Friday, November 2, 2012

Tumbling Downstream

“Although it was wonderful to see all that water tumbling down, it would be even more wonderful to see all that water tumbling up.” – Mark Twain 

The blue river water of Niagara River tumbles 51 meters over the rocky cliff of the Niagara Falls on a daily basis. Every second, more than two million liters of water plummets over the half circle waterfall known as the Horseshoe Fall, making it one of the world’s largest waterfalls. The force of the pounding water is sending a cloud of mist up from the bottom of the falls; this same force eats away at the rock behind the falls, pushing them back as much as two meters per year.

Niagara Falls is actually made up of three different falls, the most famous: Horseshoe Falls. The Niagara River, the narrow strait that connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, forks around Goat Island, seen in the upper right hand corner of the image. The main portion of the river is pushed over the Canadian/ Horseshoe Falls, but the diverted water tumbles down the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls farther downstream. All three falls is what makes up the Niagara Falls. As the names of the individual falls suggest, the river and the falls mark the boundary between the United States and Canada. The American Falls is 328meters wide (1075 feet), and the Horseshoe Falls, 675 meters wide (2200 feet).

Putting the tourist attraction of Niagara Falls into context with the surrounding community, the energy derived from water falling over the falls with an average total flow of 750,000 gallons (2.8 million liters) per second, actually fuels a few power plants on the edge of the Niagara River. These power plants downstream from the Falls generate about 4.4 million kilowatts of power for both Ontario, Canada and New York, United States. The Niagara River forms the U.S.- Canadian Border and allows Lake Erie to drain northwest into Lake Ontario. Lake Ontario is actually about 100 meters lower than Lake Erie mainly because of the elevation drop of the Falls, which helps gravitate the movement of water. Without the Niagara Falls, the water from Lake Erie would not move into Lake Ontario.

How does all this relate to this city of Buffalo, New York? The port city of Buffalo, New York is located just at the northeast corner of Lake Erie where the river first leaves the lake. The city of Buffalo acts as the gateway of Lake Erie in which the movement of water flows downstream from Niagara River north through the Niagara Falls region into Lake Ontario. 

- Edward L

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Due to the preparation of Hurricane Sandy, the study will briefly come to a pause. I hope everybody is safe and ready for Hurricane Sandy as she comes up the Northeast.