excerptNiagara Falls are situated at the border between the United States and Canada, in the north of New YorkState. It is situated on the middle of the course of Niagara River, that springs from Lake Erie and flows into LakeOntario.Its name is of Indian origin. Indians used to name their tribe and the region in which they lived after the most important natural phenomena characterizing that very region or the other way around; in this case, the most important phenomenon is this fall. It is believed that the name of Niagara comes from the dialect of the Iroquois Indians, who have been living in this region up to this day; the name means "Water Thunderer."Niagara River is 36 miles long. It springs from Lake Erie, in Buffalo, the most important harbor of eastern navigation on the lakes, and it flows into LakeOntario, at Niagara Fort. During its flow it forks twice: first, three miles after it has sprung from Lake Erie; it goes round Grande Island, then it gets reunited and near the falls it produces several smaller falls, called Rapids, which, numerous as they are, make the river look very picturesque; in this area the river has a wavy surface, white with foam and it produces a cadenced murmur, which added to the unique sound of the great falls, brings about an inimitable, unforgettable harmony.Before turning into a fall, Niagara River forks again, goes round Goat Island and forms the American Niagara (the United States) and the Canadian Niagara (on the left shore); once it gets there, two perfectly vertical falls are produced: the American one is 1000 feet wide and falls from 160 feet; the Canadian one, which is horse-shoe shaped, is 2600 feet wide and falls from 158 feet. During the fall, the water changes colour from bluish-green to snow-white, except for the Canadian part where the water is green, because of its depth of 7 meters; it is as if fluid emerald sprang from some unknown caves of the Arabian Nights.As it falls, a shower of infinitesimal drops rises twice as high as the fall itself; when the wind blows it spreads it over a distance of several kilometers. This shower produces amazing phenomena of the solar spectrum: for example, I saw a rainbow whose circumference was perfect.After the falls, Niagara flows on towards north, forming several rapid small falls over a distance of 14 miles, between two vertical walls (Niagara Straits), resulted from endless erosion; it finally flows into Lake Ontario.Niagara River is very fast; the difference between the water level at Lake Erie and that at LakeOntario is of 326 feet, that it is an average slope of 17 mm per meter, which is really amazing.The quantity of water is enormous; 424,452 cubic meters per minute, namely 25,485,162 cubic meters per hour, or 601,643,888 cubic meters per day. Extraordinary Journeys, CD Press, 2001

by Gregoriu Ştefănescu