The Niagara Falls is a located on the Niagara River which can be found in the northeastern part of North America. The waterfall is one of the most popular sights to behold in that part of the world. The Niagara lies on the border between New York, United States and Ontario, Canada. The wonder of nature has for many years been a rendezvous for many honeymooners as well as tourists. Factors that have contributed to the influx of people to the Niagara Falls has been its beauty and its uniqueness.
The Niagara Falls exists in two principle parts, and both are separated by Goat Island. Horseshoe Falls, which is the largest of the two, is also called the Canadian Bank, and adjoins the left of the Fall. It has a height of 188 feet, which is equals to 57 meters, the Horseshoe Falls portion of the Niagara has a curving crest line length of about 2,200 feet (670 meters). The American Falls adjoins the right bank of the Niagara and it is about 190 feet (58 meters) in height, and a length of about 1,060 feet (320 meters).
The Formation of The Niagara Falls
The formation of the Niagara gorge, specifically its downriver, as well as the maintenance of the falls as a cataract is determined and hinged upon certain geologic conditions. The Fall has rock strata from Silurian Period and have been traced back to about 444 to 419 million years back in the Niagara gorge are almost horizontal.
They dip southward only about 20 feet per mile, that is about 4 meters per km. Also, an upper layer of hard dolomite in the Niagara is underlain by more softer layers of shale. Hydrostatic pressure is exerted by water, and upon the infiltration of the dolomites, dissolves its joints. The dolomite blocks then fall away as water coming from above infiltrates and quickly wears away the shale at the fall.
The conditions for keeping the water falling vertically at a constant rate from an overhanging ledge during a long period of recession of the cataract is provided by the disposition of the rock strata. As the blocks of dolomite are undergoing the process of undercutting, they are rapidly destroyed by the falling water as soon as they fall off. This further helps the retreat of the falls and also the maintenance of a vertical cataract.
One of the amazing thing about the Niagara Falls is that the water flowing over the falls is free from dirt or sediment. That clearness contributes to the beauty and aesthetics of the cataract.
To lessen the rate of erosion, a very large diversion of water above the falls has been channeled towards the provision of hydroelectric power. An even distribution of flow across both the Canadian and the United States cataracts have been maintained by an elaborate control work upstream from the falls. This elaborate work has also helped to preserve the curtains of the waterfalls. In 1969, water was diverted from the American Falls in order to curtail the possibility of major rockfalls.
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