How were the Niagara Falls formed?
Credit: David Cayless Photolibrary Getty Images
Q:

How were the Niagara Falls formed?

A:

Quick Answer

Niagara Falls was formed by melting ice that drained down the Niagara River at the end of the Ice Age and dropped off a cliff called the Niagara Escarpment. Constant refreezing and thawing of the Niagara River continues to have an effect on the falls, moving them slowly upstream due to erosion.

  Know More

Full Answer

Niagara Falls is young, having formed about 12,000 years ago. The first European to document viewing the falls was the French priest Father Louis Hennepin in 1678. The Niagara Falls became a popular destination in the 1800s after the railroad opened up travel to the area.

According to Niagara Falls State Park, about 3,160 tons of water flow over the falls each second, hitting the base of the falls with 280 tons of force at the American and Bridal Veil Falls and 2,509 tons of force at the Horseshoe Falls. The power of the falls creates the potential for industry. Attempts to harness hydroelectric power began as early as 1895 with the opening of the world's first large-scale hydroelectric generating station. The first commercial use of the alternating current occurred from Niagara Falls in 1896. Hydroelectricity continues to be one of Niagara Falls' most important products. The falls are capable of producing over 4 million kilowatts of electricity.

Learn more about Bodies of Water

Try a quiz

Q:
What's the name of the MGM lion?

Related Questions

  • Q:

    When was Niagara Falls discovered?

    A:

    The discovery of Niagara Falls is commonly attributed to a French priest, Father Louis Hennepin, who traveled there in 1678 was the first European to document them. Native Americans living in the region were likely the falls' original discoverers.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How often does Niagara Falls freeze?

    A:

    Due to the large volume of water that flows from Niagara Falls, it never actually freezes. Reports indicate that the water flow completely stopped for several hours on March 29, 1848 because of an ice jam in the upper river. This is the only time the flow paused naturally.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the major bodies of water in New York?

    A:

    Oswego City School District lists the following major bodies of water in New York State: the Atlantic Ocean, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, Lake Champlain, the St. Lawrence River, the Hudson River, the Mohawk River and the Genessee River. New York is also home to the Finger Lakes.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a wave-cut notch?

    A:

    A wave-cut notch is formed when sea waves undercut the base of a cliff. As the force of the waves continually weaken the base, the overhanging rock or the area above the notch eventually caves in.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore