n aturalwonders of the world robert j moore jr.
natural history/travel natural wonders of the world by robe rt j moore j r about the author historian for the national park service at jefferson national expansion memorial robert j moore jr has written several books and has traveled extensively also available from abbeville press from the everglades unique among the earth s wetlands to the sculpted stretches of the sahara the coral groves of the great barrier reef to the icy altitudes of the himalayas at the roof of the world marvels of nature adorn every continent and sea some of these wild places are celebrated for their sheer physical beauty others for their incomprehensible vastness their flourishing animal and plant communities or their vanishing ecosystems and many are so breathtaking that they are considered sacred more than fifty of these astonishing natural wonders are exquisitely photographed and vividly narrated in this captivating armchair traveler other wondrous places of the world featured include new zealand s alps africa s namib desert and victoria falls asia s dead sea and rain forest in borneo europe s greek islands and norwegian fjords north america s canyonlands and mount mckinley south america s monteverde cloud forest and galapagos islands and antarctica s glaciers the lively text presents a thorough survey of each place s geography geology and natural history providing a concise overview of how these wonders came to be and the myriad of plants and animals that inhabit them the author also discusses the importance of national parks and conservation areas in the protection and preservation of these precious locales for future generations to behold natural wonders of the world is both an inspirational book for the intrepid traveler as well as an exciting but comfortable journey for the armchair tourist america america photographs by sonja bullaty and angelo lomeo text by robin magowan isbn 0-7892-0530-0 the arctic world landscapes wildlife and peoples by marco nazarri isbn 0-7892-0629-3 the serengeti s great migration photographs by carlo mari text by harvey croze isbn 0-7892-0669-2 abbeville press 22 cortlandt street new york ny 10007 1-800-artbook in u.s only available wherever fine books are sold visit us at www.abbeville.com printed in italy isbn 0-7892-0667-6 upc 7 35738 06676 8
9 hawaii s kiluea volcano erupts an event integral to the formation of planet earth over the course of millions of years volcanism has shaped the world we live in 1011 the north face of mount everest the tallest mountain on the planet at 29,028 feet above sea level contents preface europe iceland land of frost and fire norway s fjords towering majesty finland s lakes region land of thousands of lakes england s lake district a blended holiness of earth and sky the west coast of ireland emerald peninsulas the black forest the postcard germany the alps centerpiece of europe france s mediterranean coast sun-drenched region of color corsica the most beautiful island sardinia a contested jewel tuscany italy s cultural gem doÑana national park spain bird-watcher s paradise the greek islands endless and sublime variety asia cappadocia,turkey fairy chimneys the sinai desert sacred places the negev and the dead sea israel the high and the low the band-i-amir lakes afghanistan blue gems of the desert the himalayas and karakoram the roof of the world borneo the deepest jungle 1 the peaks of kata tjuta seem to glow a fiery red at sunrise and sunset the reddish light of the sun accentuating the natural tint of the rock 14 24 30 36 38 42 44 50 52 62 66 70 74 78 80 88 92 94 100 106 108 120 africa 124 130 the nile river mother of civilizations 134 the sahara desert the hidden oasis 142 the red sea the world beneath 146 mount kilimanjaro as wide as all the world ngorongoro serengeti and natron lake 148 the empty place 158 lake victoria and rubondo island the heart of africa the ruwenzori and virunga mountains 162 the mountains of the moon 166 victoria falls the smoke that thunders 168 the namib desert place of no people 174 the seychelles islands incomparable beauty north america 176 180 the canadian arctic and greenland the top of the world mount mckinley and denali national park 188 tundra paradise jasper and banff national parks canada 194 alpine wonders 200 yellowstone national park nature s wonderland the canyonlands of the american southwest 206 silent majesty 218 yosemite national park towering rocks and plunging water 222 california s extraordinary coast romantic meeting of land and water 226 the everglades river of grass 230 niagara falls an immense boiling cauldron 45 lying east of serengeti and ngorongoro crater and west of mount kilimanjaro in tanzania s great rift valley lake natron lies amid a wild landscape of the cones of ancient volcanoes central and south america the caribbean colorful islands of history monteverde cloud forest reserve costa rica eco-tourism and rainforests angel falls,venezuela the lost world the amazon river and its rainforest the lungs of the planet manu biosphere reserve peru the world s crucial ecosystem the galapagos islands a little world within itself iguacu falls the great waters the andes ridgepole of a continent antarctica continent of mystery the south seas australia s pinnacles desert haunting spires ayers rock landmark on the dreaming trail the great barrier reef the ultimate work of nature new zealand s alps reaching for the sky the palau islands god s aquarium french polynesia a dream of paradise hawaii volcanoes national park land forged by fire photographic credits 232 236 244 248 250 254 258 262 264 272 284 288 290 294 302 306 310 316 320 23 antarctica supports such animal species as the chinstrap penguin seen here on a gorgeous blue iceberg in the weddell sea 67 a few of the many coral islets called motus that ring bora bora in french polynesia are seen in this view 8 the atlantic ocean crashes onto the beaches of portugal s algarve coast highlighting the beauties of the sea.
asia the deepest jungle borneo large green snake slithers across a tree limb so wet and smooth it looks like a piece of polished mahogany furniture monkeys swing from limb to limb shaking loose leaves which flutter to the forest floor low lush mountains covered with tangles of trees vines and undergrowth overlook warm azure seas native peoples live in longhouses squeezed between the rainforests and the rivers huge palm fronds are everywhere and even larger lizards skitter through the underbrush and dart below the sudden surprise of waterfalls that seem to rush from the green jungle rocks above all of these adventures make up the marvelous strange and wonderful world found on the spectacular island of borneo if asked what their initial impressions of borneo might be most westerners would probably answer with words like unknown and mysterious then go on to mention the rainforest and headhunters all of these things are or were part of borneo at one time but today it is a region known for its pristine beaches coral reefs and efforts to save a rainforest dating back millions of years from deforestation by corporations the world s third largest island borneo is famous for its rainforests rivers and wildlife the rainforests are some of the oldest and most pristine in the world the diversity of species is incredible including many that can be found in few other places on planet earth the weather is hot and humid all year round averaging 86 degrees fahrenheit with humidity at about 90 percent september to january is the official wet season when it is even warmer and wetter to see the wonders of borneo one might start with the rugged peak of mount kinabalu and the national park that surrounds it the mountain 13,461 feet tall is the highest in southeast asia its crest of bald granite rises above the surrounding jungle a site of religious significance to the tribesmen of the island within the kinabalu national park are over 1,500 species of orchids 27 species of rhododendrons 450 species of ferns and 300 species of birds other flowers include ten species of the rare carnivorous pitcher plant with its five long green leaves a high suspended walkway 120 feet above the forest floor has been built into the canopy to allow visitors to see the abundance of wildlife vegetation ranges from lowland through oak rhododendron and conifer forests to alpine meadows and the stunted bushes of kinabalu s summit nearby poring hot springs includes sulfur health spas and a chance to see the world s largest flowers rafflesias which grow there one must be lucky to see these incredible 121 borneo pacific ocean indian ocean australia a blooms for they are rare most of the rafflesia species are large but the largest recorded so far was three feet in diameter three-quarters of an inch thick and weighing fifteen pounds these flowers have no roots stem or leaves and bloom singly each flower produces one seed that must germinate by lodging itself within the tetrastigma variety of cissus vine on the forest floor if this fails to happen a bloom is not produced in addition to national parks which are attempting to preserve the rainforest other groups are trying to save wildlife that has been displaced as a direct result of clearcut logging operations one of the species most endangered by this commercial activity is the orangutan one of the most intelligent animals on the planet the sepilok orangutan rehabilitation centre takes in orphaned orangs and feeds them on platforms built into the trees the animals are not captive and can come and go at will the center is situated in a rich tropical rainforest with over 277 different bird species and 300 types of trees other protected wild animals brought to the center include malay sun bears baby elephants wildcats and crocodiles borneo s bounty extends below the surface of the land as well its giant-sized caves large enough to house cathedrals are home to bats and swiftlets each evening incredible numbers of bats pour from the mouths of the caves to feed on the abundant insect life of the island some of the caves have as much as forty-one miles of identified passages just offshore are the warm pristine clear waters of the south china sea which lap over coral reefs islands like pulau sipadan off the northeastern coast of borneo provide one of
122 top looking like the branches of a tree the tributaries of a river lead to sadakan bay in borneo the thick vegetation here is a mangrove forest an ideal breeding habitat for many types of birds and animals mangroves grow in shallow and muddy salt water and have arced tangled root systems 122 center a female orangutan with her baby faces an uncertain future due to logging operations in borneo male orangs stand four-and-a half feet tall and have an enormous arm span of seven feet females are roughly half this size orangs live in trees and eat leaves and fruits particularly figs 122 bottom a sumatran rhinoceros browses in the thick foliage of the rainforest another animal whose range is shrinking quickly due to deforestation and hunting it is one of five rhinoceros species left in the world it is differentiated from the others by the combination of two horns incisors and canine teeth and an armor-plate skin arrangement rhinoceros are herbivorous creatures with poor eyesight but a highly developed sense of smell 123 an aerial view of the rainforest at sabah malaysia gives an idea of the seemingly endless profusion of trees and waterways low-lying forested swamps like these protect elephants and orangutans borneo the richest coral reefs in the world harboring barracuda buffalo fish jack fish butterfly fish parrot fish clown fish dragon fish white tip sharks giant clams feather starfish sea urchins and many species of turtles the brilliant coral itself forms a paradise of shapes named staghorn mushroom cabbage and brain in staggeringly bright yellows greens reds blues and purples back on dry land borneo s wonders continue in the gunung mulu national park a region created about five million years ago when the uplifting of an ancient ocean floor formed its limestone mountains erosion has produced an array of pinnacles amid the green forest while below is an extensive system of limestone caverns wildlife includes colorful hornbills giant flying squirrels and flying frogs along with hundreds of species of butterflies bako national park on muara tebas a ten-square-mile peninsula jutting into the south china sea is a region where waves have eroded rocky headlands sea arches and steep sandstone cliffs giant monoliths covered with vegetation tower above long stretches of white sand beaches the jungle supports long-tailed macaques silver-leaf monkeys monitor lizards that can grow up to eight feet long plantain squirrels wild boars and mouse deer the proboscis monkey may be the region s most interesting and reclusive resident this large primate has a long pink nose fat belly thick white tail gray legs and an orange back and is endemic to borneo carnivorous and rare pitcherplants sundews and bladderworts can also be found in these forests borneo still has at least for the present a wild spectacular jungle full of fascinating creatures and plant life although there are other rainforests in the world there are few as undisturbed and continuous as those in borneo the low-lying forested swamps that protect elephants and orangutans the jungles with edible ferns bamboo shoots and unusual tropical fruits and the skies alive with egrets oriental darters swifts and vividly colored bee-eaters make borneo like nowhere else on earth this wildlife along with its coral reefs caves and jungles make borneo one of nature s most spectacular wonders 122
120121 a tangle of roots and a profusion of plant life characterizes the borneo rainforest one of the oldest in the world its incredible diversity of plant and animal species is found in few other places hot and humid weather contributes to and encourages the growth of all sorts of creatures and plants 120 bottom left a rare sight a rafflesia the world s largest flower blooms on a cissus vine along the rainforest floor rafflesias have no roots stems or leaves and come in just one color pink they are a parasitic plant and although pretty they carry the putrid odor of carrion 121 a rhinoceros hornbill sports his huge colorful bill amid the lush foliage of the rainforest the largest of the hornbill species they may grow to sixty inches tall their large but lightweight bills have an upturned projection called a casque 120 bottom right a colony of pitcher plants grows on the floor of the rainforest the leaves of a pitcher plant are shaped like a cone inside the cone are downward-pointing spiky hairs insects are attracted to the plant crawl inside the tubular leaf and then are trapped by the hairs eventually they fall to the bottom of the plant where the plant s juices digest them typically pitcher plants grow in poor soils the digested insects bolster their nutrients 120
116 bottom right the image shows another of the peaks close to bhagirathi river in uttar pradesh there are three peaks that stand at the end of the valley leading to gaumukh 116117 the majestic face of mt kailash dominates this view the mother of many indian rivers the himalayas ironically began as sediment deposited by prehistoric rivers millions of years ago they were raised by the collision of continental plates and have grown so that they are now the world s tallest range 116 bottom left gaumukh in northern india is at the end of the gangotri glacier the source of the river ganga nineteen major rivers drain from the himalayas including the indus the ganga river and the brahmaputra 116
the himalayas and karakoram the karakoram range contains a total of sixty peaks averaging 22,000 feet topped off by the incredible k2 at 28,250 jagged ice-capped peaks crown the horizon but the visitor should not be fooled into thinking that the region is perpetually frigid actually the greater himalayas are at the same latitude as central florida and cairo consequently summers can be quite hot and temperatures descend only as one ascends in altitude the people of the himalayan region take the beauties of the mountains in stride but never take them for granted it is westerners who seem obsessed with naming each peak each pass each stream and charting it all on maps how strange glacier the largest glacier in the himalayas and the source of the ganga river machhapuchhre fishtail in nepali is one of the world s most famous and elegant peaks it rises to a sharp point looking almost as though it has a white chimney on the top a similar peak is shivling which has been called the indian matterhorn since it resembles that european peak serene white-faced nanga parbat in pakistan tenth tallest mountain peak in the world is the opposite of the sharpspired mountains of the himalayas and looks like a large massive sail spread out along the horizon in pakistan one travels into the karakoram range part of the same asian spine as the himalayas but one with its own characteristics beauty and grandeur the serrated ridges of the mountains can be seen along the incredible karakoram highway which winds for eight hundred miles through high cold mountain passes and around some of the tallest peaks on earth between towns one can observe the gray rock that has fallen down the slopes piling up at the bottom like ashes that have been cleaned out of a fireplace above the bright sunlight glints off the sides of the brilliant white mountains blinding the viewer at times with its reflected brilliance when one sees such magnificent peaks it is easy to understand why the ancient peoples of the region worshiped the mountains and why they are still held in high regard today for the locals the mountains are the abode of gods and saints a place of pilgrimage in their snows arise the rivers that bring life and in their massive size is the key to the area s weather 117 left a torrent of the ganga river formed from the snowmelt of the gangotri glacier is seen in this photo the life of india its rivers comes from the himalayas 117 right one of the peaks of the bhagirathi group garwhalshivling is located at the headwaters of the ganga river in india west of nepal 117
118 top the graceful lines of mount siniolchu in sikkim india are tinted red by the light of the sunrise and tempered by the pure white snow in which it is mantled it can truly be said that each of the mountains of the himalayas has its own personality each has an individual look englishman t .g montgomerie must have seemed in 1856 as he moved into the region with his surveying equipment paper and pencils montgomerie is the man who named k2 simply numbering it as one of thirty-five summits in the karakoram range that he was charting the name or lack thereof stuck however and the world s second tallest mountain is still known by a letter and a number only to the locals the mountains were and are all one all part of the same earth and sky all sacred at the far western edge of the himalayan ranges lies the hindu kush with twenty-four peaks averaging 23,000 feet the hindu kush is surmounted by mount tirichmir 25,230 feet tall the interlocking chain of mountains valleys rivers and glaciers makes up an entire region of the world a region dominated by physical beauty and known for the resilience and physical toughness of its people it is not surprising that tenzing norgay a nepalese guide shared the honor with sir edmund hillary of being the first to reach the top of mount everest it is equally understandable that norgay did not want the spotlight norgay lived with the mountains every day of his life a dedicated climber who loved the peaks of his homeland yet took them in stride in a way that an outsider would find difficult when considered altogether the incredible natural resources of the himalayas present a compendium of most of the world s geographical features mountains rainforests deserts and plateaus they are incredible works of nature that remind us of our own relative insignificance in the course of geological time the natural beauty of these peaks certainly provides anyone who visits them a fitting place to contemplate the wonders of our world 118
118119 the face of annapurna rises 26,504 feet the annapurna area is protected by a nepalese national park and is one of the most popular trekking regions in the himalayas the famed annapurna circuit takes hikers through many types of geological and biological zones with great cultural and natural diversity a circuit usually takes from two to three weeks 118 bottom another of nepal s gorgeous peaks chulatse s snowy face and glaciers are seen in this view the rocky spine of asia is composed of hundreds of sublime peaks like this 119 bottom the serrated crest of annapurna heralds breathtaking scenery and dramatic valleys the tatopani gorge that borders the mountain is the deepest in the world at over six thousand feet the annapurna conservation area that surrounds the peak tries to promote enjoyable tourist experiences while at the same time preserving the natural beauties of the area 119