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Monday, August 27, 2007

Niagara Falls

The following is Mr. Richard Seaman's account (with pictures) of Niagara. He has travelled a lot, and taken a lot of brilliant pictures. Please do visit his website, and buy some prints from him.

The Flying Kiwi

Niagara Falls from the air

Here's a photo looking South of the entire Niagara Falls area from The Whirlpool at the bottom to the Falls at top right. The United States is on the left, and Canada on the right. The bridge on the left-hand side is the Whirlpool Rapids bridge, so the water below it must be the Whirlpool Rapids! On the Canadian side there's a path beside these rapids which are quite spectacular in their own right. These class 6 rapids have 20 to 30 foot high waves, but these waves aren't caused by water going over rocks - the water's over 40 feet deep here. Instead, this is one of the few places in the world with rapids caused purely by a large volume of water falling relatively steeply through a narrow gorge. They are so dangerous that very few kayakers have ever run it.

Entire Area from North Of Whirlpool

The Whirlpool is a bit of a disappointment as the water does not swirl around and around.

Whirpool from the North

But the Whirlpool is interesting; if you look left of center here you can see the red and yellow Spanish Aero Car which traverses the Whirlpool on cables from one side to the other.

Whirlpool looking North

The strangest thing about the Whirlpool is how it was formed. The Niagara Falls have been moving up the Niagara River at a rate of 5 feet a year for the last 12,500 years but that changed when it got to this location, because this section consisted of soft sediment rather than rock. So it's thought that the entire Whirlpool area was cleared out in just a few days, or perhaps even a few hours. The resulting pool is 125 feet deep. Ironically, the mile long Glens immediately above the Whirlpool were much harder rock than anywhere else in the area and took almost 5,000 years to erode.

Whirlpool wide angle

At the bottom you can now see the Rainbow Bridge, then on the American side of the river there's the grotesque Prospect Park Observation Tower, right next to the American Falls, and on the right the Horseshoe Falls.

both Waterfalls and Banks from the North

There's Rainbow Bridge and the observation tower again. It was built to give Americans a better view of their waterfall, but it's not exactly an Eiffel Tower and it doesn't really work too well at its intended purpose, either!

Bridge and surroundings from the East

Below are the American Falls, with Goat Island on the right. At the right hand side of the American Falls you can see the Bridal Falls standing on their own - they look insignificant, but if they were on their own they'd be quite impressive. At the bottom of the Bridal Falls you can see yellow blobs, which are actually groups of people in yellow raincoats on the "Cave of the Winds" boardwalk, which gets up close and personal with the Falls. The "hurricane deck" is right next to the Falls.

American Falls and Goat Island

The Horseshoe Falls, also called the Canadian Falls, with Goat Island on the right. The immense cloud of mist shows how the Falls got their Indian name "Niagara", or "thundering water". On the Canadian side one can go through tunnels cut behind the actual waterfall, with side tunnels dug out so you can see the water pouring past.

Horseshoe Falls from the South

The Horseshoe Falls again, with a Maid of the Mists boat at the bottom. At the top and center of the photo you can see the water intake for the Canadian Niagara Falls power plant. Together with a power plant on the American side, it sucks off 50% of the water flow during the daytime and 75% at night. The flow down the river would be a full 10 feet higher if this water wasn't removed, but the falls would erode much faster.

Horseshoe Falls Medium Angle from North

1 Comment:

lavender cowboy said...

i love these photos. they are really beautiful. checking them out made me totally space out. the power of images...