Niagara Falls is an amazing display of Mother Nature's awesome power on its own but in the winter, it takes on a different aura. There's something about the power behind its frigid, frozen falls and the way the trees, frozen over, seem to be halted in their place that makes it a sight to behold. The falls are massive and photos don't seem to do this location justice but they certainly do try to convey the enormity of the most powerful water flow in the world.
It's easy enough to find fast facts about this massive waterfall but how many readers know that there's a perfectly scientific reason that a trip here will boost your mood, or that it is possible to get nailed by a flying fish while visiting? Not many, we're guessing.
It Might Not Be The Biggest, But It Is the Most Powerful
You'd think that Niagara Falls would at least be in the running for the largest falls in the world but as it turns out, there are many others that would give it a run for its money. In terms of power, though, rather than sheer size, this waterfall takes the cake... or, rather, the water.
In total, there are three falls that belong to the Niagara Falls waterfall system, and combined, they create the greatest water output of any other in the world. The even more astonishing thing about them is that most of the time, they're only flowing at a percentage of their full power because some of the water is diverted for local use.
Visitors Have Been Struck By Flying Fish
Believe it or not, one of the hazards that many people don't think of when visiting the falls is the notion of falling fish. It's estimated that about 90% of all the fish that flop over the falls - as it does happen - survive when they get to the bottom. However, some of those fish do end up in unusual places that aren't at the bottom of the waterfall.
People on the Cave of the Winds tour have reported being hit with fish that seem to be raining down from Niagara Falls, making it an even more interesting trip around this massive waterway.
Many People Have Tried Unique Ways Of Riding The Falls Or Walking Across Them
Going down Niagara Falls in a barrel is no joke - one woman did it and actually survived, and her name was Annie Edison Taylor. This schoolteacher completed the feat in 1901 and lived to tell the tale, of which she said no one should ever attempt doing that again.
Walking across the falls on a tightrope was officially outlawed in 1896 after many people attempted and some failed at doing so. In 2012, a man by the name of Nik Wallenda received special permission from governments on both sides to attempt a Niagara Falls tightrope walk and succeeded, making it the longest unsupported tightrope walk to date.
It's Home To The Country's Oldest Tourist Attraction
Specifically, it's the Maid of the Mist that currently holds the title of the oldest tourist attraction on the continent. Dating back to 1846, this was the maiden voyage of the ferry that takes tourists around, and up close and personal, with the falls. However, Niagara Falls themselves are one of the oldest landmarks, period.
The Falls Themselves Are Eroding And Will Eventually Cease To Exist
Not for some time, though. It's estimated that by 50,000 years into the future, Niagara Falls will no longer be flowing as it is now. The cause of this is erosion that's taking place between the falls and Lake Erie, without which the falls would cease to, well... fall. While this space was eroding at a rate of three feet per year, it's now down to one foot per year.
A Positive Mood From Some Negative Ions Is A Gift Of The Falls
Some people note that they came back from their trip to Niagara Falls with a renewed sense of vigor and it's not just due to the adrenaline that one feels standing so close to such a monstrous waterfall. It's a scientific fact that the motion of the water - specifically, the splashing of the water - emits negative ions into the air.
These are the same negative ions that are released by waves on the beach and rainwater during big thunderstorms, so the feeling is one that many people recognize. This discharge is called the Lenard Effect and as a person soaks up those negative ions, they leave a positive, beneficial effect on the human body. In contrast, positive ions leave negative effects on the body and come from artificial lighting as well as electronic appliances.