The Elements of Geology eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 384 pages of information about The Elements of Geology.

Assuming that the rate of recession of the combined volumes of the American and Horseshoe Falls was three feet a year below Goat Island, and assuming that this rate has been uniform in the past, how long is it since the Niagara River fell over the edge of the escarpment where now is the mouth of the present gorge?

The profile of the bed of the Niagara along the gorge (Fig. 39) shows alternating deeps and shallows which cannot be accounted for, except in a single instance, by the relative hardness of the rocks of the river bed.  The deeps do not exceed that at the foot of the Horseshoe Falls at the present time.  When the gorge was being cut along the shallows, how did the Falls compare in excavating power, in force, and volume with the Niagara of to-day?  How did the rate of recession at those times compare with the present rate?  Is the assumption made above that the rate of recession has been uniform correct?

The first stretch of shallows below the Falls causes a tumultuous rapid impossible to sound.  Its depth has been estimated at thirty-five feet.  From what data could such an estimate be made?

Suggest a reason why the Horseshoe Falls are convex upstream.

At the present rate of recession which will reach the head of Goat Island the sooner, the American or the Horseshoe Falls?  What will be the fate of the Falls left behind when the other has passed beyond the head of the island?

The rate at which a stream erodes its bed depends in part upon the nature of the rocks over which it flows.  Will a stream deepen its channel more rapidly on massive or on thin-bedded and close-jointed rocks? on horizontal strata or on strata steeply inclined?


While the river carries its invisible load of dissolved rock on without stop to the sea, its load of visible waste is subject to many delays en route.  Now and again it is laid aside, to be picked up later and carried some distance farther on its way.  One of the most striking features of the river therefore is the waste accumulated along its course, in bars and islands in the channel, beneath its bed, and in flood plains along its banks.  All this alluvium, to use a general term for river deposits, with which the valley is cumbered is really en route to the sea; it is only temporarily laid aside to resume its journey later on.  Constantly the river is destroying and rebuilding its alluvial deposits, here cutting and there depositing along its banks, here eroding and there building a bar, here excavating its bed and there filling it up, and at all times carrying the material picked up at one point some distance on downstream before depositing it at another.

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The Elements of Geology from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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