The Year The Army Stopped Niagara Falls
2010-05-01 0:00

By Annalee Newitz |

In 1969, the Army Corps of Engineers accomplished an awesome feat: They turned off Niagara Falls. They did it to clean up the area, and check for structural integrity. Here are pictures of this bizarre episode in structural engineering history.

These pictures were taken by tourists who visited the dry falls in 1969. Environmental design blog Mammoth explains the context:

For six months in the winter and fall of 1969, Niagaraís American Falls were "de-watered", as the Army Corps of Engineers conducted a geological survey of the fallsí rock face, concerned that it was becoming destabilized by erosion. During the interim study period, the dried riverbed and shale was drip-irrigated, like some mineral garden in a tender establishment period, by long pipes stretched across the gap, to maintain a sufficient and stabilizing level of moisture. For a portion of that period, while workers cleaned the former river-bottom of unwanted mosses and drilled test-cores in search of instabilities, a temporary walkway was installed a mere twenty feet from the edge of the dry falls, and tourists were able to explore this otherwise inaccessible and hostile landscape.

Photos from: Russ Glassonís Flickr stream.

Article from:

Ed Note: The Canadian side of Niagara Falls ("Horseshoe Falls") were left untouched in 1969, not a part of the American geological survey.

~Niagara originates from the Neutral Indian name "Ongniaahra"
meaning: "Thunder of Waters"

~Niagara Falls is the third greatest waterfall in the world in terms of volume of water:
Boyoma [Stanley] Falls - Congo - 17,000 m3/sec
Khone Falls - Laos - 11,610 m3/sec
Horseshoe Falls - Niagara Falls - 5,830m3/sec

~In 1896 Nikola Tesla developed a technology (Tesla Coil) which helped transmit electricity from Niagara Falls to Buffalo, New York.

~The Canadian Falls (Horseshoe Falls) are 167 feet high and 2,500 feet long, with 90 per cent of the water flow. The American Falls are 176 feet high and 1,100 feet long with 10% of the water flow.

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