Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/158

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146
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

question, the New York Geological Survey, under Professor Hall's direction, had a careful trigonometric survey of the Horseshoe Fall made in 1842, erecting monuments at the points at which their angles

PSM V55 D158 Niagara river northbound to lake ontario.png
Fig. 1.—Looking north from below the Whirlpool, showing the electric road at the bottom of the east side of the gorge, and the steam road descending the face about halfway to the top.

were taken, so that, after a sufficient lapse of time, the actual rate of recession could be more accurately determined. In 1886 Mr. Woodward, of the United States Geological Survey, made a new survey, and found that the actual amount of recession in the center of the Horseshoe Fall had proceeded at an average rate of about five feet per annum. The subject was thoroughly discussed by Drs. Pohlman and Gilbert, at the Buffalo meeting of the American Association in 1886, when it was proved, to the satisfaction of every one, that, if the supply of water had been constant throughout its history, the whole work of eroding the gorge from Lewiston to the Falls would have been accomplished, at the present rate of recession, in about seven thousand years.

But the question was immediately raised, Has the supply of water in Niagara River been constant? It was my privilege, in the autumn of 1892 (see Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, vol. iv, pp. 421-427), to bring forth the first positive evidence that the water pouring over Niagara hail for a time been diverted, having been