By: Carley Posey
Late winter brought some crazy weather in West Virginia, along with the snow and rain came flooding in all parts of the state. Blackwater Falls is a major nature attraction in Davis, WV, but does all this flooding and water coming out of the banks affect the future landmark for future generations?
Flooding hit the region in 1985, and reduced the height of the falls from 65 ft tall to 57 ft tall. However, the park still advertised the falls at a height of 65ft. Tourist that then visited the falls were disappointed to learn that the falls weren’t as tall as they thought they were. The falls still are majestic no matter the height.
The ledge of the falls is formed from Homewood and Conoquenssing sandstone, which makes the falls changeable. Millions of years ago as the Black River was flowing over the falls it washed more sediment into place to build up the falls, but as the water continues to run over it and the river begins to flood the river is less able to deposit that sediment and the falls actually take more erosion. The top ledge of the rocks don’t erode as much as the softer rock underneath the ledge that haven’t had the chance to harden like the top of the ledge that constantly has sediments running over top of it.
As the water splashes back against the rock facing it will begin to erode more and before too long geologist think the shape of the falls themselves will change with a larger top shelf and a curved middle, where the rock will be much less thick.
The falls look much more violent when they’re flooded.
During the winter the falls freeze completely over and they are kind of protected unless you get massive flooding or until the ice melts.