Thundering Waters: Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls is a prominent and famous fountain in human culture. It is famous tourist site for people all over the world, as well as a popular honeymoon site. For the Seneca and Iroquois tribes, the falls was the home of a thunder and water god. The local people find the thunder of the falls to be comforting. The Iroquois gave the falls it name, Nee-ah-gah-rah which translated means Thundering Waters.
The falls, in reality, are three separate waterfalls, named the Horseshoe Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and American falls. Niagara Falls actually sits between the border of Canada and America. The falls are shared equally by both, and are surrounded by two twin cities, Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York.
The stories and myths surrounding the falls are numerous and exciting. One myth is handed down from Native American culture regarding the creation of the Horseshoe Falls. The story goes that a young maiden fell over Niagara Falls in her canoe, some stories say on purpose others on accident, and was caught by Heno, the thunder god. Heno brought her back t his home under the waterfall, and had his sons care for her. The youngest son fell in love with her, and they were married. However soon, she missed her people and wanted to visit. Heno learned of an evil snake that planned to poison the water her people drank so the snake could eat them.
The maiden begged Heno to take her to her people so she could warn them about the snakes plan. Heno agreed and the maiden was able to save them by telling them to move away from Buffalo Creek.
The snake tried to follow them up the river, which angered Heno. He sent a thunderbolt to kill the snake. The body of the dead sneak becomes caught on the cliffs creating a horseshoe shape. As a result the water had to diverge and choose a direction, so half the water spilled into Heno’s home, forcing the whole family to move into the clouds, where the thunder god still lives today.
Geologists have more scientific reasoning’s for the creation of the falls. They believe that the combination of erosion from the Niagara River and the melting of glaciers are what created the falls. Erosion has continued to play a part in the development of the falls, as when they were first discovered it was much closer to Lewistown, NY, but the erosion of the Limestone causes it to slowly retreat backwards more and more.
Each minute there is 6 million cubic feet of water falling over the falls, with 90% of it flowing over Horseshoe Falls. The highest points reach 170 feet tall. The area is surrounded by a hydroelectric plant which makes use of the rivers energy to power the two cities.