Suzanne always has a trip in the back of her mind in various states of planning. Once in a while they just pop up at the right time and the right circumstances for me to enjoy them with her. She had always wanted to visit Niagara Falls, I had been there once 10 years ago, and enjoyed it enough to want to go again. It is a fascinating place. Coming from Arizona where many of the rivers dry up each year, it is always surprising to see a river that never runs out of water! It probably annoyed Suzanne, but I was fascinated by all the facts and figures on posters and brochures everywhere.
Here are some of the numbers...
- The Niagara River is about 36 miles in length and is the natural outlet from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.
- The elevation between the two lakes is about 326 ft. half occurring at the Falls themselves.
- The deepest section in the Niagara River is just below the Falls, 170 feet.
- About 500 other waterfalls in the world are "taller" than Niagara. The Angel Falls in Venezuela is tallest at 3,212 ft. However, some of the tallest falls in the world have very little water flowing over them.
- It’s the combination of height and volume that makes Niagara Falls so beautiful.
- More than 6 million cubic ft. of water go over the crestline of the Falls every minute during peak daytime tourist hours.
- The Niagara River is a connecting channel between two Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario.
- Niagara Falls has moved back seven miles in 12,500 years and may be the fastest moving waterfalls in the world.
- The brown foam below Niagara Falls is a natural result of tons of water plummeting into the depths below. It is not dangerous. The brown colour is clay, which contains suspended particles of decayed vegetative matter. How was the Whirlpool created?
- The startling green color of the Niagara River is a visible tribute to the erosive power of water. An estimated 60 tons of dissolved minerals are swept over Niagara Falls every minute. The color comes from the dissolved salts and "rock flour," very finely ground rock, picked up primarily from the limestone bed but probably also from the shales and sandstones under the limestone cap at the falls.
- The flow levels have been regulated by the International Joint Commission (USA and Canada) since 1910.
- A treaty between United States and Canada requires that during the daylight hours of the tourist season, the flow over Niagara Falls must not be less than 100,000 cubic ft. per second. At all other times, the flow must not be less than 50,000 cfs.
- The falls will continue to erode, however, the rate has been greatly reduced due to flow control and diversion for hydro-power generation.
- Recession for at least the last 560 years has been estimated at 1 to 1.5 metres per year.
- Its current rate of erosion is estimated at 1 foot per year and could possibly be reduced to 1 foot per 10 years.
- No one knows when the next major rock fall will occur in the Horseshoe Falls; the effect could be to speed up erosion.
- It's also possible that the current or future flow and volume of the river will not be sufficient to carve out a deep enough plunge pool to accommodate rock falls; in this case, the Canadian Falls could be supported by talus in much the same way as the American Falls.
- All things considered, scientists speculate that perhaps 2,000 years from now the American Falls could dry up. It is a stationary feature collapsing by rock falls and landslides, carrying less than seven percent of flow before diversion; this bit of water is shallow and spread out, therefore ineffective as a major erosive power.
- The Horseshoe Falls will notch back for about 15,000 years, traveling back about four miles to a softer riverbed.
- The falls could be replaced by a series of rapids.
- 50,000 years from now, at the present rate of erosion, the remaining 20 miles to Lake Erie will have been undermined. There won’t be a falls anymore, but there will still be a river at work.
One of the attractions that surprised me (thinking it was an add-on minimal attraction) was the river board walk along the rapids. I reviewed my pictures and videos and none captured the sound the the fury of the water. After the falls, the water flows into a narrow and shallow (comparatively) gorge and the water is SO powerful. I would think if your shoelace got into the flow of water, it would suck you right in. There is a board walk along the edge (safely off the water, but close enough to feel and hear the power. We walked all along it and enjoyed the sights and sounds.
One little problem I was having is that I've been dealing with a painful tendon issue and right before our trip, my doctor slapped a boot on the foot to try to get it to heal up. Walking straight and even was ok, but stairs and slopes and uneven walking terrain was pretty tricky. Luckily (well, not luckily) Suzanne was having a painful knee situation, so we were both walking around at a slow pace. (I only say luckily because I would have felt bad slowing her down).