Niagara Falls (Cayuga: Gahnawehta or Tgahnawęhta) is the collective name for three waterfalls that straddle the international border between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. They form the southern end of the Niagara Gorge.
From largest to smallest, the three waterfalls are the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. The Horseshoe Falls lie on the Canadian side and the American Falls on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island. The international boundary line was originally drawn through Horseshoe Falls in 1819, but the boundary has long been in dispute due to natural erosion and construction.
Located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world, with a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). Horseshoe Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America, as measured by vertical height and also by flow rate. The falls are located 17 miles (27 km) north-northwest of Buffalo, New York and 75 miles (121 km) south-southeast of Toronto, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York.
Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers receded at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation (the last ice age), and water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment en route to the Atlantic Ocean. While not exceptionally high, the Niagara Falls are very wide. More than six million cubic feet (168,000 m3) of water falls over the crest line every minute in high flow, and almost four million cubic feet (110,000 m3) on average.
The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Managing the balance between recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a challenge for the stewards of the falls since the 19th century.
Niagara Falls is the jewel of geological history in the Niagara District. Did you ever wonder; How old is Niagara Falls? How did the Falls begin? What is the Niagara Escarpment? What is the Whirlpool?
You are invited to journey back into time……..460 Million Years Ago……….as the WIND, WATER and ICE sculptured the land of Niagara into masterpiece of majesty and might giving birth to the Falls of Niagara.
ICE AGE IN NIAGARA QUICK FACTS
The ice thickness was estimated at 3,000 feet (914.4 meters). An ice thickness of 1,000 feet (304.8 meters) exerts a pressure of 28 tons per square inch on the earth surface.
If all the water from the last ice age were removed today from sea level on a global basis – the water level would be lowered by over 200 feet (60 meters).
Rock layers from an oil well boring south of Niagara Falls revealed rock layers to have a thickness of 3,000 feet (914.4 meters).
The rock strata in Niagara that appears nearly flat actually has a slight downward slope from north to south of about 20 feet to each mile (6 meters every 1.6 kilometers).
Geography of Niagara
The Niagara Region is located on a portion of a great plain which runs east to west from the northern Laurentian Highlands (Canadian Shield) approximately 161 kilometers north of Toronto, Ontario to the southern Allegheny Plateau which form the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains.
The Niagara table land mass extends 100 kilometers (62 miles), both east and west from the Niagara River.
This plain is a small part of the Great Lakes low lands in which Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario lie.
The areas north and south of the Great Lakes low lands are the high lands.
Climate in Niagara has been similar to the current weather patterns for the past 5,000 years.
Today the Great Lakes hold twenty percent of the worlds fresh water supply. Ninety-nine (99%) percent of this water is of glacial origin.
The Niagara Peninsula is actually an isthmus.