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The Experience of Waterfalls

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Landscape beauty has long been a concern of geographers and other scholars, but relatively little work has been done on the aesthetic analysis of specific landscape features such as mountain peaks and waterfalls. In Australia, as in many other parts of the world, waterfalls are popular scenic attractions, and this paper attempts to explain the widespread appeal of these landforms by examining them in the light of theories of landscape aesthetics, from the Picturesque and Sublime to arousal and prospect-refuge. While no single theory offers a complete explanation of our experience of waterfalls, this paper suggests that by using several theoretical approaches to the subject we are more likely to gain a full understanding of the way we respond to these landscape features.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland 4001, Australia

Publication date: March 1, 2000

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