A Rock In A Hard Place
Ever wonder what lies beneath the Niagara Gorge? What about geology of the Falls? For those who know the story of the evolution of Niagara Falls will know that the southern Niagara Region was once covered in sheets of thick ice that ran 2 to 3 kilometers in length. When the sheets of ice melted 12,000 years ago, a mass flow of water rushed over the rocks that quickly filled the basins with waters, leaving layers of sedimentary rock that ripped the walls of the rocks along the Gorge leaving behind debris and fossils under the Niagara Gorge and well into Lake Ontario. 12,000 years ago, the Niagara Escarpment was created chiseling rock for 7.5 miles starting at the Niagara Whirlpool to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls.
Many often ask what type of rock sits under Niagara Falls to sustain the large amounts of water that flows down the river and over the falls per second. When the falls tore through this section on the River 4,500 years ago it exposed rock layers made up of clays, muds, sands, that cooked under the amounts of pressure forming a sedimentary rock. Today, if you travel to the Niagara Gorge and along the Niagara Glen, you may find fossils belonging to annelids (worms), bryozoans (look like twigs, branches, crusts, mounds or networks), brachiopods (clam-like), molluscs (clam-like, limpet-like, and snails), echinoderms (flower-like crinoids, still exist in seas today), graptolites (feathery), corals, sponges, and fish. These fossils date back millions of years ago before Niagara Falls was even created. The famous Niagara Escarpment has been recognized by United National Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an internationally significant ecosystem and environment, placing the Niagara Region on the map with other destinations such as, Florida Everglades, Galapagos Islands and Africa’s Serengeti.
Not only does the beauty and nature of Niagara Falls draw millions of visitors each year to the iconic destination, but the beauty of the Niagara Gorge, Niagara Glen and Whirlpool draws in nature lovers to the destination as well.
Walking trails have visitors rolling up their sleeves and pants and tying up the runners to explore the history of one of the world’s natural biospheres by foot. From fishing, to having a picnic, to hiking along the boulders, there are a number of free activities to see and do while exploring the Glen. The Niagara Glen is a nature reserve that over looks the Niagara River Whirlpool. Keep in mind when travelling the glen, the elevation changes from 200ft (60m). So be sure to pack water and wear proper clothing and attire. The Niagara Glen offers something for everyone, check out some of the free activities to explore while visiting:
It is estimated that the Niagara Whirlpool formed 4,300 years ago from the upstream erosion of the Niagara Escarpment. The sharp and sudden change in the water formation has the Niagara rapids reaching 30 ft. in height creating some of the most turbulent and biggest rapids in North America. During a normal flow, the water spins in counter clock wise, but when more water is diverted to the surrounding area from the hydroelectric power plants, the water reverses. The depth of this natural wonder is said to be 125 feet which is almost as equivalent to the height of the Niagara Gorge walls that surround it. Today, visitors can get up close and personal with the turbulent waters by visiting the ‘Niagara River Walk’ which brings you on a boardwalk up close to witness the massive rapids hitting together in front of your own eyes. Visitors looking to experience the thrill, jolt and action should visit Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours that takes you on a journey of the Niagara River and through the class 5 rapids.
Travelling anytime soon to Niagara Falls, Canada? Be sure to experience the ultimate natural beauty that awaits you this Fall. The warm shades of reds, yellow and oranges illuminate the trees making it picture perfect scenery for anyone to enjoy. Other great time to explore the Niagara Gorge, Niagara Glen and the Whirlpool is in the Spring and Summer.