Niagara Falls has been transformed into a partially frozen winter wonderland thanks to the recent wave of sub-zero temperatures that gripped the region.
The magical scene was captured in a series of jaw-dropping photographs that show frozen mist and ice sheets blanketing parts of the iconic tourist destination on the border of New York State and Ontario, in Canada.
The frigid spectacle formed as wintry weather blew over the northeast over the weekend, bringing freezing temperatures and a deadly blizzard to Buffalo, New York – about 25 miles south of Niagara Falls .
But while parts of the falls were frozen, they almost never freeze completely due to the sheer volume of water gushing out – combined with the constant movement of the raging liquid.
According to Niagara Falls New York State Park, 3,160 tons of water flow over Niagara Falls every second. It falls at a speed of 32 feet per second.
In fact, a total freeze is nearly impossible, according to the Niagara Falls USA Tourism website.
The US side of the falls has reached freezing point five times in history when ice blocked the flow of water further up the river, creating a dam and reducing the volume of water, according to the site.
In 1964, steel ice booms were installed to prevent large ice piles.
Instead, the magical frozen appearance of the falls is caused by surface water and mist turning to ice, covering the observation decks and creating collections of ice that gather at the base of the falls.
During particularly cold winters, ice and snow typically form on the portion of the Niagara River at the base of the falls, creating an “ice bridge.”
Until 1912, tourists and locals crossed the river via the ice bridge to get a unique view of the falls from below, right at the base of the waterfall.
People would open small pop-up shacks on the ice bridge, where they would sell everything from Niagara Falls souvenirs to contraband whisky, the Niagara Falls Canada tourism site says.
Authorities banned walking on the ice bridge after three people died when the ice broke away on February 4, 1912, and threw them into the Niagara River.
The ice bridge returns most winters due to the colder northern climate.