Niagara Falls Never Freezes Over

ENVIRONMENT

Despite sensational media reports, the falls aren’t going to freeze solid. (National Geographic)

Download and print your own coloring page of Niagara Falls.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit, including today’s MapMaker Interactive map.

Although ice regularly forms on riverbanks and ice floes on inflowing Lake Erie are not uncommon, the Niagara River never really stops falling.
Photograph by DéRahier, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-3.0

Download and print your own coloring page of Niagara Falls here. In the winter, half of the “coloring” is done for you!
Illustration by Mary Crooks, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • What is Niagara Falls? Take a look at today’s MapMaker Interactive map, as well as the “case study” in our resource on waterfalls for some help.
    • Niagara Falls is the collective name for a series of waterfalls on the Niagara River, which straddles the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of New York. The three discrete waterfalls that make up Niagara Falls are Canadian Falls (also called Horseshoe Falls), American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. The two big waterfalls, Canadian and American Falls, are more than a kilometer (.62 miles) wide. Canadian Falls drops about 57 meters (188 feet) into the lower Niagara River.
    • The north-flowing Niagara River drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. The dangerous drop of Niagara Falls prevents direct navigation between these two Great Lakes, but ships bypass the falls by way of the Welland Canal, part of the great St. Lawrence Seaway.
    • Niagara Falls is a type of waterfall known as a block waterfall. Block waterfalls descend vertically from a wide stream (in this case, the Niagara River) over a blocky cliff. Other block waterfalls include Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls), one of the “seven wonders of the natural world,” on the Zambezi River between Zimbabwe and Zambia; and Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfalls in the world, on the Iguazu River between Argentina and Brazil.
    • Like almost all waterfalls, Niagara Falls is moving! The force of rushing water over the falls is eroding the rocks below. Niagara Falls has moved back more than 11 kilometers (7 miles) over 12,500 years! River management has reduced the falls’ current rate of erosion to less than a meter (1 foot) per year and could possibly reduce it to 1 foot per 10 years. Learn more about Niagara Falls geology here.

 

 

 

 

TEACHERS TOOLKIT

Nat Geo: Why Niagara Falls Doesn’t Freeze Solid

Quartz: Niagara Falls never freezes over, except in sexy headlines

Nat Geo: Niagara Falls coloring page

Nat Geo: Niagara Falls MapMaker Interactive map

Nat Geo: What is a waterfall?

Niagara Parks: Niagara Falls Geology Facts and Figures

Niagara Falls Marriott: Does Niagara Falls Freeze in Winter?

Great Lakes Connection: All About the Lake Erie-Niagara River Ice Boom

Niagara Frontier: Breaking Ice: Ice Breakers of the Niagara River

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