Niagara Falls Erosion

The three waterfalls that make up the view of Niagara Falls dominate the landscape – the falls and the Niagara River are both dominant features of the area.

Niagara Falls Continual Erosion

The landscape around Niagara Falls has been shaped by this water flow for a long time. You probably have at least a general idea of erosion – the process of earth and rock being worn away by the elements (wind and water). It’s not a quick process, but it is a massive change of scenery on the right scale – one example of this being the way Niagara has changed over the past few thousand years – a change that is still happening today.

Niagara Falls has moved 7 miles

The massive volume of water going over the falls slowly wears away at the riverbed at the top of the falls. The result is that the waterfall is moving upstream. Estimates vary, but in the past 12,500 years Niagara Falls has moved about 7 miles (11 kilometres) towards Lake Erie.

Niagara Falls Modern Engineering

The difference these days is that Niagara Falls is now bolstered by modern architecture and engineering. The falls are also the site of a crucial hydroelectric facility. Both the US and Canada have water diverted into power generators on a regular basis, and upgrades to the diverting tunnels and generator catchment systems means that the amount of water going naturally going over the falls is actually significantly reduced. Massive works in the past including the 1969 redevelopment have focused on strengthening the integrity of the current location of Niagara Falls, so that these generators can keep receiving water and keep powering homes and businesses.

The rate of erosion varies, but a rough estimate is that the falls move upstream at a rate of a foot per year – a reduction from its natural average in previous centuries. This is due to both the hydroelectric developments, and the fact that the rock Niagara Falls currently sits atop is mostly limestone – much harder to erode. So for the time being, the falls aren’t moving, and it will take 100,000 years before an issue arises – good news for both the town that’s built itself around the current placement, and the generators that have invested in engineering the falls as they are.

Let Niagara move you as you look out over the Falls from one of our Fallsview Rooms. In-fact, the Marriott Fallsview Hotel & Spa is the #1 rated Fallsview Hotel on TripAdvisor. To view our rooms and packages visit: Niagara Falls Hotel Packages