Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls
1. the falls of the Niagara River: in Canada, the Horseshoe Falls, 158 ft. (48 m) high; 2600 ft. (792 m) wide; in the U.S., American Falls, 167 ft. (51 m) high; 1000 ft. (305 m) wide.
2. a city in W New York, on the U.S. side of the falls. 71,384.
3. a city in SE Ontario, on the Canadian side of the falls. 69,423.

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Great falls of the Niagara River, on the U.S.-Canadian border.

They are divided by Goat Island into the Horseshoe (or Canadian) Falls and the American Falls. At the foot of the American Falls is the Cave of the Winds, a large rocky chamber formed by erosion. The river below the falls flows between high cliffs, forming Whirlpool Rapids. Bridges spanning the river include Rainbow Bridge between the U.S. and Canadian cities of Niagara Falls. French missionary Louis Hennepin visited in 1678. Tourism is a major industry, and the falls are a hydroelectric centre.

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      city and port, Niagara county, western New York, U.S. It lies at the great falls (Niagara Falls) of the Niagara River, opposite the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and about 8 miles (15 km) northwest of Buffalo. The British built Fort Schlosser there in 1761, and in 1805 or 1806 Augustus Porter established a grist mill and a settlement called Manchester. Both the settlement and the fort were burned by the British during the War of 1812 (1812, War of), but development of the surrounding farmlands continued; the villages of Manchester, Suspension Bridge, and Clarksville (later to merge into Niagara Falls) grew up along the river. The Niagara River's hydroelectric (hydroelectric power) potential began to be developed in 1881, and, with the formation of the Niagara Falls Power Company in 1878, the industrial future of the city was assured. Its hydroelectric plants supply power to much of New York state and to the city's electrochemical, electrometallurgical, and aerospace industries. Other economically important manufactures include paper, abrasives, machinery, electrical equipment, and food products.

      The Niagara Falls State Park (established 1885) includes Prospect Park (site of the Schoellkopf Geological Museum with exhibits on the history and formation of the falls) and areas along the river, including Luna, Goat, and other smaller islands. Tourism is a major economic factor, with millions of visitors coming to view the falls each year. Rainbow Bridge, which was completed in 1941 to replace the Falls View Bridge that collapsed in 1938, is one of several that cross the river downstream from the falls. Niagara County Community College, part of the State University of New York (New York, State University of (SUNY)) system, was founded in the city in 1962, and Niagara University (1856) is situated just outside the city limits. Tuscarora Indian Reservation is about 7 miles (11 km) northeast. Inc. city, 1892. Pop. (1990) city, 61,840; Buffalo–Niagara Falls MSA, 1,189,288; (2000) city, 55,593; Buffalo–Niagara Falls MSA, 1,170,111; (2005 est.) city, 52,866; Buffalo–Niagara Falls MSA, 1,147,711.

      city, regional municipality of Niagara, southeastern Ontario, Canada. It lies on the west bank of the Niagara River, opposite Niagara Falls, N.Y. Development of the city, which was named Elgin in 1853, began with the completion in 1855 of the first suspension bridge across the Niagara gorge. The city was renamed Clifton in 1856 and received its present name in 1881. In 1963 it merged with Stamford Township, increasing its area 12-fold. The city's importance is due largely to the Niagara Falls cataract, which is a major source of electrical power for Ontario and is one of the nation's most popular tourist attractions. Now connected to Niagara Falls, N.Y., by three bridges, including the Rainbow and Whirlpool Rapids bridges, the city is also a customs port and industrial centre. Manufactures include electrochemicals, fertilizers, abrasives and refractories, silverware, cereals, machinery, sporting equipment, paper goods, and food products. Queen Victoria Park stretches along the bank of the river above and below the falls and includes the Oakes Garden Theatre. Inc. 1904. Pop. (2006) city, 82,184; St. Catherines–Niagara metropolitan area, 390,317.

 cataract on the Niagara River in northeastern North America, one of the continent's most famous spectacles. The falls lie on the border between Ontario, Can., and New York state, U.S. For many decades the falls were an attraction for honeymooners and for such stunts as walking over the falls on a tightrope or going over them in a barrel. Increasingly, however, the appeal of the site has become its beauty and uniqueness as a physical phenomenon.

      The falls are in two principal parts, separated by Goat Island. The larger division, adjoining the left, or Canadian, bank, is Horseshoe Falls; (Horseshoe Falls) its height is 185 feet (56 m), and the length of its curving crest line is about 2,200 feet (670 m). The American Falls, adjoining the right bank, are 190 feet (58 m) high and 1,060 feet (320 m) across.

      The formation of the Niagara gorge (downriver) and the maintenance of the falls as a cataract depend upon peculiar geologic conditions. The rock strata from the Silurian Period (438 to 408 million years ago) in the Niagara gorge are nearly horizontal, dipping southward only about 20 feet per mile (almost 4 m per km). An upper layer of hard dolomite is underlain by softer layers of shale. Water exerts hydrostatic pressure and only slowly dissolves the dolomite after infiltrating its joints. Dolomite blocks fall away as water from above infiltrates and rapidly erodes the shale at the falls itself. The disposition of the rock strata provides the conditions for keeping the water constantly falling vertically from an overhanging ledge during a long period of recession (movement upstream) of the cataract. As blocks of dolomite are undercut they fall off and are rapidly destroyed by the falling water, further facilitating the retreat of the falls and the maintenance of a vertical cataract.

      The water flowing over the falls is free of sediment, and its clearness contributes to the beauty of the cataract. In recognition of the importance of the waterfall as a great natural spectacle, the province of Ontario and the state of New York retained or acquired title to the adjacent lands and converted them into public parks.

      In recent years the very large diversion of water above the falls for hydroelectric-power purposes has lessened the rate of erosion. Elaborate control works upstream from the falls have maintained an even distribution of flow across both the U.S. and Canadian cataracts, thereby preserving the curtains of the waterfalls. A large part of the great river above the falls is diverted and disappears into four great tunnels for use in the power plants downstream. Owing to concern over the possibility of major rockfalls, water was diverted from the American Falls in 1969, and some cementing of the bedrock was done; an extensive boring and sampling program was also carried out. River flow was returned to the American Falls in November of that year, and it was decided that safety measures for the viewing public should be implemented and that measures to stem natural processes were both too expensive and undesirable.

      Excellent views of the falls are obtained from Queen Victoria Park on the Canadian side; from Prospect Point of the U.S. side at the edge of the American Falls; and from Rainbow Bridge, which spans the Niagara gorge about 1,000 feet (300 m) downstream from Prospect Point. Visitors may cross from the U.S. shore to Goat Island by footbridge and may take an elevator to the foot of the falls and visit the Cave of the Winds behind the curtain of falling water. The Horseshoe Falls, which carry about 90 percent of the river's discharge, receded upstream at an average rate of about 5.5 feet (1.7 m) per year in 1842–1905. Thereafter, control works and the diversion of water decreased the erosion rate, which is presently so slow at the American Falls that large blocks of dolomite accumulate at the base of the falls, threatening to turn it into rapids.

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Universalium. 2010.

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