With all the water freezing, sooner or later, Niagara Falls was going to freeze.*
In the time between when people thought Niagara Falls was going to freeze and when there was actual evidence that it had, this photo started to spread:
As this photograph was making its way around Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook, Niagara Falls was, in fact, freezing. But the specific artifact used to illustrate this reality was fake.
Here's what Reuters photographs from yesterday looked like:
Not bad, right? I mean, it is Niagara Falls frozen. But also not quite as dramatic as the old photo, the truthy photo, that garnered this single tweet, for example, more than 9,500 retweets.
And, crucially, Reuters filed these photographs at 10:48pm, many hours after the 2011 photograph started to spread. It is only a slight stretch to say, Reuters filed after people needed a photograph of Niagara Falls frozen. So many people wanting such a photo in their timelines practically wills them into existence.