Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/159

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147
ESTIMATING THE AGE OF NIAGARA FALLS.

turned through Lake Nipissing down the valley of the Mattawa into the Ottawa River, following nearly the line of Champlain's old trail and of the present Canadian Pacific Railroad. The correctness of this inference has been abundantly confirmed by subsequent investigations of Mr. F. B. Taylor and Dr. Robert Bell.[1] The occasion of this diversion of the drainage of the Great Lakes from the Niagara through the Ottawa Valley was the well-known northerly subsidence of the land in Canada at the close of the Glacial period. When the ice melted off from the lower part of the Ottawa Valley the land stood five hundred feet lower than it does now, but the extent of this subsidence diminished both to the south and the west, making it difficult to estimate just how great it was at the Nipissing outlet. A subsidence of one hundred feet at that point, however, would now divert the waters into the Ottawa River. That it actually was so

PSM V55 D159 Niagara river shore seen from the canadian side.png
Fig. 2.—View looking east across the gorge near the mouth, showing the railroads and the outcrops of Clinton and Niagara limestones above the steam road.

diverted is shown both by converging high-level shore lines at the head of the Mattawa Valley and by the immense delta deposits at its junction with the Ottawa, to which attention was first called in my paper referred to above.

  1. See article by Mr. Taylor on The Scoured Bowlders of the Mattawa Valley, in the American Journal of Science, March, 1897, pp. 208-218.