Niagara Falls Can Be “Turned Off”


Health Editor’s Note:  I found this to be a surprising occurrence.  The ability to turn off Niagara Falls, can that really happen.  For anyone who has been to the falls, this seems to be an impossible task when you see and hear the thundering falling and crashing water.  The three falls that make up this “natural” phenomenon produce the highest flow rate of any waterfall in North America. Apparently the falls can be switched off when there is work to be done and this will not be the first time…amazing….Carol 

When Niagara Falls Ran Dry

by Jim Crair Smithsonian Magazine

Niagara Falls has seen plenty of dramatic stunts over the centuries, ever since a local hotel owner sent a condemned ship with a “cargo of ferocious animals” over the falls in 1827. (Only the goose survived the plunge.) But no feat has attracted more visitors than a scientific survey conducted in 1969. That year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers turned off American Falls. The engineers wanted to find a way to remove the unseemly boulders that had piled up at its base since 1931, cutting the height of the falls in half. But the study itself proved more appealing than any improvement they could recommend. The first weekend after the “dewatering,” about 100,000 people showed up to see this natural wonder without its liquid veil.

The performance will have an encore at some point in the coming years when New York State once again dewaters American Falls. The purpose this time is more pedestrian—to replace two bridges—but the process will be the same. Engineers will construct a dam between the American bank of the Niagara River and the eastern tip of Goat Island, stopping the flow of water—nearly 76,000 gallons every second—over the 11-story drop.

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  1. After seeing that picture of the Falls without the raging cascade of water, I have changed my plan to tumble over the falls in a wooden barrel. If a barrel falls from a truck and disassembles, just think what those rocks would do to it.

    • I think the last person to do it and survive was Annie Edson Taylor on her 63rd birthday. When she climbed out of the barrel she said, ‘No one ought ever do that again”. But she is known as the Queen of the Falls, and in my book , a real bad ass.

  2. I’m thinking of the coinage that must lie at the base of Niagara; all those honeymooners over decades and decades.

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