Does Niagra Falls, one of the world’s most-visited attractions, actually freeze over?
During a particularly long winter cold spell parts of the falls can develop a hardened crust of ice up to 50 feet thick. But neither the falls nor the river ever freezes solid. Though ice can block the river above the falls at times, the water continues to flow, even in a small trickle.
The image above claims to depict Niagra Falls completely freezing over in 1911. It is “suspected that this is a composite of other images” and “may be a hoax” according to the Niagra Falls Public Library. But the library website does note that ice bridges have formed and people have been documented to walk over them.
So is there a recorded day in history when Niagra Falls froze over? One of the three waterfalls which comprise Niagra Falls, the American Falls has been reported to have the water flow stopped on multiple occasions. But the largest falls, Horseshoe Falls has been reported to have frozen over once: during the historic freeze of March 1848.
According to news reports, in March of 1848 an ice jam in the upper river stopped the flow to the point where the falls appeared frozen over and the “ice bridge” was thick enough to walk across. The day is noted as March 29, 1848.
Sources: Niagra Falls Frozen Over in 1911 – Analysis (About.com)
The Day Niagra Falls Froze Over (Environemtnal Graffiti)