Niagara Falls

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Niagara Falls Erosion

Niagara Falls is a product of erosion. The force of the water tumbling over the Horseshoe Falls continually causes large sections of rock to erode and fall away.

Niagara Falls Erosion

The erosion is estimated at 1 foot (32 cm) approximately every 10 years. The hard top layer of dolomite limestone is underlain by softer layers of sandstone and shale. The thumbling waters cut away the shale and sandstone layers until the undermined top layer collapses, thus maintaining the vertical face of the Falls.

About 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls was 7 miles (11 kilometers) downstream from its present position. Until the early 1950's, the Falls eroded at the average rate of 3 feet (approximately 1 metre) per year.

Since then major water diversions for the Sir Adam Beck #2 Generating Station (1954) on the Canadian side of the border combined with the construction of the International Control Works (1954-1963) to spread the flow more evenly over the entire crestline of the Horseshoe Falls and the construction of the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant (1961) on the American side of the Niagara River  have sloved the rate of erosion.

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