Colossal Cataract: The Geologic History of Niagara Falls

Front Cover
Irving H. Tesmer
State University of New York Press, Jun 30, 1981 - History - 219 pages
In 1975 a group of distinguished American and Canadian geologists agreed to pool their knowledge to write about the geologically fascinating resource they shared. Colossal Cataract is the result of their five-year collaboration to provide both geologists and general readers with the first comprehensive geological history of Niagara Falls since 1914.

How and why the Falls were formed and how the Niagara Frontier has evolved through natural processes and through man's efforts to benefit from the dynamic power of the Falls is described in a succinct history. A chapter forecasts the possible future of the Falls, taking the natural erosion rate and the technological options for directing it into account.

The authors both correct some misconceptions about the geology of the Falls and offer a new interpretation of the structure of the bedrock. A chapter on paleontology describes the fossils that have been deposited and which might still be found.

Attached to the book is a 25 x 32" four-color map, the only available detailed geological map of the Niagara area. The map shows the bedrock distribution and incorporates the latest geological data.

Appendixes offer a glossary of geologic terms, Niagara statistics, stratigraphy, a road guide to points of interest, and a summary of museum exhibits in the Niagara region.
 

Contents

Introduction
1
The Geologic Past
16
8
24
Niagara Rock Strata
30
Quaternary Geology
41
inside front cover
52
Ancient Niagara River Gravels and Their Fossils
54
Present Dynamics of Niagara
75
Detailed Stratigraphy
101
Silurian Paleontology
141
Depositional Environments and Fossil Distribution
147
References Cited
163
Appendix A Road Guide for Points of Interest
173
Appendix B Museum Exhibits
197
Glossary
203
Contributors
209

Future of Niagara Falls
88

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About the author (1981)

Irving H. Tesmer is Professor of Geology at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

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