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.