Map of the Niagara River Whirlpool, c. 1900

Essential Question
How does geography impact culture and economic systems?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the information contained in this map and explain the influence of this water feature on New York's culture and economy.
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Map of Niagara River Whirlpool, New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_NiL2
Document Description
Map of the Niagara River Whirlpool showing the directional flow of the river and the relief of the surrounding land, circa 1900.
  1. Why is the area in the photograph called "The Whirlpool"?
  2. How big is the Whirlpool?
  3. In what direction is the water flowing in the Whirlpool?
  4. Would this be a good place to swim? Why or why not?
  5. The Whirlpool is located in the Niagara Gorge. What is a gorge? What features of a gorge do you see on this map?
Historical Challenge
Sometimes the water in the Niagara Falls Whirlpool flows clockwise. Why doesn't this map show the water flowing clockwise?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: Draw what the Niagara River would have looked like if the glacier had caused a 45° turn rather than a 90° turn. Do the same for a 180° turn and a 270° turn.

Science: Research the impact that glaciers have had on various land formations in New York State and the United States. Name three major land formations.

Science: Research the flow of water through the Whirlpool. Why does the water flow in a circle? How does it get out of the Whirlpool?