Top 10 Natural Wonders of the World
The planet we live on has existed for billions of years. The geological structures and diverse systems of biological life are a testament to the ever-changing face of the world. There are places so timeless that we cannot conceive of their formation by the standards of our tiny histories. Here is a list of ten naturally formed wonders that remind us of our scale among the many great miracles of the world.
The Top 10 Natural Wonders of the World
10. Galapagos Islands
A relatively young group of land formations comprise the Galapagos Islands, an archipelago of volcanic rock in the Pacific Ocean. Made famous by the scientific theories they inspired, the islands host an immense diversity of wildlife. The tropical forests and exotic creatures that inhabit them are so valuable that in the name of preservation, travelers hoping to experience them must limit their exploration to two hour shifts.
9. Dead Sea
Located along the border of Jordan, the Dead Sea is one of the saltiest lakes in the entire world, being approximately nine times saltier than the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The name is accredited to this saltiness, as life does not flourish on the shores of this lake. Significantly featured in the Bible, the Dead Sea has attracted and enamored visitors for thousands of years.
8. Ayers Rock
This massive geological formation is also known by its local name, Uluru. Composed of sandstone, the isolated giant stands over a thousand feet tall, towering above the surrounding flatlands. What makes the formation unique is its sharply sloped sides, which prevent plant life and other debris from accumulating on its surface. Due to this baldness, it is said to change colors, glowing a vibrant red in the setting sun.
7. Norwegian Fjords
The fjords of Norway are a spectacular sight to behold. The deep inlets, bordered on their shores with towering mountains, are the result of glacial erosion. Most fjords are deeper than their most adjacent bodies of water, a testament to the massive influence of ancient glaciers. Though they are found several places across the glove, the fjords in Norway are the most densely grouped, making for beautiful scenery with a comingling of mountains and narrow channels of ice-blue water.
6. Carlsbad Caverns
Buried beneath the mountains of New Mexico, the Carlsbad Caverns hold thousands of stalactites and stalagmites. Visitors travel 750 feet underground to behold the limestone drippings that form impressive arrays of hanging rock columns. The Big Room, a vast section of the caverns, is the seventh largest chamber in the world, stretching 4,000 feet long, 625 feet wide, and 255 feet tall.
5. Amazon Rainforest
This gigantic rainforest covers a broad swath of South America, stretching for 1.7 billion acres across the continent. Fed by the world’s largest river of the same name, the Amazon rainforest still contains unexplored mysteries. Thousands of species of animals and plants populate this ecosystem, as one in ten of all discovered species lives in there. Shrinking by the day, this forest is densely packed with much of the planet’s most unique life.
4. Ngoro Ngoro Crater
Two or three million years ago, a super-volcano erupted with so much force that the entire volcano collapsed into itself. The Ngorongoro Crater was left behind. Over a hundred square miles and 2,000 feet below the level of the surrounding land, the crater hosts the quintessential collection of African wildlife: lions, zebras, wildebeest, rhinos, and more. The crater is distinguished from the many other significant ones across the planet’s surface by being un-flooded and covered with grassland and forest; it is one of the few craters capable of sustaining life.
3. Victoria Falls
Although neither the tallest nor widest waterfall in the world, the Victoria Falls in Africa are an astonishing sight. Dropping into a deep gorge, the falls are theorized to have a larger volume of water falling at any given moment than any other waterfall in the world. Its local name translates to “The Cloud that Thunders” and a birds-eye view reveals the inspiration, with a massive cloud of water vapor hanging above a chasm in the flat land around it.
2. Grand Canyon
Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is the result of two billion years of erosion. The Colorado River rushes through this geological formation and has carved away a significant chain of valleys and ridges. It is not the biggest canyon in the world, but located in the American Southwest, it is one of the most visually striking sights in the world. Vividly colored in bright reds, oranges, and greens, this enormous crater brings visitors from across the globe to explore its depths.
1. Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is a massive ecosystem of aquatic life that stretches across 133,000 square miles of ocean bed near Australia in the Coral Sea. Quite fitting as the most impressive natural wonder of the world, it is the largest single structure made by any living organism. Unfortunately, the systemic changes to the oceanic ecosystems have led to a great amount of destruction of this reef. As a haven for a wealth of aquatic biodiversity, the Great Barrier Reef is a hugely significant natural phenomenon.