (500 ft), then enters a zigzagging series of gorges designated by the order in which the river reaches them.Water entering the Second Gorge makes a sharp right turn and has carved out a deep pool there called the Boiling Pot.As the dry season takes effect, the islets on the crest become wider and more numerous, and in September to January up to half of the rocky face of the falls may become dry and the bottom of the First Gorge can be seen along most of its length.At this time it becomes possible (though not necessarily safe) to walk across some stretches of the river at the crest.It is also possible to walk to the bottom of the First Gorge at the Zimbabwean side.The minimum flow, which occurs in November, is around a tenth of the April figure; this variation in flow is greater than that of other major falls, and causes Victoria Falls' annual average flow rate to be lower than might be expected based on the maximum flow.