The Niagara Falls are situated between New York and Ontario and are one of the most spectacular natural miracles of North America. The waterfall is situated on the Niagara River, that flows towards USA and Canada from Erie till Ontario Lake. The Niagara Falls were formeed 12.000 years ago, when the icebergs redrew towards North, leaving the water of the Erie Lake flow over Niagara, a coast line which is prolonging from the Southern part of Ontario till Rochester. Nowadays, the Canadian part withdraws by approximately 1.5 meters/year, and the American one by 15 cm/year. The falls are divided into two parts by the Goat Island. The greater one, that is the left one (Canadian) is called Horseshue Falls and is 56 meters high and 670 meters width. The other one, American Falls, situated on the right side, is 58 meters high and the length of the crest is only 320 meters.
Because of the powerful water fall, fog is created, that together with sun light, create rainbows – because of this, the Iroquois Indians called this fall – Niagara Waterfall. The Canadian and American governments built parks, viewing platforms, roads and highways. The Niagara State Park Reservation was founded in 1885 and it is the oldest park of the New York state. This includes an observation tower, elevators that descend at the basis of the American Waterfall and from where boat trips at the basement of the Horseshue waterfall can be made.
In the contemporary world, USA and Canada built two hydra-electric projects: Canadians built the Sir Adam Beck hydra-electric power station, in 1958, with 1815 MW power in Queenston, Ontario, and the Americans built the Robert Moses hydra-electric power station, in 1963, with a 2400 MW power, near Lewiston, New York. Both power stations, situated at 6 km downstream from the Niagara falls, are activated by derived water and pumped in the turbines. Most of the energy provided by these power stations are consumed by the nearby towns (New York, Niagara Falls and Ontario). The Niagara Falls is a great touristic attraction, gathering millions of visitors every year. The waterfall can be seen from the parks situated on both river banks, from the observation towers, boats, from the Goat island and from the Rainbow bridge. Moreover, visitors can see the Winds Cave, situated behind a water curtain at the basement of the falls. At night, the waterfall is lit with powerful spotlights, coloured, offering the tourists a unique lights and music show.
The falls never freeze at all because the great volume of water never stops flowing, but mounds of ice can form along the banks of the falls and river. Moreover, “ice bridges” can be formed if the winter is long and cold enough. At the beginning of the 90s, travelers were permitted to walk on that strip of ice, in the shape of a bridge and admire the landscape. But, on February 4th, 1912, the ice bridge broke up and three tourists died.The flow over the American Falls was stopped completely for several months in 1969. The idea was to determine the feasibility of removing the large amount of loose rock from the base of the falls to enhance it’s appearance. In the end the final decision was that the expense would be too great. The first person to go over the Falls in a barrel and survive was a 63 year old female schoolteacher. Twenty percent of the worlds freshwater lies in the Great Lakes, and most flows over Niagara Falls.