Frozen Minnehaha FallsMinnehaha Falls Park surrounds this waterfall in the mid…

Frozen Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls Park surrounds this waterfall in the middle of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Minnehaha Creek tumbles over a 16 meter cliff made of Paleozoic limestones and sandstones deposited when ocean waters rose up onto the continent. The flow on this creek varies a lot and can dry up completely in years with little rain, but one of its most impressive changes occurs in the cold Minnesota winters when the falls can freeze entirely. Sometimes there will be some flow continuing in the creek, but in this shot the falls seem entirely iced over, as happens during most years.

The falls typically move only over the notch in the center, but groundwater flowing through the sediments can leak out from layers to the side of the main cascade, creating the wide panorama of icicles seen here.

These falls are developing something of a notorious history, in part due to the population surrounding it. In 2014 a kayaker plunged over the falls and suffered minor injuries. During the winter when the area is frozen, the surrounding park closes most access other than the viewing platform where this shot was taken, but people still bypass these barricades and go out onto the ice. There is an area behind the falls carved out by the flowing water that is often passable and often photographed, but that passage is treacherous and in fact someone was injured by falling ice on it just this week. 100 people were cited for trespassing this weekend and authorities are asking people to not share photos taken from illegal locations behind the falls – hence you’re getting a shot that shows the ice wall from a legal location.

-JBB

Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/dXwWVa

References: http://bit.ly/2jqUxk4
http://bit.ly/2j4bqUZ
http://strib.mn/2iY9RWf
https://www.nps.gov/miss/learn/nature/twingeol.htm



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