Niagara Gorge

Coordinates: 43°07′15″N 79°04′14″W / 43.12083°N 79.07056°W / 43.12083; -79.07056
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Niagara Gorge
Niagara Whirlpool 2.JPG
Niagara River flowing through Niagara Gorge (from eastern brink north of Niagara Whirlpool). The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge is visible in the background.
LocationNew York, USA and Ontario, Canada
Coordinates43°07′15″N 79°04′14″W / 43.12083°N 79.07056°W / 43.12083; -79.07056

Niagara Gorge is an 11 km (6.8 mi) long canyon carved by the Niagara River along the Canada–United States border, between the U.S. state of New York and the Canadian province of Ontario.[1] It begins at the base of Niagara Falls and ends downriver at the edge of the geological formation known as the Niagara Escarpment near Queenston, Ontario, where the falls originated about 12,500 years ago.[1][2] The position of the falls has receded upstream toward Lake Erie because of the falling waters' slow erosion of the riverbed's hard Lockport dolomite (a form of limestone that is the surface rock of the escarpment), combined with rapid erosion of the relatively soft layers beneath it.[3] This erosion has created the gorge.

The force of the river current in the gorge is one of the most powerful in the world; because of the dangers this presents, kayaking the gorge has generally been prohibited. On multiple occasions, the rapids of the gorge have claimed the lives of people attempting to run them.[4] However, on isolated occasions, world-class experts have been permitted to navigate the stretch.[5] Tourists can traverse the rapids of the Niagara Gorge on commercial tours in rugged jetboats, which are based at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, at Lewiston, New York, at Youngstown, New York, and in midsummer at Niagara Glen Nature Centre on the Niagara Parkway in Ontario.[6]

Matthew Webb, the first person to swim the English Channel, drowned trying to swim the rapids of the gorge as part of a publicity stunt in 1883.

In popular culture[edit]

The 1980 movie Superman II includes a scene in the gorge, where Lois Lane tries to force Clark Kent to reveal that he is Superman by "accidentally" falling in the river so he will have to save her.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Niagara Falls Geology Facts & Figures". Ontario's Niagara Parks ( Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Erosion at Niagara Falls". Samizdat ( Retrieved 21 August 2011. Excerpt from Ian T. Taylor, In the Minds of men: Darwin and the new World Order, 1987; TFE Publishing, 1999 (ISBN 9780969178897), pp. 81–84.
  3. ^ Corrigan, Patricia (2007). Waterfalls. Infobase Publishing. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-0-8160-6436-6.
  4. ^ "American Whitewater - Niagara Gorge, Niagara New York, US". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  5. ^ "American Whitewater - Niagara Gorge, Niagara New York, US". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  6. ^ "Niagara Whirlpool Jet Home Page". Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours Inc. Retrieved 18 December 2015.