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7th December, 1678 Niagara Falls was opened

On the 7th of December, 1678 Louis Enpen became the first European who saw Niagara Falls.

It should be noted that among historians there is no consensus, who was the first European to discover Niagara Falls. It is known that this area in 1604 was investigated by Samuel de Champlain. Members of his expedition told of unimaginable waterfalls, which were later described by Champlain in his journal. Also during the trip in early XVIII century Finno-Swedish naturalist Pen Calma described the waterfalls. However, most scholars agree that the first discoverer of Niagara Falls was Catholic priest Father Louis Enpen that in 1677 after a joint expedition with the French explorer LaSalle made a description of waterfalls and introduced them to the world.

The structure includes a complex of Niagara Falls waterfalls (waterfall "Veil", "Horseshoe", the American Falls) located on the Niagara River. Geographic map shows that it is located on the border of the Canadian province of Ontario and the State of New York (USA). Today, this unique place annually attracts thousands of tourists from around the world. The most scenic view of the falls opens from the Canadian coast.

Niagara Falls is the result of the Wisconsin glaciation, which ended about 6000 years ago. Niagara River and North American lake appeared as a result of the activity of the ice sheet, heading from the eastern Canada. Glacier was advancing like a bulldozer, moving and grinding stones and soil. The result is that some course of the rivers deepened and expanded, becoming a lake. Other rivers were bombarded and subsequently paved new channels.

Despite the fact that vertically waterfalls are not large, they are wide enough. Width of the "Horseshoe" is 792 m, American Falls – 323 m. According to the topographic map Niagara Falls is the most powerful in terms of volume of water passing through it (up to 5720 m³/s) in North America. Waterfalls height equals to 52 meters. However, due to the fact that at the foot of the American Falls is a heap of stones, its height of free fall is only 21m. In 1941 a few hundred meters downstream of the waterfall was built Rainbow Bridge, designed for vehicular and pedestrian traffic between two countries.

On the basis of the Niagara Falls hydroelectric station was built with total capacity up to 4.4 gigawatts.

Soil erosion provokes moving waterfalls upstream. According to experts, the rate of displacement of the waterfall over the past 560 years was approximately 1-1.5 m per year. The construction of the bypass channel, an artificial mound of stones and construction of power plants slowed down the process, and now the speed of the waterfall is about 30 cm per year.

In 1848 and in 1912 Niagara Falls froze.

This Day in History 07-12-2013