The provisional new seven wonders of nature have been selected after a series of votes and expert judging. The vote was hosted by the “New7Wonders Foundation,” based in Zurich, Switzerland.
1. THE AMAZON RAIN FOREST
The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s largest contiguous tropical rainforest comprising approximately 5.5 million square kilometers (1.4 billion acres) and spreading over parts of 9 nations including (in order) Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. It’s estimated the Amazon Rainforest has existed for roughly 55 million years though its size has waxed and waned appreciably over that vast period of time.
Approximately 10 percent of all the world’s animal species live in the Amazon basin with the number of insect species alone reckoned to be around 2.5 million. Both animal and plant life in the Amazon Rainforest are under threat, both by human activity and climate change. Though conservation measures have helped reduce the rate of deforestation by up to 60 percent, cumulatively the rainforest has lost about 10 percent of its former area. At least 40,000 plant species, 3,000 freshwater fish species and more than 370 reptile species exist in the Amazon.
2. HA LONG BAY – VIETNAM
Vietnam’s attraction is made up of 1,600 islands and islets. The islands are dotted with caves, most of which can only be reached by a charter boat. It was first listed as a Unesco World Heritage Stie in 1994.
Situated in the northern part of Vietnam near the Gulf of Tonkin, Ha Long Bay has long astonished and delighted visitors with awesome scenic beauty photos can only barely capture. The otherworldly spikes and spires that surround the bay are formed of Karst limestone that has eroded in a distinct fashion over countless centuries.
Limestone slowly dissolves in the presence of mildly acidic rainwater and it erodes further thought the action of tree roots and plant growth cycles. In many respects, Ha Long Bay is a geologic “work in progress” where the dynamic forces of weathering and erosion my be observed and enjoyed… but for how long?
3. IGUAZU FALLS – ARGENTINA & BRAZIL
Iguazu Falls has got it all: height (200–269 ft or 60–82 meters), width (1.7 miles or 2.7 kilometers), rate of flow and the added attraction of being situated in lush, tropical surroundings. Nothing against North America’s famed Niagara Falls or Africa’s mighty Victoria Falls, but the hydrological spectacle that is Iguazu Falls takes the concept of waterfalls to a higher level entirely.
Situated on the border of Paraguay and Argentina in South America, Iguazu Falls marks the place where the Iguazu River pours over an erosion-resistant rock escarpment on the edge of the Paraná Plateau. Like Niagara Falls, the flow of water over the escarpment gradually wears away the underlying rock, thus pushing back the face of the falls incrementally over thousands of years.The part with the largest volume of water is the narrow horseshoe of the Devil’s Throat, which cradles between Argentina and Brazil. Unesco declared the Iguazu Falls as a World Heritage Area in 1986.
4. JEJU ISLAND – SOUTH KOREA
South Korea’s subtropical volcanic island is located 130 kilometres off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula. It is known for its scenic mountains, waterfalls, forests, caves and beaches. In 2002, Unesco declared Jeju a “biosphere reserve”, and listed it as a World Natural Heritage Site in 2007. In 2010, it was awarded “geopark” status.
Situated off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula, Jeju Island is South Korea’s largest island and boasts the country’s highest mountain, 6,400 ft (1,950 meter) Halla-san. The island’s volcanic origins are plainly visible, both through several spectacular craters and seaside formations of columnar basalt reminiscent of the famous Giant’s Causeway in reland.
Jeju Island has long been a popular vacation destination thanks not only to its unique scenic beauty, but also due to its warm temperatures and forgiving subtropical climate. The island’s relatively large size and rugged geography, especially toward the center where Halla-san is located, has helped preserve its exceptionally wide variety of ecologic habitats from extensive disturbance from human activity.
5. KOMODO NATIONAL PARK – INDONESIA
Home to the world’s largest lizards, the Komodo Dragons, Komodo National Park in Indonesia also shelters a wide variety of island-adapted wildlife and unique plants that grow nowhere else. Tourism is permitted at the park and the sluggish, slow-moving “dragons” can easily be outrun if need be, but being bitten by one of the creatures is not a pleasant prospect: their saliva is loaded with pathogenic bacteria.
Komodo Island is close to Flores Island, where fossil remains of the so-called “Hobbit” have been found. Thought to be an ancient offshoot of the human family tree, Homo Floriensis existed on Flores for hundreds of thousands of years and may have flourished on nearby islands as well. Imagine how formidable a Komodo Dragon would appear to a “hobbit”!
6. PUERTO PRINCESA RIVER, PHILIPPINES
Located near the northern coast of the Philippines’ far western province of Palawan, the Puerto Princesa Underground River stretches over 8 kilometers beneath the Saint Paul Mountain Range before flowing directly into the South China Sea. The river is fully navigable along nearly its entire length, allowing scientists and tourists to explore and enjoy this very rare natural phenomenon.
The underground river in the Philippines is reputed to be the longest navigable underground river in the world. It can be reached through an organised boat ride. To enter the river, one needs to go on a short hike from Sabang town in Puerto Princesa. One of the river’s distinguishing features is that it emerges directly into the sea, and its lower portion is subject to tidal influences. The area has some of the most important forests in Asia and is home to more than 250 bird species, 800 plant species and at last 295 types of trees. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999.
Like Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, the Puerto Princesa Underground River owes its creation and character to being situated in a Karst limestone formation. The action of flowing water over the eons has not only hollowed out the river’s channel but also has created a number of associated caves and caverns complete with stalagmites, stalactites and a diverse range of highly adapted cave life.
7. TABLE MOUNTAIN – CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
South Africa’s preeminent landmark, Table Mountain, was first climbed (ironically) by a Portuguese sailor in the year 1503. The flat-topped mountain stands 3,558 feet (1,084.6 meters) tall and forms a dramatic backdrop to South Africa’s second-most populous city.
This tourist hotspot in South Africa is a level plateau edged by impressive cliffs. The plateau forms a dramatic backdrop to Cape Town. The mountain’s vegetation landscape, home to at least 2,200 plant species, is a protected area and is a World Heritage Site.
Table Mountain is occasionally covered by clouds formed when moisture-laden winds are blown up and over the mountain’s sloping sides, condensing into the famous “table cloth”. The moisture helps support a surprisingly rich and diverse ecosystem, though the last leopards to live on the mountain were eradicated in the 1920s.
Hope you had a great exploration with Gencept.
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