Water Cycles

 (Christopher Rolinson)

A waterfall is an indication that a stream is geologically young and active. The water flows over a resistant bedrock slower upstream and faster downstream causing erosion to occur more quickly downstream. This difference in velocity is caused by the increasing volume as the stream picks up more run off water and the from effects of gravity.

Pounding water and whirlpools increase the rate of erosion even faster at the base of a fall causing the waterfall to increase in size. This erosive action also causes the waterfall to move further up stream at a geologically slow rate. Often the receding erosion created by the waterfall will create a canyon downstream and a rock shelter in the soft rock behind the veil of the falls.

Here at Frankfort Mineral Springs evidence of that geological process is evident. The quarter mile canyon leading to the veiled water fall is sheer and steep. At the current location of the falls rock shelters occur in the canyon walls on both sides. Eventually the the rock outcropping created by the falls will collapse and send larger stones to the base of the falls for further erosion and tumbling downstream. There is evidence of a recent collapse to the right of the Frankfort Mineral Spring fall. It is only a matter of time that the rock shelters created by the falls will succumb to the process of erosion and continue the geologic cycle openly on display.

This collection of images and video record my observations at the water fall’s most geologically active point and the patterns created as the ongoing erosion cycles. I watched the force exerted by the cascading water and can only imagine that sometime in the near future this process will have an observable effect at Frankfort Mineral Springs.

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