3,160 tons of water flows over the Niagara Falls waterfalls every second, falling at 32 feet per second and being capable of producing over 4 million kilowatts of electricity. There can be no doubt in our minds that Niagara Falls is extremely powerful! However, where exactly does the water going over Niagara Falls come from? We take a look at the source of all this water, and power, along with some interesting facts.
The water starts off in North America, coming from streams and rivers that empty into 5 out of the 6 Great Lakes; Michigan, Superior, Huron, St. Clair and Erie. These lakes drain a large part of North America, flowing down through the Great Lakes basin from West to East. The water makes its way to Niagara River, which interestingly flows north!
Down the Falls
From the Niagara River, the water passes over the falls, before flowing around 23km (14 miles) north into the final of the Great Lakes; Lake Ontario. From here there is yet another river, the St. Lawrence, and then it's final resting place in the form of the Atlantic Ocean. If you were to follow the flow of water from its starting point in Lake Michigan, all the way to the end, it would take at least 15 hours. That's quite some journey!
Interesting Facts about the Water Going Over Niagara Falls
- The Great Lakes (Michigan, Superior, Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario) make up the World's largest freshwater system at around 18% of our entire supply!
- The entire volume of water in those lakes is enough to cover the whole of North America in about 3.5ft (1 meter) of water.
- These lakes rely heavily on replenishment from sources such as rain, snow, hail and even groundwater.
- However, the rest of what is contained in the Great Lakes is “fossil water”, which comes from the last ice age. That means that a lot of the water going over Niagara Falls has a fair amount of history!
- The Niagara River is actually just a connecting channel, keeping Lake Erie and Ontario supplied with water.
- Water going over the Falls can reach an impressive 109km/h (68mph).
The journey that this water takes, just to make it over Niagara Falls and into the Atlantic Ocean, is an impressive one. The next time you visit the falls, take a moment to think about how far each drop of water has come before it tumbles and crashes down into the pool below. It makes the experience just that little bit more exciting!
Experience the journey water takes close up and personally by visiting Niagara Falls. Stay at the 4-star,World Class Marriott on the Falls Niagara Falls Hotel