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This section contains information, facts, and worksheets on Earth's natural wonders.
The Earth is a dynamic planet with the extraordinary forces of wind, water, fire and rock sculpting awesome natural wonders on its surface. For millennia, humans have had a relationship with the Earth, and its iconic features, in particular, ascribing them with spiritual, mythological and cultural meaning.
Products of the massive forces of tectonic movement, mountain ranges including the Rocky Mountains, the Himalayas, the Alps and the Andes - to name some - have been both barriers and challenges to people. Often incredibly difficult to traverse and home to extreme weather, only a few cultures have made their homes in mountainous heights, while famous peaks including Kilimanjaro and Everest call to the bravest climbers to push the limits of human endurance.
Believed to be the homes of gods in ancient cultures, volcanoes have made their mark not just on the landscape, but on human psyche too. The sleeping giants of Mount Fuji and Mount Etna on the outskirts of major cities serve as a constant reminder of the fragility of human survival, particularly with archaeological evidence preserved in the ash and mud of Pompeii, and yet volcanoes are forces of creation as much as they are destruction, forming new islands and belching out mineral-rich ash that feeds the land and oceans.
Water is perhaps the most unassuming of the natural forces, but it’s responsible for one of the greatest natural wonders in the world – the Grand Canyon. Carved out over millions of years by the unstoppable meandering of the Colorado River, it draws millions of visitors every year. Similarly, the Nile River provides life and abundance in spite of the hostile desert conditions that surround it.
As essential to all life as water is, it’s also a destructive force – in frozen form, avalanches tear down everything in their path in seconds, while slow creep of glaciers over millennia have carved deep gouges into the landscape and given Norway, Alaska and Scotland their unique coastlines.
Water is also responsible for two of the most complex ecosystems in the world: rainforests and coral reefs. The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, home to thousands of unique species and responsible for capturing greenhouse gasses, while the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world, is not just a natural beauty but an essential nursery to fish stocks.
Learn more about our planet’s natural wonders, not just for their inspiring beauty but for what they can teach us about the planet, the health of the environment and our impact on it.