The Whirlpool Rapids consist of 4 kilometers of 3-5 meter standing waves, making this stretch of whitewater the largest/finest series of standing waves in North America. These standing waves are thought to be caused not by rock obstructions on the bottom of the river, which is probably swept clean here, but by the sheer force (volume and speed) of the water being forced through the narrowing of the gorge at this point.
From here the water races into a part of the river called the Eddy Basin, which in turn opens out into the Whirlpool. The 90 degree turn in the river is the point at which a geological catastrophe began 4,500 years ago. Here the Falls intersected the ancient St. David’s Gorge. Today the 90 degree turn in the river provides a unique view of two worldclass whitewater rapids: upriver, the Class VI Whirlpool Rapids, and downriver, the Class V Devil’s Hole Rapids.
Thirty-seven million (37,000,000) gallons of water per minute are flowing through the whirlpool when the rate of flow is 100,000 cubic feet per second. At times of extreme low water, caused by a combination of natural conditions and increased diversion of water for electric power generation, the whirpool shows no circular motion at all and becomes a “whirlpool” in name only. When the flow of the river goes below 62,000 cubic feet per second the direction of the flow becomes clockwise, influenced by the sandstone ledge which exists under the entrance on the whirlpool’s right side.
But there’s more than Ice Age history here. This site also provides visitors with an excellent view of the 410-million year old rock layers of the Niagara Gorge. In these strata, infused under the sun with buff, rust, lavender and green, are the epic stories of plate tectonics, mountain-building, and fossils of marine creatures once alive, now gone forever.
The requirements for this cache have changed. Keep those pictures coming in, I love to see your smiling faces, but I need you to do some observations for me. Depending on when you visit the whirlpool, it may be spinning clockwise, counter clockwise, or may not be moving at all. To log your find I would like you to post the time you visited the cache, and the direction of the rotation. You may have to look closely as sometimes it mat be hard to see.
Congratulations to Mikey-Likes-It for being finder 1,000.