American Falls can be seen on the left, Canadian Falls on the right.
Niagara Falls is in my mind, without a doubt, the most iconic waterfall of the world today. It is made up of three falls, the American falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian Falls. The one you’re probably most familiar with is the Canadian Falls, which is shaped like a horseshoe, is 50.9 metres high and has water rushing over it at 2 271 247 litres per second. The less iconic American Falls is 53.6 metres and much more of a straight shape with a huge pile of deadly rocks of death at the bottom that is so big the actual fall from the top of the waterfall is only 21.3 metres (only! That’s still a frighteningly enormous drop). This is the one that fore several months in 1969 ran completely dry.
It was the aforementioned large pile of rocks that were the problem. In 1931 and 1954 there had been huge rock slides and in 1965 it was revealed to the public that unless something was done about the gradual erosion of the great falls, they would eventually cease to exist. U.S. Americans don’t seem to do much half heartedly, and so in 1969 engineers managed the structure of a 600ft dam consisting of 27 800 tons of rock to temporarily stop the flow of the 12 000 year old river. Once the riverbed was dry, they studied the riverbed and bolted and strengthen faults in order to try and slow down the gradual erosion. Their original plan of removing the huge pile of death rocks was abandoned due to the estimated expense of the job…to me this seems a little ridiculous considering the amount of money they would have already spent stopping the regular flow of 567 811 Litres per second, but hey, whatever floats your cliché barrel. The dam was broken on November 25th of the same year, to a crowd of 2650 people.
~ Darcie Rae