Falls Erosion

How much does Niagara Falls erode each year?

Studies to determine how much erosion was taking place were started in 1842. Between that year and 1905 erosion took place at the rate of 1.16 meters, or 3.8 feet per year, at Horseshoe Falls. Between 1906 and 1927 the erosion rate declined to .70 meters, or 2.3 feet per year. The decline was due to water being diverted for hydro electric generation.

Currently remedial efforts are underway to reduce the erosion even more. It is estimated that erosion is reduced to less than 1 foot per year due to those efforts. At American Falls the flow rate of 10,000 cubic feet per second is insufficient to cause any major erosion.

As it stands today, American Falls has an erosion rate of about 3 to 4 inches per year. The biggest factor for the American falls is the fact that it has cracks at the Crestline in the top cap rock layer. Underneath that is a softer shale layer. The lifting action of water coming through these cracks cause them to become larger and along with the freezing and thawing each year, the rock structure continues to weaken until that part finally cracks and falls off. The flow at American Falls isn’t strong enough to erode the rocks at the bottom of the Fall.

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  • RV

    How much does Niagara Falls erode each year?

    Studies to determine how much erosion was taking place were started in 1842. Between that year and 1905 erosion took place at the rate of 1.16 meters, or 3.8 feet per year, at Horseshoe Falls. Between 1906 and 1927 the erosion rate declined to .70 meters, or 2.3 feet per year. The decline was due to water being diverted for hydro electric generation.

    Currently remedial efforts are underway to reduce the erosion even more. It is estimated that erosion is reduced to less than 1 foot per year due to those efforts.

    At American Falls the flow rate of 10,000 cubic feet per second is insufficient to cause any major erosion. As it stands today, American Falls has an erosion rate of about 3 to 4 inches per year. The biggest factor for the American falls is the fact that it has cracks at the Crestline in the top cap rock layer. Underneath that is a softer shale layer. The lifting action of water coming through these cracks cause them to become larger and along with the freezing and thawing each year, the rock structure continues to weaken until that part finally cracks and falls off. The flow at American Falls isn’t strong enough to erode the rocks at the bottom of the Fall.

  • emil

    Between 1842 to 1905 the erosion rate was 1.16 meter/year at Horseshoe Falls, and it was 2.3 feet per year in between 1906 to 1927. It looked like it reduced about 1 foot, but it did still happen, as it happens nowadays. It’s current erosion rate is 3 to 4 inches per year at the American Falls. What matters most here is: the erosion still does happen. What would we do? I would say: “Enjoy it while we still got it!. Thousands of tourists come from abroad to see the Falls, why wouldn’t we?”

  • RV

    One reason for the American Falls less errosion is the tapping of 50% of the water goinging to the falls is diverted to the Robbert Mosses power station

  • paul osinski

    One reason for the American Falls less errosion is the tapping of 50% of the water goinging to the falls is diverted to the Robbert Mosses power station