[Jul 25th, 2015] – Niagara Escarpment, Butterfly Conservatory, Wine Factory
Blog Entry Written by Team: Fudan University
Team Members: Xinyuan ZHANG, Fei JIN, Yunhui ZHOU, Mengqi WANG, Anyi TANG, Jiaxin XIU (All Fudan Students)
Weather: Sunny, Temp: 18-30℃.
This was our third day in Canada. We set off to the Niagara Fall at 9am. Tony Yu gave us a very specific and attracting introduction along the road. Niagara Fall is the collective name for three waterfalls: Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls. They end the Niagara Gorge in the very south, straddle the international border between Canada and the United States, more specifically, between the province of Ontario and the state of New York. The fall is located on the Niagara River, which drains Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. Together the combined falls form the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world, with a vertical drop of more than 165 feet (50 m). The Horseshoe Falls lie mostly on the Canadian side and the American Falls entirely on the American side, separated by Goat Island. The smaller Bridal Veil Falls are also located on the American side, separated from the other waterfalls by Luna Island. Niagara Falls were formed when glaciers receded and the water carved a path through the Niagara Escarpment. More than 2800 m3 of water falls over the crest line every second in high flow. We boarded the ship and toured around the bottom of the falls. Down there, water poured down into foam and thundered throughout the valley. The word “Niagara” means “thunder” in the native language of the Indians. The power of nature is revealed to us all by the magnificent falls, with the beauty of nature hidden behind in the blue, crystal-like flowing stream.
The Niagara Falls are renowned both for their beauty and as a valuable source of hydroelectric power. Managing the balance between recreational, commercial, and industrial uses has been a great challenge since the 19th century. Observation from 1842 to 1927 shows that the fall receded 1.02m per year, and the vertical drop declined continuously, in which case the fall would disappear in 50 thousands years. To conserve the natural treasure, the governments of Canada and US collaborated to build a dam on the upstream of the fall. In a night-time and tourist off-seasons, the powerful water flow is used to generate electricity so that much less water flow over the escarpment, and it is more stable. Comparing to the Three Gorges Dam in China, here we see a more flexible, environment-friendlier design.
In the Butterfly Conservation, we saw various tropical butterflies and plants. Butterflies can be found all over the world, but the richest diversity is in the tropics. Fruit trays are placed throughout the Conservatory for species that feed on the juices of rotting fruit, such as the Owl and Blue Morpho. Mark told us about the eye-shaped patterns on the back of their wings. Other butterflies advertise that they are distasteful by displaying bright warning colors like orange and red. A certain kind of non-poisonous species can mimic the patterns on another noxious species. In the small Conservatory we learned about the huge diversity of living effort.
Along the road we passed miles and miles of vineyards. The warm summer, freezing winter and humid wind combine together to provide an ideal growing place for iced grapes.