NATURE'S SEVEN GREATEST WONDERS
The American traveler and scientist Lowell Thomas thinks that there are seven Nature's greatest wonders. They are the Grand Canyon, Glacier Bay, the Mammoth Cave, Victoria Falls, Baikal, Mountain Everest and Yellowstone National Park.
The Grand Canyon is quite unusual in color and architecture. Two hundred and eighty miles long, four to eighteen miles across, more than a mile deep, the Grand Canyon is a fantasy of stones and cliffs. Standing near it, you can watch a wonderful play of colors that no artist could describe. The Colorado River, Nature's main assistant in creating this work of sculpture, runs through the canyon.
Glacier Bay is in Alaska, where the mountains rise higher from the sea than any other place on earth. It's a land of glaciers, big fiords and perpendicular ice walls shining in the sun. Here all varieties of arctic life are present. One can see, for example, whales sending up fountains of water, seals, white bears, deer, wolves and a great number of birds. There is nothing static at Glacier Bay. it is a world that changes all the time and is a unique laboratory of each processes for scientists. The great glaciers grow slowly, become fantastically large and then slide majestically toward the sea leaving behind new soil were the cycle of growing begins all over again.
The Mammoth Cave is in Kentucky. "Mammoth" is the right word for this great labyrinth of underground corridors, full of colorful formations made by the centuries. Stalactites drop down the ceiling like New Year tree toys, stalagmites raise from the floor. The formations on the walls are like flowers, trees and animals.
How old is the Mammoth Cave?
Its development began about 240 million years ago, but people discovered it in 1800, when a hunter running after wonderful bear, suddenly came upon its entrance.
Yellowstone National Park
Glacier Bay National Park
Victoria Falls. It is truly one of the Nature's most wonderful sights. It is situated between Zambia and Rhodesia. Victoria is more than twice as high as Niagara and almost one and a half times as wide. At Niagara the river goes over the cliff and into a broad open area, at Victoria the long river Zambezi carries as much as 75 million gallons of water in a minute over one cliff and against another, into a gorge not more than 100 feet wide, known as the Boiling Pot. This created massive clouds of spray, a fantasy of rainbows which can be seen from miles away. Africans call the falls Mosv-oatunva (The Smoke that Thunders).
Mountain Everest. The Himalayan mountains are the highest of all the earth's mountains. Everest is the highest of them. It goes up the sky nearly five and a half miles above sea level. It has always attracted brave mountain climbers. Eight attempts were made, some with tragic results before, in 1953 after months of preparation, thirty-three year-old Edmund Hillary from New Zealand, and his companion, Tensing Norgay, from Nepal managed to reach its summit.
Yellowstone National Park , the largest park in tne USA. It covers an area of 3,472 square miles. Yellowstone is a world in itself. It was born of volcanic fire and later molded by glaciers. It has high mountains and cliffs, waterfalls, hot springs, steaming and bubbling, and the world's greatest concentration of geysers (no less than 10,000), throwing their water from time to time high into the air. The wild life of Yellowstone is very rich with bisons, mooses, elks and bears and a great number of smaller animals and birds. Two and a half million people visit the park each year.
Baikal, Siberia's Giant Lake. Imagine a fresh water lake larger than Belgium, with high mountains round it. It's Baikal, 40 miles from Irkutsk in south-eastern Siberia.
More than a mile deep in places, Baikal contains as much fresh water as all the North America Great Lakes taken together. About 1.800 species of flora and fauna live in it, two-thirds of them are not found anywhere else. There is, for example. the golomyanka, a fish so nearly transparent, that one can almost read a newspaper through it.
Unique to Baikal, too, are its 40,000 seals. How did -seals get there, 1.000 miles from salt water? Scientists think they had remained in the lake from the time when Baikal was in some way connected with the Arctic Ocean.