Eagle Cliff Falls, near Montour Falls, c. 1900

Historical Context
For a waterfall to freeze, the temperature has to be very cold.  Water is made of tiny, moving particles called molecules.  When water gets cold, the molecules slow down and stick together, forming ice.  Because water flows very quickly at a waterfall, the water molecules are usually moving too fast to get stuck together, even if they are cold.  However, if the temperature gets cold enough, water molecules at a waterfall will slow down enough to form ice.  After the first ice crystals form, the rest of the waterfall freezes more easily.
Essential Question
How does geography impact culture and economic systems?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the impact of this water source on New York's culture and economy.
[click to enlarge]
Eagle Cliff Falls, Havana Glen, New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_HaE21_full_jpg
Document Description
Photographers setting up a tripod and camera at the base of the frozen Eagle Cliff Falls in Havana Glen Park near Montour Falls, New York, circa 1900.
  1. What are the men doing in the photograph?
Historical Challenge
When was the last time Eagle Cliff Falls froze?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: Investigate how waterfalls are formed.

Science: Research the largest waterfall in New York State. Give five facts about it and describe where it is located.
English Language Arts: Write an essay comparing and contrasting two waterfalls in New York State.
  1. Donnelly, Andrew. Waterfalls. Chanhassen, MN: Child's World, 1999. ISBN: 1567664873.