Most interesting wonders of the United States
Below are listed the most amazing natural and man made landmarks of the United States.
Volcanic processes in United States have created some of the most spectacular hydrothermal features of the world – such as geysers and bright colored hot springs and travertine terraces. Yellowstone national park (Wyoming) contains 200 – 250 geysers, the largest group in the world.
- Fishing Cone – Wyoming. Unusual geyser, rising as a small island – cone from the lake. Earlier it erupted up to 12 m high.
- Old Faithful – Wyoming. The most predictable geyser in the world, erupting almost every 91 minutes. Height of eruption is up to 56 m.
- Steamboat Geyser – Wyoming. The tallest geyser in the world, erupting up to 90 m tall.
- Grand Prismatic Spring – third largest hot spring in the world. Enormous spring pool and its surroundings are adorned with microbial mats in vivid colors.
- Morning Glory Pool – Wyoming. 7 m deep, spectacular hot spring with brightly colored bed. Other beautiful hot springs in Yellowstone are Emerald Pool, Crested Pool, Beauty Pool and others.
- Mammoth Hot Springs – Wyoming. These hot springs have produced some of the most impressive travertine terraces in world.
United States have some of the most impressive ravines and canyons in the world.
- Antelope Canyon – Arizona. The most visited slot canyon, which provides numerous grand sights.
- Buckskin Gulch – Utah. Narrow slot canyon, longest and deepest slot canyon in United States. Length – 21 km. Sudden rainstorm can bring 30 m high wave through the canyon.
- Grand Canyon – Arizona. Possibly the most impressive canyon in the world. This 446 km long canyon is up to 1,800 m deep, with rugged, nearly vertical walls.
- Gunnison Black Canyon – Colorado. Up to 830 m deep, narrow canyon. Contains Painted Wall – 685 m tall cliff wall.
- Half Dome – California. Granite dome rising 1,444 m tall above the surroundings.
- Zion Canyon – Utah. Up to 610 m deep slot canyon, in some places only 6 m wide.
- Yellowstone Grand Canyon – Wyoming. Colorful, up to 366 m deep canyon.
Such unusual relief forms as natural arches are well represented in United States. The most impressive ones are located in Arches National Park (Utah).
- Delicate Arch – Utah. Beautiful natural arch, 20 m tall.
- Landscape Arch – Utah. The fifth widest natural arch in the world, 88 m wide.
- Rainbow Bridge – Utah. Very impressive natural arch, 71 m wide.
Other cliff formations
- Devil’s Tower – Wyoming. Igneous intrusion – a steep, unusual rock rising 386 m above the surroundings.
- Fort Rock – Oregon. Unusual landmark – tufa ring which rises 105 m above the surrounding plain.
- Monument Valley – Utah and Arizona. Monumental desert landscape with enormous, up to 300 m tall sandstone buttes.
- The Wave – Arizona. Unusual sandstone formation with colorful, undulating forms.
- Crystal Cave – Ohio. This small cave is covered with enormous crystals of celestine, some up to 1 meter large.
- Jewel Cave – South Dacota. Third longest cave in the world, 292.7 km long.
- Lechuguilla Cave – New Mexico. Seventh longest cave in the world, with magnificent speleothems. Length – 222.6 km.
- Mammoth Cave – Kentucky. The longest known cave system in the world, 651.8 km long.
- Ruby Falls Cave – Tennessee. This cave contains the tallest known cave waterfall in the USA at 44 meters in height.
- Wind Cave – South Dacota. Sixth longest cave in the world, 229.7 km long.
- Niagara Falls – New York and Canada, Ontario. One of the most popular and impressive waterfalls in the world. Height of falls is 51 m, flow rate – 1,834 m³/s.
- Ribbon Fall – California. Tallest single-drop waterfall in North America, 491 m tall.
- Yosemite Falls – California. The highest waterfall in mainland United States, 739 m high.
Ecosystems and trees
- General Sherman – giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J.Buchh.), the largest tree of the world by volume. Volume 1,487 m3. Height 83.8 m, girth at the breast height 25.9 m. Believed to be 2,300 – 2,700 years old.
- Hyperion – California. Tallest announced tree in the world (there are known taller ones), coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens (D. Don) Endl.). 115.66 m tall, diameter 4.63 m. Contains 502 m3 of wood. In total more than 500 coast redwoods exceed height of 103 m.
- Giant Forest – California. Unique forest with stands of giant sequoia trees (Sequoiadendron giganteum (Lindl.) J.Buchh.) – the largest trees in world. This is the easiest to access sequoia grove but also contains the largest trees – five of the ten largest trees on Earth are located in this grove. Area – 7.6 km2. In California are located several more notable groves of these giant trees.
Other natural landmarks
- Barringer crater – Arizona. Most impressive meteorite crater on Earth, 1,180 m in diameter and 170 m deep, some 49,000 years old.
- Crater Lake – Oregon. Round, beautiful lake in caldera of Mount Mazuma volcano.
- La Brea tar pits – California. Site where in the tar have been preserved numerous extinct animals such as two species of mammoth, sabre-toothed cats, American lions and many other.
- Silver Springs – Florida. A picturesque, very powerful spring, with a 91 x 59 meters large pool with a depth up to 10.1 meters. Its maximum discharge has reached 36,000 liters per second.
- Wakulla Spring – Florida. One of the most impressive cold water springs in the world, the diameter of this spring pool is 96 meters, its depth is 56.4 meters. One of the most powerful springs in world, its discharge has reached up to 54,226 liters per second.
- White Sands – New Mexico. 710 km2 of pure white gypsum sands.
Man made landmarks
While it might be argued that the most impressive monuments in United States are the diverse natural monuments, this country has a good share of impressive cultural monuments – both architectural and archaeological.
Cliff art and stone settings
- Bighorn National Forest Medicine Wheel – Wyoming. Enormous, Pre-Columbian stone setting, which from the sky looks like a spiked wheel.
- Blythe Intaglios – large geoglyphs (gigantic figures on flat surface). The largest geoglyph is 52 m long depiction of a human. In this area are located several dozen such figures and also a labyrinth – Topock Maze. Age is unknown.
- Jeffers Petroglyphs – Minnesota. Outcrop covered with petroglyphs which seem to be made over very extended time period – since 7000 BC.
- Newspaper Rock – Utah. One of the largest known collections of petroglyphs (more than 650 drawings), made over the last 2000 years.
- Rochester Rock Art Panel – Utah. Very rich petroglyph site, with drawings made in different time periods before and after the coming of Europeans.
- Yakima Indian Painted Rocks – Washington. Interesting rock paintings in three colors, possibly more than 1000 years old.
Effigy mounds and other mounds
The ancient cultures in the Mississippi Valley most likely did evolve to a high degree. Some of the interesting monuments left behind by of these cultures are effigy mounds: enormous earthworks resembling stylized figures of animals, symbols or people. In the United States are found also "common" mounds.
- Alligator Effigy Mound – Ohio. This mound is shaped in a form of an alligator and was built sometimes around 800 – 1200 AD.
- Cahokia Mounds – Illinois. Largest prehistoric earthen constructions at the site of largest known prehistoric city in the area of United States.
- Rock Eagle Effigy Mound – Georgia. Thousands of smaller stones here have been laid in a form of an enormous eagle. This structure was built somewhere in 1000 BC – 1000 AD.
- Serpent Mound – Ohio. Built around 1070 AD. A serpent shaped, 411 m long earthen structure.
Native pueblos and cliff dwellings
- Acoma Pueblo – New Mexico. This town is located on the summit of flat plateau and has been continuously inhabited for 800 years.
- Cliff Palace – Colorado. Largest cliff dwelling – settlement in North America, built over an cliff overhang sometimes around 1190 and abandoned around 1300 AD. Largest building – Square Tower – has four floors.
- Gila Cliff Dwellings – New Mexico. Cliff dwelling – settlement, built around 1275 – 1300 AD. In total – 46 rooms.
- Picuris Pueblo – New Mexico. One of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the United States, occupied since around 750 AD.
- Pueblo Bonito – New Mexico. The largest of the Great Houses of Chaco culture, built sometimes around 828 – 1126 AD. This megastructure has some 650 – 800 dwellings in it, with up to five floors.
- Taos Pueblo – New Mexico. Approximately 1000 years old settlement, which includes large multi apartment building, built from adobe.
In spite of comparatively short history of European presence, United States have wide diversity of urban planning monuments. Visually most impressive are the downtowns of large modern cities, with numerous skyscrapers.
- French Quarter (Vieux Carré) – Louisiana, New Orleans. Historical center of New Orleans with numerous interesting buildings from the 18th – 19th century. Houses here have characteristic ironwork galleries.
- Manhattan – New York. The most prominent historical skyscraper district in the world. First highrises were built here in the late 19th century. Currently the most prominent buildings here are Empire State Building (381 m tall, built in 1931), Chrysler Building (282 m, built in 1930) and many others, also the tallest building in the United States – 541 m tall One World Trade Center.
- Downtown Chicago – Illinois. One of the most spectacular and earliest skyscraper districts in the world, includes the second tallest building in the United States – Willis Tower (442 m tall).
- Las Vegas – Nevada. Enormous entertainment and resort city, developed in the middle of desert in the middle of the 20th century. Contains huge number of spectacular buildings, built to impress the guests of the city.
As the United States developed into a wealthy and influential country during the 20th century, it created many global architectural movements and pioneering architectural landmarks.
- Brooklyn Bridge – New York. Once the longest suspension bridge in the world, built in 1883. Main span is 486.3 m long, total length – 1.825 m.
- Chrysler Building – New York. Magnificent skyscraper in Art Deco style. Constructed in 1930 and was the tallest building in the world for 11 months, until the construction of the Empire State Building nearby. Building has 77 floors, it is 282 m high.
- Empire State Building – New York. This 381 m tall skyscraper has 102 stories. It was built in 1931 and was the tallest building in the world until 1972.
- Fallingwater – Pennsylvania. A villa built over a waterfall in 1934, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
- Gateway Arch – Missouri, St. Louis. Unsurpassed monument – 192 m tall concrete arch, built in 1965.
- Golden Gate Bridge – California. Iconic bridge, one of the most popular bridges in the world. This 2,737 m long suspension bridge was constructed in 1933 – 1937. Pylons are 227 m high, the span under the bridge is 67 m.
Described wonders of the United States
The United States of America is one of the largest countries in world and offers a wide array of diverse attractions: many are unsurpassed in the world.
Highlights of the United States are:
- Cliffs, canyons and rock formations. In many minds around the world America is associated with Grand Canyon in Arizona, but not less surprising is Devil’s Tower, Rainbow Bridge and many others.
- Downtowns of large cities with skyscrapers. Modern skyscrapers were developed in Unites States, and such cities as New York and Chicago have thousands of highrises. Many skyscrapers are located closely together and provide an unforgettable sight.
- Geothermal features. United States are the proud owner of the most spectacular geothermal fields in the world located in Yellowstone National Park.
- Giant forests in California. In California grow the oldest, tallest and largest trees in the world. Giant Forest is one of such groves of world’s largest trees. There is nothing comparable to this elsewhere in the world.
States of the United States
United States are divided in 51 entities (50 states and 1 federal district):
- Alaska (reviewed separately)
- Hawaii (also a part of Oceania and Polynesia, reviewed separately)
- New Hamphsire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
Other possessions of the United States
- Palmyra Atoll (Oceania)
- American Samoa (Oceania)
- Guam (Oceania)
- Northern Mariana Islands (Oceania)
- Puerto Rico (Caribbean)
- United States Virgin Islands (Caribbean)
Several more scattered small Pacific islands are possessions of United States:
Also one more Caribbean island is unincorporated territory of United States:
Featured: Carrizo Plain wildflower meadows
Great naturalist John Muir wrote in his memoirs: "Go where I would, east or west, north or south, I still plashed and rippled in flower-gems". In 1868 he was privileged to see something what we won’t see anymore – the endless sea (400 miles long and 30 miles wide) of spring flowers of Central Valley in California. Nowadays nearly all of this unique grandeur is gone, meadows have been replaced by pastures, roads and buildings.
But don’t despair – there exist Carrizo Plain wildflower meadows.
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