Niagara Falls is the name collectively given to three magnificent waterfalls straddling the border between the United States and Canada. They mark the southern end of Niagara Gorge. The three waterfalls that comprise Niagara Falls are the American Falls, the Horseshoe Falls, and the Bridal Veil Falls. The American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls are both located entirely within the United States. The Horseshoe Falls is almost entirely on the Canadian side of the international boundary. Combined, the three waterfalls comprising Niagara Falls possess the highest flow rate of any known waterfall on earth.
Niagara Falls Physical Characteristics
Niagara Falls is a marvel of geology. Horseshoe Falls is by far the largest of the three waterfalls. It measures approximately 2,600 ft (790 m) in width. It drops an impressive 188 ft (57 m). The American Falls measure approximately 1,600 ft (320 m) in width. This precise length of its drop is variable, ranging between 70-100 ft (21-30 m). The reason for the variation is the presence of numerous gigantic boulders at the base of the fall. Bridal Veil Falls is by far the smallest of the three. It measures only 56 ft (17 m) in width. It drops a total of 103 ft (31 m) in two stages. However, at its base lies the famous Maid of the Mist pool.
Niagara Falls Formation and Nature
Niagara Falls was formed approximately 10,000 years ago by the Wisconsin Glacial Episode. This was the last major advance of the North American ice sheet. This was the same force responsible for the creation of the Niagara river, and the Great Lakes of North America. The land beneath the river and Niagara Falls is predominantly comprised of shale and limestone. The waters of the three waterfalls are renowned for their verdant green coloring. This is created by enormous quantities of dissolved salts and finely ground stone created by the erosive force of the Niagara river itself. Erosion continues due to the flow of water. It is estimated that within 50,000 years Niagara Falls will cease to exist.
Todd Sain Sr.