Natural wonders (реферат)

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Natural wonders

Similar to the other lists of wonders, there is no consensus on a list
of seven natural wonders of the world, as there has been debate over how
large the list should be. One of the many lists was compiled by CNN:

Grand Canyon

Great Barrier Reef

Harbor of Rio de Janeiro

Mount Everest

Polar Aurora

Paricutin volcano

Victoria Falls

The Grand Canyon is a very colorful, steep-sided gorge, carved by the
Colorado River, in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is largely contained
within the Grand Canyon National Park — one of the first national parks
in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent
of the Grand Canyon area, visiting on numerous occasions to hunt and
enjoy the scenery.

The canyon, created by the Colorado River cutting a channel over
millions of years, is about 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width
from 0.25 to 15 miles (0.4 to 24 kilometers), and attains a depth of
more than a mile (1 km). Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s history
has been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut through
layer after layer of sediment as the Colorado Plateaus have uplifted.

The first recorded sighting of the Grand Canyon by a European was in
1540, Garcia Lopez de Cardenas from Spain. Grand Canyon was largely
unknown until after the U.S. Civil War. In 1869, Major John Wesley
Powell, a one-armed Civil War veteran with a thirst for science and
adventure, made a pioneering journey through the canyon on the Colorado
River. He accomplished this with nine men in four small wooden boats,
though only six men completed the journey. His party was, as far as we
know, the first ever to make such a trip. Powell referred to the
sedimentary rock units exposed in the canyon as «leaves in a great story
book». Long before that, the area was inhabited by Native Americans who
built settlements within the canyon walls and its many caves.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system,
composed of roughly 3,000 individual reefs and 900 islands that stretch
for 2,600 kilometres (1,616 mi) and cover an area of approximately
344,400 km?. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of
Queensland in northeast Australia. A large part of the reef is protected
by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is sometimes
referred to as the single largest organism in the world. In reality, it
is made up of many millions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
The Great Barrier Reef supports a wide diversity of life and was
selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.CNN has labelled it one of the
seven natural wonders of the world. The Queensland National Trust has
named it a state icon of Queensland.

The Great Barrier Reef’s environmental pressures include water quality
from runoff, climate change and mass coral bleaching, cyclic outbreaks
of the crown-of-thorns starfish, overfishing, and shipping accidents.

Rio de Janeiro (IPA: Portuguese: «River of January»; is the name of
both a state and a city in southeastern Brazil. The city was the capital
of Brazil (1763–1960) and of the Portuguese Empire (1808–1821). Commonly
known as just Rio, the city is also nicknamed A Cidade Maravilhosa —
«The Marvelous City».

It is famous for its spectacular natural setting, its Carnival
celebrations, samba and other music, hotel-lined tourist beaches, such
as Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon and pavements decorated with black
and cream swirl pattern mosaics. Some of the most famous local landmarks
in addition to the beaches include the giant statue of Jesus, known as
Christ the Redeemer (‘Cristo Redentor’) atop Corcovado mountain;
Sugarloaf mountain (Pao de Acucar) with its cable car; the Sambodromo, a
giant permanent parade stand used during Carnival; and Maracana stadium,
the world’s largest. Rio also boasts the world’s largest forest inside
an urban area, called Floresta da Tijuca, or ‘Tijuca Forest’.

Rio de Janeiro is located at 22 degrees, 54 minutes south latitude, 43
degrees 14 minutes west longitude (22°54?S 43°14?W). The population of
the City of Rio de Janeiro is about 6,094,183 (2005 IBGE estimate),
occupying an area of 1,182.3 square kilometres (456.5 sq mi). The larger
metropolitan area population is estimated at 11-12 million. It is
Brazil’s second-largest city after Sao Paulo and was the country’s
capital until 1960, when Brasilia took its place. Residents of the city
are known as Cariocas. The city’s current mayor (2006) is Cesar Maia.
The official song of Rio is «Cidade Maravilhosa.» (translated as
«Marvelous City»)

Mount Everest or Qomolangma or Sagarmatha or Chomolungma pronounced as
(Jongmalunga) is the highest mountain on Earth, as measured by the
height of its summit above sea level. The mountain, which is part of the
Himalaya range in High Asia, is located on the border between Nepal and
China.

The aurora (plural aurorae/auroras) is a bright glow observed in the
night sky, usually in the polar zone. For this reason some scientists
call it a «polar aurora» (or «aurora polaris»). In northern latitudes,
it is known as the aurora borealis which is named after the Roman
goddess of the dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for north wind, Boreas.
Especially in Europe, it often appears as a reddish glow on the northern
horizon, as if the sun were rising from an unusual direction. The aurora
borealis is also called the northern lights since it is only visible in
the North sky from the Northern Hemisphere. The aurora borealis most
often occurs from September to October and from March to April. Its
southern counterpart, aurora australis, has similar properties.
Australis is the Latin word for «of the South».

Paricutin (or Volcan de Paricutin, commonly also accented Paricutin) is
a volcano in the Mexican state of Michoacan, close to a lava-covered
village of the same name. It appears on many versions of the Seven
Natural Wonders of the World list.

It began as a fissure in a cornfield owned by Tarascan american farmer
Dionisio Pulido on February 20, 1943. Pulido, his wife, and son, all
witnessed the initial eruption of ash and stones first-hand as they
plowed the field. Much of the volcano’s growth occurred during its first
year, while it was still in the explosive pyroclastic phase. Nearby
villages Paricutin (after which the volcano was named) and San Juan
Parangaricutiro were both buried in lava and ash; the residents
relocated to vacant land nearby. No one died from the Paricutin volcano.

At the end of this phase after roughly one year the volcano had grown
336 metres tall. For the next eight years the volcano would continue
erupting, although this was dominated by relatively quiet eruptions of
lava that would scorch the surrounding 25 km? of land. The volcano’s
activity would slowly decline during this period until the last six
months of the eruption, during which violent and explosive activity was
frequent. In 1952 the eruption ended and Paricutin went quiet, attaining
a final height of 424 metres above the cornfield from which it was born.
The volcano has been quiet since. Like most cinder cones, Paricutin is a
monogenetic volcano, which means that it will never erupt again.

Volcanism is a common part of the Mexican landscape. Paricutin is merely
the youngest of more than 1,400 volcanic vents that exist in the
Trans-Mexican volcanic belt. The volcano is unique in the fact that its
formation was witnessed from its very conception. Amazingly not one
recorded death was caused by the eruption, although three people died as
a result of lightning strikes caused by the eruptions.

Africa’s Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya are, by some measures, the
largest waterfall on the planet, as well as being among the most unusual
in form, and having arguably the most diverse and easily-seen wildlife
of any major waterfall site.

Although being neither the highest nor widest waterfalls in the world,
the claim for being largest is based on a width of 1.7 km (1 mile) and a
height of 108 m (360 ft), forming what may be the largest sheet of
falling water in the world. No waterfalls are both wider and higher.
Their maximum flow rate compares well with other major waterfalls (see
table below).

The unusual form of Victoria Falls enables virtually the whole width of
the falls to be viewed face-on, at the same level as the top, from a
distance as close as 60 m (200 ft), because the whole Zambezi River
drops into a deep, narrow slot-like chasm, connected to a long series of
gorges. Few other waterfalls allow such a close approach on foot to the
heart of their power.

Many of Africa’s animals and birds can be seen in the immediate vicinity
of Victoria Falls, and the continent’s range of river fish are well
represented in the Zambezi, enabling wildlife viewing and sports fishing
to be combined with sightseeing.

Victoria Falls are one of Africa’s major tourist attractions, and a
UNESCO World Heritage Site (see box below). They are shared between
Zambia and Zimbabwe, and each country has a national park to protect
them and a town serving as a tourism centre: Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park
and Livingstone in Zambia, and Victoria Falls National Park and the town
of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

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