Day Two....Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls Travel Blog› entry 3 of 5 › view all entries
The day started early, we left the hotel at 7:30am and headed from Cleveland to Niagara Falls. It's a 3 1/2 hour drive. Very beautiful drive and the leaves are starting to change too. We arrived at 11:00 and bought our passport(ticket packet). $28 and it lets you see and do everything at the state park. Trolley ride, Maids of the Mist, Aquarium, Education center, and Cave of the Winds. Maids of the Mist(poncho included) is a boat ride into the horseshoe falls....AWESOME!!!! Cave of the Winds, you hike next to the American Falls.....Included with your ticket is a pair of sandals and poncho. The trolley takes you throughout the park and is worth it when you start getting tired. Did not make it to the the aquarium or the education center.
Niagara Falls is divided into the Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls.
The features that became Niagara Falls were created by the Wisconsin glaciation, about 10,000 years ago. The same forces also created the North American Great Lakes and the Niagara River. All were dug by a continental ice shest that drove through the area like a giant bulldozer, deepening some river channels to make lakes, and damming others with debris. Scientists believe that there is an old valley, buried by glacial drift, at the approximate location of the present Welland Canal.
When the ice melted, the upper Great Lakes emptied into the Niagara River, which followed the rearranged topography across the Niagara Escarpment. In time, the river cut a gorge through the north facing cliff, or cuesta.
Immediately below the hard-rock formation, comprising about two thirds of the cliff, lay the weaker, softer, sloping Rochester Formation (Lower Silurian). This formation was composed mainly of shale, though it has some thin limestone layers. It also contains ancient fossils. In time, the river eroded the soft layer that supported the hard layers, undercutting the hard caprock, which gave way in great chunks.
Submerged in the river in the lower valley, hidden from view, is the Queenston Formation (Upper Ordovician), which is composed of shales and fine sandstones. All three formations were laid down in an ancient sea, their differences of character deriving from changing conditions within that sea.
The original Niagara Falls were near the sites of present-day Queenston, Ontario, and Lewiston, New York, but erosion of their crest has caused the waterfalls to retreat several miles southward. Just upstream from the Falls' current location, Goat Island splits the course of the Niagara River, resulting in the separation of the Canadian Horseshoe Falls to the west from the American and Bridal Veil Falls to the east. Although engineering has slowed erosion and recession in this century, the Falls will eventually recede far enough to drain most of Lake Erie, the bottom of which is higher than the bottom of the Falls. Engineers are working to reduce the rate of erosion to postpone this event as long as possible.