One of the most well-known tourist sites in North America for a long time in Niagara Falls. The thunderous waterfalls on the Canadian-American border date back more than 12,000 years. Millions of tourists visit the Falls annually to witness the 76,000 gallons of water that rush over them every second. However, in 1969, the water at this famous sight slowed to no more than a trickle.
The American Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and the lesser Bridal Veil Falls are the three waterfalls that makeup Niagara Falls. The formation of Niagara River, which links Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, was formed thousands of years ago. Although there are a few other theories, it is thought that the name Niagara comes from the poorly pronounced English rendition of the Iroquois word for the falls, which the Haudenosaunee First Nations peoples originally named “Onguiaahra.”
Researchers planned to stop the Niagara River’s water flow for five months in order to adequately view the geological formations beneath the water in order to grasp the science of the Falls better
In order to redirect the flow of water from the American side of the falls to the Canadian side, popularly known as Horseshoe Falls, more than 1,200 trucks tipped a staggering 28,000 tonnes of boulders upstream over the period of three days in June 1969.
10,000 people showed up to experience Niagara without its misty veil on the first weekend after the dewatering, despite some people’s concerns that “turning off” the Falls might also discourage tourism.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers began conducting a study once the falls were dry for the first time since, well, who knows Once the water was gone, they anticipated finding boulders and debris, but what they saw next was stunning.
After the falls had been drained, the bodies of a man and a woman were discovered there. The horrifying discovery was highlighted by The Vancouver Sun: “Police said today the decomposed body of the woman was discovered Wednesday while they searched for the man, who was seen leaping over the precipice. His body was found Thursday.” The male was described as having brown hair, being in his 20s to 25s, and wearing a green checkered shirt. The woman was wearing a crimson dress and a small wedding band made of gold that was inscribed on the inside with the phrase “forget me not.” They’ve never been given a name.
Given that there were many more suicides and accidental fatalities than these two, this was a fairly small amount of bodies. Many eager tourists tried to cross the dried-up river to collect the millions of coins dumped into the water over the years and had been dumped into the water over the years in addition to the dead.
The engineers dug into the riverbed to measure the geological stresses, faults, erosion, and pressures of the rock. Steel bolts with cables were put around important and delicate areas of the falls, including Luna Island and Bridal Veil Falls, and instruments were also used to monitor rock changes.
Niagara Falls can be made far more resilient by examining the geology of the falls and constructing infrastructure to stop any additional harm.
Turning the Falls Back on
The company managing the dewatering operation was required to conduct research, clean the riverbed’s surface, and remove loose boulders from the Falls’ face that could endanger public safety. Some also requested that the substantial talus (rock fragments that had through time fallen down the Falls and accumulated at the bottom) be removed, but as it was only for aesthetic reasons, the rock and debris were left in place.
A cofferdam, or blockage of the Falls’ flow, was gradually removed in November 1969. Workers carefully took down the dam while about 2,650 people watched the water flow back down. By the month’s end, Niagara was raging again.