This is what scientists found at the bottom of Niagara Falls that left them so disturbed. Back in the summer of 1969, a group of engineers had found the long-hidden secret of Niagara Falls. The moment they realized how to stop them from flowing, they ventured upon succeeding in it. Yet, no one was afraid of the unknown from beneath, and they should have been.
You might think this was a mission impossible to stem the flow of Niagara Falls, but for these scientists, nothing was impossible. So, in 1969, its hidden gems were about to get revealed. Keep watching to find out what these scientists discovered.
Whether you first saw Niagara Falls in person or in a video, you were surely amazed by its vastness. Now, millions of tourists visit it every year and post their pictures on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. Many of them even write blogs and make vlogs about the falls, explaining their personal impressions and excitement. Surely, words cannot describe everything, nor can a camera depict the real sensations one can get at the actual site.
So, everyone should visit Niagara Falls at least once in their lives. Still, the site wasn’t as amazing five decades ago when the scientists decided to investigate it. When scientists decided to look behind the scenes of Niagara Falls, they had no clue what might be dwelling underneath. The moment they announced their plans, the public eye was set upon them. Many people wanted to witness this extraordinary moment in history. Tempering nature is always a challenge, so many wondered if these people could really do it. Were their plans based on real possibilities, or just wishful thinking?
Still, as the amount of water in the fall started to recede, the trust of spectators and scientists started to grow. Back in the past, about 18,000 years in the past to be precise, Niagara Falls didn’t exist. They were formed when ice sheets came from the North Pole, leaving behind the great areas of landscape known as North America.
It was not until the huge chunks of ice melted that the falls came into existence. Upon the melting of the glaciers, a vast amount of water was sent into the Niagara River. The falls didn’t form immediately; a lot of time had to pass to let the water erode the cliffs and thus form the falls as we know them today.
Today, Niagara Falls stands as a natural border between two similar but very different countries, Canada and the United States. Even though they’ve been visited by many people from around the world, it’s not known how long ago they started getting their visitors. Maybe it was thousands of years ago or even much earlier than that.
We can only assume that the locals were enjoying their beauties long before the world found out about them. There are no written records about their first visitors, nor about the first domestic admirers. What’s actually known is that many different indigenous communities lived in their neighborhood.
There are written records saying that the first person from Europe who heard about Niagara Falls was an explorer from France named Samuel de Champlain. That was somewhere at the beginning of the 17th century.
Still, he was not the first one from Europe to go there and visit the falls. On the other hand, not until 1678 did anyone from Europe go and see the falls in person. The man that did that was Father Louis Hennepin, who went to Niagara Falls in search of New France. At least that was the name they gave to this part of North America.
Five years after he returned from the falls, Father Lewis Hennepin put his thoughts and impressions on paper. He wrote a “New Discovery” article in which the name of the falls first appeared. So, basically, as a term, “Niagara Falls” came into existence in the year 1683. The name came from the word “angiara,” an Iroquoian word which actually means “the straight.” Upon publishing this article, Father Lewis Hennepin became famous as the first person from Europe who saw Niagara Falls.
After that, many visitors from Europe came to see the beauty they read about. Not until the 1800s did Niagara Falls become a tourist destination. So, basically, about 200 years after its discovery, the first tourists from Europe came to see and admire the vastness of the amazing waterfalls. At this time, the first serious business people, hoteliers mostly, realized the full potential of the place. So, they started making lucrative investments on the land around the waterfalls.
Even at its beginning as a tourist destination, Niagara Falls lured honeymooning couples to its site, and it’s remained a favorite destination of newlywed couples even today. The only difference is that in the 1800s, there were few places where people could spend their money, and today everything’s overpriced.
Not only did people who wanted to enjoy their free time and relax a bit come to Niagara Falls; even serious industrialists had seen the good side of the site. They realized a huge potential the falls had and still have even today. They realized they could make use of the waterfall to power their factories and also their mills. At the end of the 19th century, the world’s first hydroelectric generating station was built near Niagara Falls. It soon started producing a great amount of electricity, which could be put into use.
Even though the new hydroelectric generating station was a revolutionary invention, it wasn’t able to carry electricity to long distances, only up to 300 feet. This was not a good thing, so something had to be improved, but no one knew how. One day, Nikola Tesla came and made a huge impact on the world we know today.
This man found a way to send electricity to long distances by the use of alternating current. At first, as an experiment, the electricity was sent as far as Buffalo, New York, which was about 20 miles distance from the power plant. Even though this invention was made more than 100 years ago, it still works the way it did at the time Tesla lived. It’s as important today as it was in previous entries. After all, what electricity is better than the electricity produced from renewable sources today?
These waterfall power plants produce more than 2 million kilowatts of power. In this century, it’s become even more significant than in previous centuries since the cities have become overpopulated and polluted. Only the energy produced from renewable sources like water, wind, and the sun can save us from our own destructive nature.
Since Niagara Falls is a natural border between Canada and the USA, it naturally belongs to both countries. From both sides, it gets more than 15 million tourists per year or more than 30 million tourists in total yearly. So, basically, both countries share the benefits these waterfalls provide to them. At the falls, six million cubic feet run down in one minute. Amazing, right? Just imagine what damage that much water could make if let outside the falls. It could ruin entire cities. You know the saying goes, water and fire are dangerous servants but fearful masters.
Believe it or not, the amount of water in Niagara Falls changes during the night. It happens that there’s less water in the falls during nights. How’s that possible, you might wonder woman, who had never been married, decided to mark her 63rd birthday in an extraordinary way. It wasn’t only a great way to celebrate her birthday, but she also had a strong wish to secure her financial future. This woman decided to become the first person ever to ride down the falls in a barrel.
Annie Edson Taylor designed her own barrel for this dangerous endeavor. She built it from oak and iron, while the insides of it were padded. The bottom was stuffed with a mattress, so in a way, she was pretty safe. Still, if you ask anyone around today whether they would like to ride down Niagara Falls in a barrel, you would hear only a big no.
Before she jumped, Annie Edson Taylor said, “No one ought ever to do that again.” She was right. Not many people know about Annie and her birthday celebration. Still, she should be remembered for her bravery. She was a brave woman, but still, the question is, would she be remembered for her bravery if she was not the first one to try it? Most certainly, there were some others who had the same wish to achieve fame in this adventurous way, but they probably gave up the idea after they heard about Annie’s experience.
After the operation to silence the American Falls, the engineers brought back the waters in November 1969. No one would do the same thing today, as the consequences would be devastating. Today, people respect the laws of nature, and that’s a good thing.
So, the conclusion of this story about Niagara Falls is that the American Falls were silenced only once and that was in 1969. This happened with the help of engineers and locals, who were willing to experience a momentous event. They were curious about what was hiding beneath Niagara Falls, but were also a bit afraid of what they might find. Still, the curiosity was stronger, and that’s why the event took place in the first place.
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