Week of September 17, 2023

The Seven Natural Wonders of the World, a list compiled by the news network CNN, are:


The Grand Canyon, over one mile deep, seventeen miles wide, and two billion years old, is aptly named. Eons of Earth’s life are visible in the geology and erosion of rock layers visible to any visitor. President Teddy Roosevelt declared that it was a sight which could not be improved on, and now five million visitors come to the enjoy it annually.


The huge Harbor at Rio de Janiero, also known as Guanabara Bay, is surrounded a picturesque granite mountain range that also includes the site of Christ the Redeemer (one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, see previous week) and dotted with over 130 islands. This busy bay is now both a natural gem and an important economic port.


The Paricutín Volcano, found in Michoacán, Mexico, is strikingly smooth and conical, but also very young, having only first appeared in a cornfield in 1943, burying the town of Paricutín as it continued to grow over the next 9 years. This eruption not only created an intriguing tourist attraction, but gave the scientific opportunity to study a volcano since its birth.


Fittingly named “the smoke that thunders” in the native Lozi language, Victoria Falls, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, empties a mind-boggling 165,000,000 gallons of water per minute to produce the single largest sheet of water in the world. The spray from the massive falls is visible over 30 miles away and the nearby rain forest is wet from the spray at all times.


Mount Everest, rising nearly 5.5 miles above the Nepal-Tibet border, is the highest peak and tallest point on Earth. Shaped roughly like a 3-sided pyramid, Everest attracts many ambitious climbers every year, though many do not survive the brutal weather and low oxygen at the extreme altitudes.


Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, composed of over 2,900 individual reef systems and 900 islands across an area as large as 70 million football fields. This remarkable aquatic treasure is home to fully 25% of all known marine species in the world, including 134 species of sharks alone.


Aurora Borealis, AKA The Northern Lights, may be the least predictable spectacle on this list, but they wow nonetheless. Caused by energized particles from the sun being pushed to Earth’s poles by our planet’s magnetic field, these dramatic lights in the sky can appear green, pink, red, blue, purple, and white.