In 1997, the influential American broadcaster CNN offered its list of 7 natural wonders of the world. The listed seven natural wonders are created naturally without any human participation. Nature in itself is a brilliant designer and architect.
The titles of the seven natural wonders of the world were awarded to Mount Everest in Nepal, the harbor of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, the Paricutin volcano in Mexico, the Aurora Borealis, the Grand Canyon in the USA, the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia, and the Victoria Falls in Africa.
Table of Contents
1. Mount Everest, Nepal
The world’s highest peak is located on the border between Nepal and Tibet, standing at the height of 8848.86 m. It was formed from the collision of the Eurasian plateau with the Indian plate.
The pride of Nepal is known as Sagarmatha in its home country and Chomolungma in Tibet. It was named Everest in 1856 in honor of Sir George Everest – the chairman of the Geodesic Committee of India.
At the top of Everest, 60-degree frosts reign, the wind blows at a speed of up to 200 km/h. But neither the lack of oxygen, acutely felt at an altitude of more than 7,925 meters, nor the possible avalanche stopped the brave climbers.
Eight attempts were made to conquer the summit, some with tragic results. In 1953, after months of training, thirty-three-year-old Edmund Hillary from New Zealand and his friend Tenzing Norgay from Nepal managed to reach the top of the mountain.
The news of the successful expedition reached Elizabeth II on the day of her coronation. According to a legend, the conquest of Everest was prepared as a gift to the Queen of England. Not every quest was successful; the tragedy on Everest in May 2006 shocked the whole world.
Forty-two climbers indifferently walked by the slowly freezing Englishman David Sharp, but no one helped him. One of them was the television crew of the Discovery channel, who tried to interview the dying man and, having photographed him, left him alone. All ages are submissive to Everest: the youngest person to reach the summit is 13-year-old American Jordan Romero, and the oldest is 76-year-old Nepalese Min Bahadur Sherchan.
Altitude: 8848 meters
Famous as: The highest mountain on Earth
First climber: Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay
First ascent: May 29, 1953
Coordinates: 27 ° 59’08.8 “N 86 ° 55’32.0” E
2. Rio de Janeiro Harbor, Brazil
Rio de Janeiro is located on the shores of one of the largest bays in the world – Guanabara. Islands with luxurious beaches are scattered along the sea surface.
Monolithic granite mountains guard the entrance to the bay. Such as Sugarloaf Peak, which resembles a lump of sugar in shape, and Corcovado Mountain, the top of which is crowned with the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer with arms outstretched in a blessing gesture.
These granite mountains are formed from erosion caused by the Atlantic Ocean. Rio de Janeiro’s harbor is surrounded by scenic cliffs, rolling plains, and the magnificent forest of the Tijuca National Park.
The Portuguese actively searched for more and more new colonies during the 15th and 16th centuries. For this, the experienced Portuguese sailors hired a priest who carried the word of God to the unenlightened people.
It was during one of these expeditions held in January 1502 that the Portuguese discovered the harbor. Without thinking twice, the navigators named the port Rio de Janeiro.
The harbor is also known for the Rio Niteroi Bridge, named after one Brazilian President, Costa E Silva. This bridge is the longest and highest in the state and was built using many girders. Queen of Foggy Albion Elizabeth II was personally present at the ceremony of the beginning of its construction.
Location: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro
Area: 412 km²
Discovered: January 1502
Main attractions: Rio Niteroi Bridge, Sugarloaf Mountain
Coordinates: 22 ° 56’15.3 “S 43 ° 08’36.9” W
3. Volcano Paricutin, Mexico
There are 1400 volcanoes in Mexico, and Paricutin is the youngest of them. Paricutin is a cone-shaped volcano and was once active.
This volcano is included in the category of natural wonders of the world because it is the only volcano whose formation process in 1943 was witnessed and successfully documented by humans.
The birth of Paricutin provided scientists with a unique opportunity to study this process in more detail. Until its first eruption in 1943, the strange hole in the ground did not receive much attention.
The native Dionisio Pulido used it as a bottomless trash can: the waste disappeared without a trace, and the pit did not fill. At the beginning of February 1943, tremors began to be felt more and more often in the village. The residents even heard a rumble like thunder from under the ground.
On February 19, 300 seismic shocks occurred per day, and on February 20 on the field, Dionisio found that his dustbin had cracked, and he heard an underground rumble from the hole. The next day, the shocks created a 10-meter hill, which grew by another 40 meters in height by noon. A week later, the fire-breathing mountain towered over the field by 150 meters.
Explosions were heard at a distance of 350 km, and columns of smoke and red-hot slag rose from the vent. Lava began to erupt from the growing cone, flowing down the slopes of the mountain. By the end of the year, the volcano’s cone had grown to 336 meters. The volcano was named after the village destroyed during the eruption.
First eruption: February 20, 1943
Last eruption: 1952
Attraction: scientific research
Coordinates: 19 ° 29’34.2 “N 102 ° 15’05.4” W
4. Aurora borealis/ Polar (Northern) lights
The aurora is one of the most beautiful and, one might say, even somewhat mystical manifestations of atmospheric phenomena. Its unusual shapes, colors, and shades always introduce the person watching it to a state similar to a mute shock.
If other world wonders are found on land or sea, then the aurora is the only wonder of the world that you can see if you look up at the sky. The cause of the aurora is our star, on which flashes and explosions constantly occur.
The smallest particles of matter that form the sun are thrown into space with tremendous force. The stronger flare in the sun ejects more weight towards its planetary system. This matter consists of electrons and protons, which are transferred to the poles of our planet.
Since the atmosphere is most rarefied at the planet’s poles, the aurora appears there. Multicolored patterns, crowns, iridescent spots with fantastic colors – all these are manifestations of the aurora borealis. Surprisingly, the aurora itself occurs at an altitude of up to 140 kilometers from the Earth’s surface.
This mystical appearance can be seen outside our planet as well—the Hubble Telescope, which orbited Jupiter, transmitted images of the aurora at its poles. Since the magnetic field of Jupiter is many times stronger than the magnetic field of the Earth, then the aurora there is thousands of times brighter. It encompasses not only Jupiter but also its moons.
Appearance: territory of Northern Greenland, Siberia, Norway, Alaska, and various other regions
Attraction: Mystical changing lights of multiple colors
5. Grand Canyon, USA
The canyon valley of the Grand Canyon is located in the State of Arizona, stretching for an impressive 446 km. The mighty steep walls of the canyon go down to a depth of 1.6 km, and its width at the plateau level reaches 30 km.
The canyons were formed by the continuous erosion of the waters of the Colorado River since ancient times. Scientists estimate that the beginning of the formation of the canyon began around 17 million years ago.
The structure of the gorge contains rocks belonging to four geological eras. Lava flows frozen on the faults belong to the Cenozoic era. The canyon walls are cut by layers of sandstone and limestone, formed in the Paleozoic age, and the lowest layers are composed of ancient crystalline shales of the Precambrian period.
The canyon has one peculiarity: it looks like a flat plateau from a distance, and a closer look unravels a vast gaping abyss. The Americans discovered the canyon only in 1869, when the first scientific expedition, led by John Weasley Powell, explored and described in detail the gorge.
In 1909, Theodore Roosevelt declared the gorge a national monument. Ten years later, the Grand Canyon National Park was founded, protecting the Colorado River Valley. The Grand Canyon offers many attractions for tourists: you can fly over the abyss in airplanes, helicopters, and hot air balloons.
You can go down to the bottom of the gorge on a mule, raft on inflatable boats on the Colorado River, explore archaeological sites and visit a real cowboy ranch. For guests, tourist centers, hotels, and campgrounds are equipped. Viewpoints are scattered around the perimeter of Grand Canyon Park.
On March 20, 2007, at an altitude of 1219 m above the bottom of the gorge, a horseshoe-shaped bridge Grand Canyon SkyWalk was installed.
Location: USA, Arizona
Depth: up to 1800 m
Discovered: 1869, John Weasley Powel
Length: 446 km
Attraction: unique variant structure of the canyon
Coordinates: 36 ° 05’32.3 “N 113 ° 14’27.4” W
6. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef lengthens along the northeastern coast of Australia for 2500 km. It consists of 3000 reels and 600 offshore islands. As the world’s largest colony of coral polyps, the reef resembles an outlandish garden in which fish of all shapes and colors circle among the coral bowls like tropical butterflies among flowers.
In summer, sea turtles can be seen near the coast, which comes here to lay their eggs. The famous James Cook is considered to be the discoverer of the Great Barrier Reef. This navigator and explorer managed to find a passage among the ridge of corals, located near the island.
UNESCO, back in 1979, included the reef in the list of World Heritage Sites. The government highly protects this area because of its unique ecosystem and the only one in the world.
Location: off the northeastern coast of Australia
Distance: 2500 km
Area: 350,000 square kilometers and increasing
Discovered: James Cook
Attraction: Corals, Turtles, underwater creatures
Coordinates: 18 ° 34’56.3 “S 147 ° 09’08.7” E
7. Victoria Falls, Zambia, and Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls originates from the Zambezi River and is located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The flow of this river ends in a ravine to produce a curtain of water as high as 355 feet. It is the second most powerful waterfall in the world after Iguazu in South America. But unlike Iguazu, which consists of 275 cascades, Victoria is one complete stream.
A rainbow often plays in the splashes of falling water, but the night rainbows are stunning. These rainbows can be observed twice a year during the river’s flood on the full moon. Scottish explorer David Livingston named the waterfall after Queen Victoria. The original name of this waterfall was Mosi-oa-Tunya, and it is still used locally.
A monument of its discoverer is erected near Victoria Falls. Livingston’s motto is inscribed on the pedestal of the monument: Christianity, trade, and civilization. Victoria Falls is in national parks inhabited by wild African animals such as elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and hippos.
The two white rhinos are brought here from South Africa, which has become the main pride of the Thundering Smoke Park and the favorites of visitors. However, unfortunately in 2019, this waterfall experienced drought due to extreme weather.
Location: Zambia, Zimbabwe, River Zambezi
Altitude: 120 m
Discovered: Scottish explorer David Livingston
Attraction: kayaking, rafting, African Animals
Co-ordinates: 17°55’29.0″S 25°51’16.5″E
These are the natural wonders that nature has bestowed us. Knowing about these wonders has undoubtedly proved that nature is a brilliant architect, designer, and engineer.
Though exploring some wonders has cost several human lives, some places are hard to examine and reach. Still, they are worth a try, especially for those who love adventure and nature at the same time.