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Niagara Falls

The edge of  Niagara Falls erodes back at rate 4.7 feet / year.  It seems to have eroded back a total of 7.5 miles, giving a uniformitarian age of about 9,000 years.

The two assumptions in this date are:

  1. The falls started were it is thought to have started.
  2. The rate had been roughly constant.

The first one is reasonable and is likely correct. It does however need be to realized though that if that starting  point  is wrong so is any date based on it. That said the starting point will be taken as correct.

The assumption that the erosion rate has been constant is less reasonable.  The three factor that influence erosion rates are water flow rate, water purity, and the hardness of the rock. All three would have had to have been constant or have changed in just the right proportions. The odds are against either of these. For example, the faster the flow rate; the higher the erosion rate. Softer rock erodes faster. The purity of water has a big effect on erosion rates, since both grainy water and acidic water erodes rock faster, than pure water.

The flood would affect all these factors. Rock still in the process hardening after the flood would been softer than today. The run off of the Flood and  glacial melt off both  would increase flow rates. Finally post flood run off water and glacial melt off would both carry debris that would erode rock like sand blasting. As a result 4,000 years worth of erosion at the current rate could have occurred in a few years or even a few months.


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