Excerpt from The Menace to Niagara
The heavy bed of tough dolomite limestone at the crest of the falls, which is the occasion of their existence, lies above a thick mass of soft shale which easily caves in under the rebound of the falling waters, and by so doing becomes the chief cause of the breaking down of the crest and of the cataract's retreat. This bed of shale runs down into the earth in the direction from which the water comes, the south. It will be out of the reach of the cataract after a while, leaving an escarpment wholly composed of the tough limestone, which will make the problem of retreat thenceforward quite a different one from what it is to-day. There are, moreover, fifty-seven feet of hard dolomites above the crest of the falls over whose edges the water now descends in rapids. As the cataract moves southward by the falling away of its rock face it will grow higher instead of lower, until after it has passed the parting of the waters above Goat Island. Indeed it may become fifty feet higher than it now is and so firmly upheld by the heavy masonry of limestones that caving in miist cease and further retreat will be reduced to its slowest terms.
As to the crustal movement whose tendency is to spill the waters westward out of the Erie basin, we may observe that the earth's crust is most uneasy and its movements most uncertain. Nearly every place is going either up or down, few are in a state of actual quietude. These movements have every variety of period; some may be secular, some are known to be relatively brief. Fifty years ago the shore at Perce on the Gaspe coast was going down, the fishermen had to aban don their drying stages and build them farther up the beach, but to-day the shore is coming up again and excavations for the new stages reveal the remains of the old ones which have been buried in the sea for nearly two generations. There is no knowing when the movement now affecting the Niagara region will cease.
Public resignation over the natural but distant fate of Niagara has grown to public concern at its immediate future. It is alleged that the present and contemplated industrial development at Niagara Falls immediately imperils the integrity and perpetuity of that great spectacle. Is this true? If it is, the American and Canadian public who hold this phenomenon in trust for the world ought to know it. However this question may be received and however answered by the interested producer or the disinterested public. It has on more than one occasion been ﬂatly and formally before the people of the State of New York and of the Province of-ontario and has had to be met.
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