The 7 Natural Wonders of the World
These incredible places, some of Mother Nature's best offerings, will inspire and amaze you.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 - 12:02
Seven Natural Wonders is a project created with the mission of protecting and promoting the original seven natural wonders of the world. The list that is commonly accepted as the "Natural Wonders" was compiled by CNN; at the time, there was a debate as to how large the list should be, and no official consensus was reached.
A natural wonder must be a clearly defined natural site or natural monument that was not created or significantly altered by humans. Each of the original seven natural wonders is in existence today and they all provide visitors with amazement and wonder.
• Grand Canyon — North America
• Great Barrier Reef — Oceania
• Harbour of Rio de Janeiro — South America
• Mount Everest — Asia
• Aurora — North America
• Parícutin Volcano — South America
• Victoria Falls — Africa
Image courtesy Bob Ribokas
1) Grand Canyon
• The canyon is 277 river miles long.
• The width ranges from 4 to 18 miles.
• The depth is over one mile.
• Majority is located within Grand Canyon National Park.
• Created by erosion of Colorado River.
• NOT the steepest or the longest canyon in the world.
• Recognized as a natural wonder because of the overall scale and size combined with the beautifully colored landscape.
• Offers a variety of lookouts.
• Provides visitors with a view that cannot be matched.
Ways of exploring
• On foot
• Day/night hikes
• Overnight backpacking trips
• On back of a mule
• White water rafting
• Observatory ramp
• Hiking the trails near edges
• A number of lava flows are Cenozoic in age, and some of them spill into the canyon. The walls of the canyon are mostly cut into horizontal rock layers of Paleozoic age. There is an angular unconformity at the bottom of the Paleozoic layers. An angular unconformity is the result of tilting and eroding of the lower layers before the upper ones are deposited. These tilted and eroded layers are Precambrian in age.
2) Great Barrier Reef
• It is the largest coral reef system in the world.
• Consists of over 2,900 separate reefs.
• Stretches over 1,600 miles.
• Can be seen from outer space.
• The 133,000 square miles includes 900 islands.
• Located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia.
• Reef structure composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
• A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as overfishing and tourism.
• Other environmental pressures to the reef and its ecosystem include water quality from runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and cyclic outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish (which eat coral polyps).
• Mass coral bleaching events due to rising ocean temperatures occurred in the summers of 1998, 2002 and 2006, and coral bleaching will likely become an annual occurrence.
• Supports many vulnerable or endangered species, some of which may be endemic to the reef system.
• Includes: 30 species of whales, dolphins and porpoises; 6 species of sea turtles; 15 species of seagrass; around 125 species of shark, stingray, skates; close to 5,000 species of mollusc; 9 species of seahorse; 7 species of frogs; 17 species of sea snake; more than 1,500 species of fish; 400 species of corals (hard/soft). (And that's just aquatic organisms.)
• Marine algae or seaweed create mini-ecosystems on their surface which have been compared to a rain forest cover.
3) Harbour of Rio de Janeiro
• Located around Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
• Surrounded by protruding mountains that include Sugar Loaf at 1,296 feet, Corcovado Peak at 2,310 feet, and the Hills of Tijuca at 3,350 feet.
• Rio de Janeiro translates "River of January" in Portuguese.
• Created by erosion from the Atlantic Ocean.
• Harbour offers many different perspectives to visitors/tourists at various heights.
• The locals are so proud of their geologically defined home that they say, "God made the world in six days and on the seventh he concentrated on Rio."
• It used to be a tropical rainforest full of flourishing life, but is now used by supertankers and yachts as a harbor.
• The bay's vastness has been shrinking. With usable land at a premium, landmass has twice been altered. In the 1920s and again in the 1960s, small hills had pipes placed through and on them to create more livable land. The "updated" land now houses an airport, a six-lane highway, parkland and beaches, the city's modern art museum, and other 20th-century landmarks as Rio looks to its great bay for elbow room.
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