It's probably one of the most amazing wonders of mother nature. Because of the severe cold weather, huge ice formations are starting to take shape along Niagara Falls—the American side—and the result is an incredible landscape of bubbling, whirling ice.
Earlier this week, a picture of the frozen falls popped up online, but it turned out to be from 2011. Meanwhile, Niagara Falls native Caitlin Dewey took to the internet to set everyone straight, saying "No, Niagara Falls is not 'frozen solid.'" And she's right—but there is an incredible amount of ice forming along its banks, and it's completely beautiful.
So, what are we seeing here? Well, the falls themselves aren't frozen. Rather, the water along the banks has frozen, reaching out into the falls to cover much of the water. According to one Niagara Falls tourism site, sometimes it gets so cold that the other side will also freeze, creating an "ice bridge:"
Until 1912,visitors were allowed to actually walk out on the ice bridge and view the Falls from below. February 24th of 1888 the local newspaper reported that at least 20,000 people watched or tobogganed on the ice. Shanties selling liquor, photographs and curiosities abounded. On February 4th 1912 the ice bridge broke up and three tourists lives were lost.
Right now, there's no such ice bridge, but it's amazing nonetheless. Flickr is flooded with absolutely magical images of the ice:
Photos: Shaheen Karolia
And you can see the partially frozen falls on EarthCam, too:
Or on the Official Niagara Falls webcam:
Twitter also has some amazing images:
— Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost) January 8, 2014
— Boston.com (@BostonDotCom) January 9, 2014
— Telegraph Pictures (@TelegraphPics) January 9, 2014
Hankering to see photographs from past instances where the falls have truly frozen? So were we. This image hales from around 1896:
Photo: London Stereoscopic Company/Getty Images
While here we see a 1920s view of the frozen water on the Canadian side of the falls:
Here are the falls under a wall of ice and frozen spray, on February 2, 1951:
This photos was taken in March of the same year—it shows a Bell Aircraft helicopter flying close to Niagara Falls, which are frozen. Only a trickle of water is coming from the falls:
Photo: Keystone/Getty Images
We'll keep you up to date on any developments at the falls as they emerge—and please, drop your images, if you have them, in the comments below. Here's hoping we'll see one of those mythical ice bridges this year.
Lead image by Shaheen Karolia on Flickr.