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be precipices, often, as near the Falls and elsewhere, mural in the upper half of their height or more, and terminated below by slopes of fragments, naked or overgrown with vines and other creeping plants; but more commonly they consist of ledges, and enormous displaced masses, numerous or few, high or low, according to accidental circumstances, and being interspersed with patches of soil, are clothed with underwood and fine trees. When the sides of the cliff are naked, the bright and contrasting colours of their rocks have a very shewy appearance. When they are mural, these colours are in bands.
On the Canadian side, a mile and a half below the Falls, there is a cave called the Devil's Hole. Some roots adhering to the rocks afford the means of descending to a ledge twelve feet below the summit of the precipice. This ledge is the floor of the cave, which is twenty feet square, six feet high, and has a large mouth. The roof is uneven, and is covered with damp mould. There is another cave on the American side, two 56110 miles above Lewiston; I have not seen it.
The average breadth of the river in the chasm is 300 yards; but a mile below the whirlpool it contracts to 115 yards, near the ruins of a saw-mill. Here the bottom is seen, nearly in mid-channel, to consist of large fragments of rock, over which the water passes with inconceivable fury. The precipice on the Canadian side is so shattered here, that with some ingenuity and labour, an indifferent cart-road has been made down it. Two miles and a half below the whirlpool, the breadth of the floor is 135 yards. Rather more than half a mile above the gorge of Queenston, it is 130 yards broad, and at the gorge 212 yards.
Of the depth of water in the chasm I know very little. Mr. Forsyth, the proprietor of the two hotels at the Falls on the British bank, informed me that, in the middle of the basin, in front of the Falls, the depth is 160 feet.
The bed of the river makes a gradual descent of sixty-seven feet from the foot of the Falls to Queenston gorge. At this last place, therefore, the sides of the chasm are higher than at the former. Mr. Gourlay states the elevation of Queenston heights to be 370 he
feet, and, I believe, correctly,
*Philad. Mus., ut antea. T
The scenery in the west side of this great defile is extremely rural and pleasing; but the view from the monument to General Brock, on the brow of the heights just noticed, is uncommon, as well as extensive and beautiful. In the immediate foreground, 370 feet below, are two pretty villages-Queenston and Lewiston; between them the Niagara, escaping from the chasm, expands into a tranquil river, and is traced in gentle winding through a mass of woods, seven miles across, till it loses itself at Fort George in Lake Ontario, whose wide waters, bounded on the north by blue heights, are seen in the distance. The junction of the river with the lake is marked by the heavy white building on the east bank of the former, called Fort Niagara, and the town of Niagara on the west bank, containing a thousand souls, and built in rectangular streets on a pleasant plain.
The suddenness of the depression at Queenston of the upper or Erie platform causes the escape of the Niagara from the chasm to be as sudden; but the widening of the 'stream, now succeeding, is slow, and from opposite Lewiston to Lake Ontario it seldom varies from a breadth of 700 yards. The course of the river is rather west of north: its current strongaveraging perhaps two miles per hour. The banks are of schistose clay and argillaceous sandstone at Queenston and Lewiston, supporting a gravelly loam, and are from fifty to eighty feet high; but from thence to the mouth of the river they are a rich red clayey soil, and preserve a considerable elevation throughout. At the contiguous shore of Lake Ontario, they are from twelve to fifteen feet high, of pure clay below, covered with primitive boulders and a mixed soil. The confluence takes place with little preparatory expansion. The width between Fort Niagara, and the town of that name, is from 800 to 1000 yards. There is a considerable bar of sand and mud off the mouth.
Geology of the River Niagara.
ཙྪཱ ॰ སཱ』 མ The diluvium and alluvium around the River Niagara afford
but little room for remark, and have been sufficiently noticed in the geographical portion of this paper, and while treating on Lake Ontario. There are in this vicinity few boulders, and
JAN. MARCH, 1829,
those of small size. Instead also of belonging to the districts in the west and south, they are all (as far as can be ascertained) from the east and north. The majority are primitive, but of characters so common that it seems impossible to assign their home. The red sandstone of the lower regions on the east is usual on the upper level of this river, together with the milky quartz rock of the outlet of Lake Ontario, and the arenaceous limestone from the same quarter; the latter characterised by micaceous scales, and its peculiar fossils-the plagiostomæ, &c.
It is a remarkable fact, and supplies another proof (if it were wanted) of the great chasm being the work of the present river, that there is scarcely a travelled rock in it. I met with one only a large fragment of gneis, full of small garnets, quite that of the Portage "Chaudiere des Francois" on the Lake Nipising. It may have been brought from the upper lakes in the blocks of ice which every spring are precipitated over the Falls.
The chertzy limestone at Black Rock, already described, extending into Lake Erie, two patches of the brown limestone beneath it, a little south of the village of Waterloo, on the British shore, and a small interval of argillaceous shale, below the Gorge of Queenston, are the only fixed rocks on the River Niagara, out of the chasm.
In that deep and often mural defile its stratification is beautifully developed, although seldom accessible. An examination of the face of the "Parallel Ridge" (through which it is cut) along its course to the head of Lake Ontario, shews that similar rocks underlay the districts in the west for many miles; and we shall find them to continue easterly to the primitive ranges at the east end of Ontario.
The walls of the chasm are composed (beginning from above) of the brown limestone over which the Falls pass. This is incumbent on calcareous shale, which, again, rests upon a series of arenaceous rocks, highly ferruginous in the superior portions, and in the inferior very argillaceous, and contain springs of brine. Of this last kind is the red shale, supporting the village of Queenston, and not exceeding two feet above the level of Lake Ontario.
The brown limestone, just mentioned, supports the chertzy variety at Black Rock. Under the same relations that it observes here it crowns the parallel ridge throughout the southwestern half of Lake Ontario to its head, and of course underlays the country on its south. It is from twenty-five to twentyseven yards thick, near the Falls, including some ledges contiguous to, and behind the precipice.
It is commonly fetid, of a dark brown colour, but sometimes light grey. Its texture is fine and coarse grained, and in certain layers is full of minute ragged cavities. The layers are often exceedingly thick*. Beneath the Table Rock, the lowest is thirty feet thick, or thereabouts; but subdivides suddenly close at hand. At the Upper Staircase, on the British side, the top stratum is sixteen feet in thickness; but in like manner it breaks up in both directions into a number of layers from one to three feet thick. They are very massive and light coloured near the summit of the "Parallel Ridge," one mile and a half west of Queenston. The stratum, noted as being nearly thirty feet thick, is traversed horizontally by at least six singular fissures or rifts, whose upper and under surfaces interlock firmly by rugged masses and points, overlying each other exactly as in the sutures of the cranium. The parts in contact are extremely smooth, bright, and black or brown. The prominences, sometimes one and two inches long, are usually fluted or grooved longitudinally. In hand specimens, with a little violence, this kind of dove-tailed joint can be taken asunder, and replaced. I did not observe it in the other layers around the Falls, but it occurs repeatedly down the chasm, and is very distinct in the grey limestone on the way to St. David's.
Some curious appearances present themselves at the junction of this limestone with the black shale below,-the latter there becoming rapidly thicker and browner. The bottom of the limestone, for a foot or so, is occupied by flat masses of black limestone, (apparently of the layers below,) oblong, almost all lying horizontally, with their edges rubbed off, but never more than six inches in length. They are numerous,
* It contains two small caverns: one is on the British side, a mile and a half below the Falls.
but usually separate. For several feet upwards, minute fragments (mere dots) of this limestone pervade the stratum.
I have seen this appearance only under the Table Rock. This brown limestone has been named "geodiferous" by Mr. Eaton, from its abounding remarkably in drusy cavities and geodes, lined with various crystallizations. At the Falls, they are rare in the lower layers; very numerous in the upper third; and, near the top, often constitute the greater part of the rock. These crystallizations are of pink pearl spar-nearly cubic rhombs; trihedral and hexedral pyramids of calcspar, (hyaline,) foliated selenite, purple fluor, crystals of quartz, and slender prisms of the sulphate of strontian. These minerals are either solitary, or grouped together in the same geode. Considerable masses of yellow blende are common, imbedded (with a quartzose covering) in the limestone, singly and with galena: occasionally, the most ordinary form of the crystal of the former is met with in the geodes. Large and small lumps of granular gypsum are frequent in the lower layers, but not so above their place seeming to be taken by a vast number of siliceous nodules, from two to seven inches in diameter. These are often nearly round, with a dark rough surface; and are formed of concentric layers of calcareous flint, which are either compacted into a greyish-veined substance, or are, in parts, distinct; their surfaces being lined with crystals of quartz, selenite, and calcspar; the latter occasionally of a bright salmon colour, or a delicate yellow. I believe them all to be the work of madrepores, as their cells are often very evident here; and still more so at Rochester, on the Genesee river. These nodules, the geodes and their minerals, are almost altogether wanting in the vicinity of Queenston, and in the whole course of the "parallel ridge," to Grimsby at least; but they are plentiful on the south side of Ontario."
Organic remains in this limestone are very rare at the Falls. At the Table Rock, I met with a few terebratula, many hollow casts of the fragments of encrinital columns, and one turbo. Lieutenant Bolton found another turbo. There are some nests of favasite. As well as the very unfavourable circumstances of position, &c., would allow me to observe, little change in this rock takes place on the Canadian side, to