Niagara Falls is located along the US/Canadian border. Part of Niagara Falls is in the United States and the other in Canada. Not only is Niagara Falls a desirable sightseeing destination, it offers lots of history and interesting experiences. There are amazing facts about Niagara Falls that put it on the map as a truly unique place.
Niagara Falls formed over 12,000 years ago, but it is thought that the formation took place hundreds of millions years in the past. Five hundred million years ago the Taconic Mountains were a range that covered an eastern part of the central United States that eventually eroded down to form the Appalachian, Allegheny and Catskill Mountains of today. The water run-off from the Taconic Mountains moved to the west creating compressed layers of rock and sediment. About two hundred million years ago, the climate of the Earth changed causing the polar ice caps to expand and gauged the Great Lakes. When the glaciers melted 12,000 years ago, the Great Lakes were formed along with Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls is the second largest waterfall in the world and is actually made up of three separate falls that are located near each other. The falls are a strait, which is a narrow passage of water that connects two large areas of water, combining Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, two of the five Great Lakes. Four of the five great lakes drain into Niagara Falls and eventually into the Atlantic Ocean. The Great Lakes account for 1/5 of all the fresh water in the world, and at some point, most of this water goes over Niagara Falls.
Power of the falls
The amount of water flowing over Niagara Falls is immense. According to Niagara Falls State Parks, the water flowing over Niagara Falls flows at 9.6 m (32 feet) per second. This causes the water to fall at between 254 and 2,276 tonnes (280 and 2,509 tons) of force at the various falls. 2,867 tonnes (3,160 tons) of water flow over the falls every second creating 286,740 litres (75,750 gallons) of water per second over the American and Bridal Veil Falls and 2,580,700 litres (681,750 gallons) of water per second over Horseshoe Falls. This gives the falls the ability to create over 4 million kilowatts of electricity, which is shared between Canada and the United States.
Famous state park
Niagara Falls are home to 14 species of rare plants, and home to one of New York's endangered fish, the lake sturgeon. Over 100 years ago, the Niagara Reservation was created by Frederick Law Olmsted, and now is considered the oldest park in the United States. There are several visitor centres, observation points and a discovery centre that offer information to the 12 million tourists that visit the park each year.
Going over the falls
There are many legendary stories of individuals that attempted to go over the falls in a barrel, including Harry Houdini. The first to survive the trip over the falls was Anne Taylor in 1901. Several others have followed Taylor's attempts, both successfully and unsuccessfully.