Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls

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GPS N43.079546°,W79.075985°
The Niagara Falls are great falls located on the international border of United States and Canada, on its eastern part, in New York State in US and province of Ontario in Canada. Actually, they are the second largest falls on the earth after Victoria Falls in southern Africa.

There can be three distinct falls recognized on the Niagara River. Two of them are on US side (the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls) and the third one on Canada’s side (Horseshoe Falls).

One fifth of all the fresh water in the world lies in the four Upper Great Lakes-Michigan, Huron, Superior and Erie. The entire outflow empties into the Niagara River and eventually cascades over the falls. At the bottom of the falls, the water travels 24 kilometres (15 miles) over many gorges until it reaches the fifth Great Lake – Ontario. The land between the lakes does not slope at an even grade, but forms a magnificent drop approximately the same height as a 20 story building and this is known as the "Niagara Escarpment". The escarpment was made by erosion and is much older than the river itself.

As time has passed, the erosion created also five distinct gorges “Lewiston Brange Gorge”, “Old Narrow Gorge”, “Upper & Lower Great Gorges” and the “Whirlpool Narrow Gorge”. Some 500 years ago the river split into two channels and an island was created. It is called the Goat Island (in 1780 a herd of goats froze to death here, that is where its name comes from). On the eastern part of the island, the American Falls took shape, the Horseshoe Falls, is on the western side. The American Falls is less strong because of the island. There are also the third much narrower falls. Over the years they had different names (Luna Falls, Iris Falls); today they are called Bridal Veil Falls.

Very frequent question is whether Niagara Falls freezes during the winter. The water never stops flowing. However, the falling water and mist create ice formations along the banks of the falls and river. This can result in mounds of ice. If the winter is cold for long enough, the ice will completely stretch across the river and form what is known as the "ice bridge". Until 1912 people were even allowed to walk on the “ice bridge”, but in this year it broke and three tourists died. Once, in 1848 the flow of water was halted for few hours due to the long ice in the upper river.

Niagara Falls is awesome also at night. In the evenings, intense spotlights bathe the falls with different shades of color. The first attempt to light it was in 1860, but it was firstly realized just in 1925. The beauty of the Niagara Falls attracts around 12 million tourists each year.

The Canadian Horseshoe Falls are located between the Goat Island and the Table Rock. It has have a brink of 792 metres (2600 feet) and the same height as the American Falls – 53 metres (167 feet). The Horseshoe Falls have a volume of 2 270 000 litres (600,000 U.S. gallons) per second. However, Horseshoe Falls is considered to be Canadian, almost 1/3 of the it lies within US territory, since Goat Island between the two Falls is also US territory. There are two hydroelectric plants that can control the amount of water. Flow is greatest in the daytime during peak tourist season (June, July, and August).

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