Niagara Falls in Winter

February 17, 2012


Photographer: Carmen Rockett
Summary Author: Carmen Rockett; Jim Foster

The photo above showing the partially frozen Niagara Falls (American Falls) was taken on March 9, 2010. A spray rainbow at bottom left accents these majestic falls. The Niagara River, part of the St. Lawrence River/Great Lakes drainage basin, is the conduit that moves water from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, a change in elevation of 325 ft (99 m) in 36 mi (58 km). Most of this elevation change occurs at the Niagara Falls, which drops 212 ft (65 m) from the rapids just above the falls to the base of the falls.

On occasion, the American Falls will freeze during a portion of the winter, but the considerably larger volume of water flowing over the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of the border prevents these impressive falls from freezing over. The last time the American Falls completely froze over was in 1949. However, installation of an ice boom at the mouth of Lake Erie, plus the building of a dam (International water control dam) that regulates flow on the Niagara River has minimized the risk of any freeze-over events since then -- and in fact, none have occurred. 

Photo Details: Camera: NIKON D60; Focal Length: 36mm (35mm equivalent: 54mm); Aperture: f/10.0; Exposure Time: 0.0025 s (1/400); ISO equiv: 100; Software: Adobe Photoshop Camera Raw 6.6 (Windows).