The other day we were looking around on internet for information about Niagara Falls and ran across one of the many FAQ pages for the falls. The first question on the page asked the question above. Well we both shook our heads and said how stupid can one be, but did look to see how they answered the question.
As it turns out it is not such a silly question after all. The American and Canadian governments have agreed to keep the water flow over the falls at 100,000 cubic feet of water per second. During the tourist season Ontario Hydro and the New York State Power Authorities reduce the amount of water they draw from the river to keep the massive volume of water going over the falls. However after dusk the volume of water going over the falls is cut in half as the power companies pump water from the river above the falls into gigantic reservoirs. Ontario Hydro’s reservoir is 212 acres and is smaller than the Robert Moses Hydro reservoir in New York State. Water from these reservoirs is used during the day to make up for the deficit when they must keep 100,000 cubic feet of water per second going over the falls.
So although they do not turn the falls off at night – they do reduce the amount of water that flows over it. Who knew?
We continued reading and learned that the falls did get turned off by Mother Nature back in 1849. The news report records are sketchy from that time period. In late March a south-west gale blowing off Lake Erie cause an ice dam to form at the mouth of the Niagara River reducing the flow of water into the river to just trickle. The water flow over the falls was reduced to a mere trickle for between 30 and 40 hours. The mills and factories along the river that depended on the flow of water went silent. Fish and turtles were left foundering, and people made their way into the river bed in the gorge picking up artifacts including bayonets, gun barrels, and tomahawks of days gone by.
In 1969 the American side of the Falls was turned off for a few months while a study of the rock formation at the crest of the falls was undertaken. They also studied the feasibility of removing the fallen rock from the bottom of the falls (they decided not to remove any rock and let nature take its course).
We were going to leave the Niagara a few days ago but the weather kept us from going east so we got to go over to Canada again today and watch the fireworks this evening and got a lot of good pictures. Here are a few (and I keep forgetting to mention that if you click on the picture you should get a larger view of it).
I guess the saying is true there are no stupid questions –who knows what you might learn when you ask (or read the answer of what was thought to be a dumb question).