Amazing Kids! Magazine

Fabulous Natural Wonders

By Ryan Traynor, Assistant Editor

 

Natural Wonders are nature-made places around the world that take your breath away when you look at them. They have not been created with man’s hands but through years and years of changes created by the wind, rain, sun, and nature’s natural growth. While there are many lists available about what various groups think are the top natural wonders of the world, there is no consensus. Let me introduce you to a few stunning examples of natural beauty found in nature that appear on most of these lists.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The first natural wonder is the Grand Canyon. When I first visited the Grand Canyon, I was amazed when we arrived because it seemed as if we were driving flat for quite a while. I didn’t expect to walk up to a large gap in the ground. I just assumed that it would be surrounded by hills and mountains, but it is not. The Grand Canyon in Arizona of the United States of America has been created by the Colorado River carving its way through the rock for the past 17 million years. The National Park here was built in 1924 so that travelers could travel through the canyon by various planned paths to witness the beauty there. It is 277 river miles long, opens up to 18 miles wide in some areas, and is a mile deep. There are two ways to access the Grand Canyon – through the South Rim which is open all year round and the North Rim which is only open from May 15 through October 15. The South Rim averages 7000 feet above sea level and the North Rim averages 8000 feet. Although the North Rim is only 10 miles across the canyon, you must drive all the way around the canyon 220 miles by car to get to it. You can also reach it by one of the trails across the canyon that is 21 miles long by foot. One of the exciting things to do at the Grand Canyon, besides taking in the breathtaking views, is to hike inside the rim. You can also rent a mule to take you deep into the canyon. Another exciting adventure is to raft through the Canyon on the Colorado River. The key thing to remember once you start your hike or traveling is to watch the time. You don’t want to be in the canyon once it turns dark because the temperatures drop dramatically. If you are planning an overnight stay, plan your camping gear accordingly.

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

The second natural wonder that creates a feeling of awe is the Great Barrier Reef which has evolved over millions of years. The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland Australia is the world’s largest coral reef made of living organisms. This beautiful reef covers over 1615 miles and has over 3000 individual reef systems and over 900 beautiful islands. Due to its size, the Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space!  In this reef you can find all sorts of wildlife including sea turtles, dolphins, whales and many vulnerable and endangered species (such as the dugong and the large green turtle), making it a great place to scuba dive. The reef is home to the largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish, 4,000 types of mollusk, and 240 species of birds. The diversity in the wildlife and habitats make this natural wonder one of the richest and most complex natural ecosystems on earth.

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

However, the reef is at risk due to climate change which causes water temperature to rise. This causes coral bleaching and destroys the reef. There are other dangers causing the reef to die as well, such as pollution, overfishing that disrupts the natural food chains, and shipping routes that cut through the reef. Overfishing allows dangerous species, such as the crown-of-thorns starfish to thrive and destroy the coral. New conservation policies and government protection have been introduced to try to keep the reef alive for everyone to enjoy for many generations to come.

Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest

The last natural wonder I want to introduce you to is Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, containing the highest point on Earth. Located in the Himalayas, it rises 29,029 feet above sea level. It was formed about 60 million years ago and is shaped like a 3-sided pyramid. The summit is at the border of China and Nepal. Besides its incredible beauty, Mount Everest is known for attracting mountain climbers. It has two main climbing routes, one from the southeast in Nepal and the other from the North in Tibet. While Mt. Everest is not too technically difficult to climb, there are significant dangers posed from changing weather, avalanches, and other weather hazards. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the climate includes an average warmest daytime temperature of about −2 °F (−19 °C) on the summit and an average coldest daytime temperature of   −33 °F (−36 °C) but can drop as low as −76 °F (−60 °C). The peak can include sustained winds of more than 100 miles (160 km) per hour. These conditions make it extremely risky for climbers due to the risk of frostbite. Mt. Everest may be beautiful to look at, but make sure you are an experienced climber with an expert guide before you attempt to conquer this climb.

There are natural wonders everywhere in the world. We must learn to open our eyes and appreciate the beauty offered all around us. Natural wonders can transport us, move us to experience various emotions, and inspire us to become better people. Make a point to find a wonder that appeals to you and let it move you.