What Are the Seven Natural Wonders of the World?

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The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

In ancient times, the seven wonders of the world were man-made and included the hanging gardens of Babylon, the Colossus of Rhodes, the lighthouse of Alexandria and the great pyramid of Giza which is the only ancient wonder still standing. New lists have been created for wonders of the world that are natural, and seven wonders consistently make the cut.

Harbor of Rio de Janeiro

The Harbor of Rio de Janeiro is located in Brazil and was formed by erosion from the Atlantic Ocean. Circled by mountains and hills, the Harbor also overlooks a number of islands and beaches. Visitors can explore the Harbor on foot by walking its beaches or take tours to lookouts on the surrounding mountains that provide a great view of the Harbor. Boat tours of the Harbor are also available, and more adventurous visitors can use a hang glider to fly above the Harbor for a bird's eye view.

Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world's largest coral reef, stretching for more than 1,600 miles, and consisting of more than 3,000 reef systems and 900 tropical islands. It has the distinction of being the only living thing on Earth that can be seen from space, according to Greatbarrierreef.org. Visitors can explore the Great Barrier Reef by snorkeling and scuba diving for a close-up view of marine life and coral formations. Boat and cruise tours are also popular, and helicopter tours provide an aerial view.

Mount Everest

Mount Everest, located in the Himalayan mountains between Tibet and Nepal, is the highest mountain in the world with a summit of 29,029 feet. Most visitors take guided flight tours or hike to the base of the mountain to get a close view, but visitors with experience in mountain climbing who are able to afford the $25,000 climbing permit opt to hike to the upper base camp.

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, is 360 feet high and 1 mile wide, and is the world's largest waterfall in terms of height and width. The water source of Victoria Falls is the Zambezi river. Visitors can use an aircraft called a microlite -- a two person motorized aircraft that resembles a hang glider -- to navigate above the falls for a unique view of the waterfall. There is also a foot path and foot bridge trail that provides an eye-level view of the falls from only 200 feet away.

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is located in northwest Arizona and parts of Utah. The canyon is 277 miles long, and is divided into north and south rims. The south rim, open all year, receives 90 percent of the canyon's visitors and has its own airport and rail service. The north rim, located on the Utah side of the canyon, is open from the middle of May until the middle of October and receives only 10 percent of tourist visitations. Visitors can explore the canyon through guided tours, mule trips, guided hikes, white water raft trips, jeep and van tours and air tours. There are more than 370 species of birds found in the Grand Canyon, including endangered species such as the California condor.

Paricutin

Paricutin, the name of an active cinder cone volcano in Michoacan, Mexico, has been dormant since erupting in 1952. The volcano rises 1,345 feet above the ground and 9,210 feet above sea level. Its volcanic sand is spread out over 20 square miles and hardened lava covers 10 square miles. Visitors interested in the taking the 12-mile round trip journey to the volcano's summit can choose to hike or go on horseback. The trip features views of lava fields, buried village homes and a church at the summit of the volcano.

Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, are natural lights that manifest in different streaks and formations that appear as dancing light waves in the skies above the Northern Hemisphere, especially in the magnetic pole. They can be observed by people in Alaska and parts of Canada and Scandinavia. The Aurora Borealis is theorized to be caused by solar activity, but according to UCLA space physicist, Vassilis Angelopoulos, there is still a great deal unknown about what triggers the sudden eruption of auroras. Though there's no predicting when the Aurora Borealis will appear, most sightings occur in March and April or September and October.

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