Niagara Falls serves as the name collectively given to three magnificent waterfalls straddling the border between the United States and Canada, in North America. They also 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 both sit entirely within the United States. The Horseshoe Falls sits almost entirely on the Canadian side of the international boundary.
As a result of their combined flow, the three waterfalls comprising Niagara Falls possess the highest flow rate of any known waterfall on earth.
Niagara Falls Physical Characteristics
Niagara Falls represents a marvel of geology, and Horseshoe Falls remains by far the largest of the three waterfalls. It measures roughly 2,600 ft (790 m) in width and also drops an impressive 188 ft (57 m).
The American Falls measure about 1,600 ft (320 m) in width. The precise length of its drop remains rather variable, ranging from 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, and measures only 56 ft (17 m) in width. It drops a total of 103 ft (31 m) in two stages, and at its base lies the famous Maid of the Mist pool.
Niagara Falls Formation and Nature
Niagara Falls formed nearly 10,000 years ago due to the Wisconsin Glacial Episode. This was the last major advance of the North American ice sheet. This was also 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 predominantly comprises of shale and limestone. The waters of the three waterfalls continue to be renowned for their verdant green coloring.
This occurs due to 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. Sadly, scientists estimate that within 50,000 years Niagara Falls will cease to exist.