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The name is derived from its curving, horseshoe-shaped crest that is 671 metres (2,201 ft) in width. At the center of the Horseshoe Falls the water is about 3 metres (9.8 ft) deep. It passes over the crest at a speed of about 32 kilometres per hour (20 mph). The fall is 53 metres (174 ft) high, has an average crest elevation of 152 metres (499 ft) and faces northwards. The depth of the river at the base of the falls, estimated at 56 metres (184 ft), is actually higher than the fall itself.
The falls produce a large amount of mist, which occasionally renders viewing them difficult. The amount of natural mist has been reduced since the early 20th century by the diversion of most of the water from the Niagara River for hydroelectricity. The Horseshoe Falls is observable at a direct angle from the Canadian side, and at a steep angle on the U.S. side on Goat Island. The Maid of the Mist boat offers tours which approach the base of the falls.
The Niagara Scow has rested approximately 700 meters from the edge of the falls since it was caught against a rock shoal in 1918, and a plaque today informs tourists of the history of the small shipwreck that has sat perched just above the falls for nearly a century without being dislodged.
There are only 15 people who tried to go over the falls in some version of a barrel. Nine tight rope walkers made their way across the falls. Two people swam over the falls. Two daredevils flew a plane under the bridge and another jumped off a diving board. A total of six people died going over the falls. The most recent stunt man to make it over the falls on tightrope was Nik Wallenda.
September 17th, 2012
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