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What are the Seven Natural Wonders of the Modern World?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated May 23, 2024
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Probably in response to the seven wonders of the ancient world, and perhaps also to the American Society of Civil Engineers seven wonders of the modern world, several lists naming the seven natural wonders of the modern world have been created. The following list is typical, if not authoritative:

Natural WonderLocationDescription
Grand CanyonArizona, USAThis huge canyon was created by millions of years of erosion and established as a US national park in 1919.
Northern LightsThe skyAlso called the aurora borealis, the northern lights are caused by the interaction of Earth’s magnetic field with the particles in the solar wind.
Mt. EverestThe Himalayan Range, bordering Nepal and ChinaThe first recorded climb was achieved by Sir Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on 29 May 1953.
ParicutinMexicoThis young volcano, which was “born” in 1943, was — unlike most other volcanoes — observed in the making.
Harbor at Rio de JaneiroBrazilThe harbor, punctuated by mountains, was home to Tupi Indians before the arrival of Portuguese explorers in 1502.
Victoria FallsBorder between Zambia and ZimbabweNamed for his queen by Scottish missionary David Livingstone in 1855, the falls are 1.25 miles (2 km) wide.
Great Barrier ReefAustraliaThis coral reef is 1,242 miles (2,000 km) long, threatened by pollution and host to a wide variety of ocean life.

Other contenders for the list mentioned in other sources include the following — notice how many are falls and mountains:

  • Natural Bridge, a rock formation in Rockbridge Country, Virginia.
  • Table Mountain, a 3,567 ft (1,087 m) flat-topped mountain in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • Reelfoot Lake, in Tennessee, which was apparently created by the New Madrid earthquakes in 1811-12.
  • Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the US, formed by a volcanic crater in the Cascade Range in Oregon.
  • Yosemite Falls, a series of waterfalls in Yosemite National Park in California.
  • Mauna Loa, an active volcano 13,680 ft (4.172 m) tall in Hawaii.
  • Niagara Falls, the 158 ft (48 m) falls between New York and Canada.
  • Angel Falls, the world's highest waterfall, located in in Venezuela.
  • The Bay of Fundy, between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, and which is noted for its tides.
  • Iguassu Falls, a group of hundreds of waterfalls on the Brazil/Argentina border.
  • Krakatoa Island, the volcanic island in Indonesia where a huge volcanic explosion in 1883 and the following tsunami were responsible for many deaths.
  • Mount Fuji, a volcanic mountain that is the highest in Japan at 12,389 (3776 m).
  • Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain of Africa, located in Tanzania and reaching 17,564 ft (5,354 m).

There are also more localized lists, including the traditional seven wonders of Wales named in the nursery rhyme:

Pistyll Rhaeadr and Wrexham steeple,
Snowdon's mountain without its people,
Overton Yew-trees, St. Winifred wells,
Llangollen Bridge and Gresford bells

Obviously, the steeple, wells, bridge, and bells were made by humans, but the 240 ft (74 m) waterfall Pistyll Rhaeadr, Mt. Snowdon in Snowdonia National Park in Northwest Wales, and the 21 famous yew trees in the churchyard of St. Mary’s Church in Overton are all natural wonders of the modern world.

Another take-off is the extended list. There are several “100 wonders of the world” lists on the Internet, and nearly all feature a combination of built and natural modern wonders.

CulturalWorld.org is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for CulturalWorld.org, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
Discussion Comments
By anon340591 — On Jul 04, 2013

I want to say the Amazon rainforest is also a wonder of the world. The Amazon Rainforest covers 5,500,000 sq km of the 7 million sq km of the Amazon forests. It represents more than half of the tropical forest remaining in the world, and has the greatest collection of plant and animal life. It covers the majority of the Amazon Basin and the high temperatures of the area are favorable for its biodiversity.

By medicchristy — On Nov 18, 2010

@momothree: The walls of the Grand Canyon are made up of cliffs, rocks, valleys, and hills. The rocks are said to have been formed millions of years ago.

Almost 4000 years ago, desert people lived in the Grand Canyon. Adobe houses were built around the canyon by the Pueblo Indians. There are around 75 different species of mammals, 25 species of fish, 300 species of birds, and 50 species of reptiles that habitat the Grand Canyon.

By DinoLeash — On Nov 18, 2010

@momothree: You are making a great choice in your vacation plans! The Grand Canyon is one of the magnificent places in our whole country.

The Grand Canyon is located in Arizona and stretches all the way to Colorado. It is a national landmark and a national park. It is 18 miles wide. An average depth of the canyon is around 5,000 feet. The Grand Canyon takes up a whopping 1,218,376 acres of land. To go down to the bottle of the canyon on foot or by camel (they have guided camel tours), it would take 2 days.

By momothree — On Nov 18, 2010

We are going to be visiting the Grand Canyon in a couple of months. I am so excited to be able to see such a spectacular place. I am trying to find out as much as I can before we go. Does anyone have any info on the Grand Canyon that I might could use?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
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