Some Startling Figures
Before the recent rain and snow the water in Lake Ontario was four feet two inches lower than the height last spring. Lake Ontario cannot run dry, for its average depth is 500 feet, and the cevation of its surface being 231 feet above tidewater it follows that the bottom of the lake is about as far below the level of the ocean as the surface of the lake is above the ocean. The area of the lake is 6300 square miles. Besides its great feeder, the Niagara river, Lake Ontario receives the water from the Genesee, Oswego and Black rivers in New York State, and from the Trent, Moira and Nepanee rivers in Ontario.
The Canadian contribution is small, because the range of hills a little north of the lake throws most of the rainfall the other way. Observations taken at the moqth of the Genesee river (Charlotte) from 1845 to 1859 showed that there was no periodical rise and fall of the lake level, The variations are dependent upon supply and drain. The range of rise and fall during those fourteen years was fifty-four inches, or just four inches more than the difference noted by Captain Campbell as occurring between the spring and fall of 1891.
Suppose the St. Lawrence lets out as muh water as the Niagara pours in, what an immense quantity of rain will have to fall upon the limited area that drains directly into Lake Ontario to fill it up to its level of last spring. There are 3.097,; square feet in a square mile, or 19,514,880,000 in the (1300 square miles of Lake Ontario’s surface. Multiply this by 4 feet * inches (the shortage in depth) and we get 81,31a,000,000 cubic feet of water, weighing, at 6¼ pounds per cubic foot, 5,08,000,000,000 pounds, or *,541,000,090 short tons, as the quantity of rain needed to fill the lake.
This great shortage is most noticeable in the Niagara and St. Lawrence rivers, where steamboats have been unable to land at the docks and floating docks have been erected tt land passengers and freight. The ferries at the railroad transfers at Brockville, Ont.; Prescott, Ont.; Ogdensburg and Morristown, N. Y., were compelled some days to stop running altogether.