Can You Identify All of These Wonders of the Natural World?

WORLD

123 PLAYS

By: Beth Hendricks

7 Min Quiz

Image: © Marco Bottigelli / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Many people make bucket lists; that is, lists of things they want to accomplish before they kick, well, the proverbial bucket. Some want to do crazy activities such as BASE jumping or kitesurfing. Others aim to learn new hobbies, like learning to play an instrument or taking up archery. Still, others choose to populate their bucket list with a list of “must-see” attractions the world over. 

Hike the to top of Pike’s Peak? Check! Swim in the world’s largest swimming pool? (It’s in Chile, by the way.) Check! Go over Niagara Falls in a barrel? OK, maybe not that one so much. But this world is full of amazing natural wonders from the sky to the sea and everywhere in between that are worthy of any bucket list: The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, the super salty Dead Sea in the Jordan Rift Valley.

So, allow us to help you compile your personal travel bucket list! We’ve put together roughly 40 of the world’s most iconic natural wonders, sights and places that are just begging for you to explore. From the high elevations of the North Pole to way “Down Under,” see if you can pinpoint these wondrous locations on a map (or maybe just this quiz). Bon voyage!

You’ll find “Old Faithful” here and if you time it right, you’ll get to see it erupt. Where would you find it?

Yellowstone National Park in parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana contains a number of significant sites, including the geyser known as “Old Faithful” and an active supervolcano known as the Yellowstone Caldera, situated beneath Yellowstone Lake.

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It's a natural wonder bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island. Which of these are we talking about?

It’s not named the “Grand” Canyon for nothing! Spanning 277 miles long and up to one mile deep, this natural wonder is a perennial favorite on bucket lists everywhere. It’s hard to imagine it being larger than a state, but at more than 1,900 square miles, it eclipses Rhode Island’s 1,200 square miles.

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Which of these breathtaking sights has been captured on satellite images from space?

No, it’s not the Great Wall of China, but the Great Barrier Reef off Queensland, Australia’s, coastline. It is notable for being both the world’s largest coral reef and the world’s largest living structure.

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Compressed air from this Norwegian wonder is being sold to other countries. What religious-sounding spot is it?

Located in Preikestolen, Norway, Preikestolen, or “Pulpit Rock” as it’s known in English, is a tourist destination visited by more than 200,000 people annually. At almost 2,000 feet high, it is a popular site for BASE jumpers who like to fling themselves off tall objects.

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No autographs, please. Which of these natural wonders has been featured in movies like “The Princess Bride” and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”?

Thanks to their striking appearance, the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland have served as a backdrop for many movies, including “The Princess Bride” in 1987 and “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” 20 years later. At its highest point, the cliffs are 700 feet high.

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You may not be able to walk on water, but if you visit this natural wonder, you probably can float on top of it without much effort. What are we talking about?

The Dead Sea is known as one of the saltiest bodies of water on earth, with salinity reaching near 34%. This causes the water to be more dense than typical bodies of water. Because of that, and the fact our bodies are less dense than the water, it becomes easier to float atop this sea.

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You can find this natural landmark on the packaging of a popular type of chocolate. What is this landmark’s name?

You may know of The Matterhorn from the ride at Disneyland, but the real Matterhorn soars more than 14,000 feet above sea level in Zermatt, Switzerland. It has become synonymous with the Swiss chocolatier, Toblerone, appearing on the candy’s packaging dating back to 1960.

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It’s the highest freestanding mountain in the world and boasts three volcanic cones, one of which is still active. What is its name?

Located in Tanzania, Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the most well-known mountains in the world, attracting visitors and would-be climbers from all over the world. Of its three volcanic cones – Shira, Mawenzi and Kibo – only Kibo is currently dormant (meaning it could still erupt).

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This popular Australian landmark doesn’t change colors (not really), but it does give that appearance. What is its name?

Ayers Rock, known also as Uluru, is a sandstone rock formation that rises more than 1,140 feet into the air in central Australia. It is noted by those who’ve seen it for appearing to change colors, although that is simply a result of shifts in lighting during the day and at different points during the year.

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Jesus Christ overlooks this breathtaking locale in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. What is the area called?

Many people are familiar with the site of the towering Christ the Redeemer statue, but few know the name of the area this religion monument overlooks. Guanabara Bay is made up of more than 130 different islands, but its ecosystem has taken a major hit in recent years due to urbanization and pollution.

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This natural wonder was named by an explorer for a member of the English monarchy. Which “falls” is it?

If you guessed Victoria Fall, named for none other than Queen Victoria, you might be part British (or at least history savvy). Queen Victoria was the reigning monarch when explorer David Livingstone stumbled upon the falls near the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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If you travel to this site, you can check out “The Mittens,” but you can’t wear them. Where is this landmark located?

Located inside of Monument Valley on the border of Utah and Arizona, “The Mittens” aren’t mittens at all but sandstone buttes in the shape of a pair of mittens. The remainder of Monument Valley, all 92,000 acres of it, comprises other buttes jutting from the ground like, well, monuments.

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One of this site’s peaks was named after a song by the Bangles known as “Eternal Flame.” Where can you find it?

A route to climbing Trango Tower’s “Nameless” peak was discovered in 1989 and subsequently named for the Bangles' song, “Eternal Flame,” released one year prior. The song rose to No. 1 in eight countries, while the nameless peak rises more than 20,000 feet into the Pakistani skyline.

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You better have a boat if you want to travel to this wonder located in Lake General Carrera, spanning the Chile-Argentina border. What is it called?

Thank centuries of erosion for this breathtaking sight. The Marble Caves, also known as the Marble Cathedral, have been carved out of a peninsula of solid marble thanks to the movement of the water around it. The inside of these caves is marbled, just as their name portrays.

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The meaning of this locale’s name is appropriate, given its 72 waterfalls. Which wonder are we referencing?

“Lauter Brunnen,” which means “many fountains,” is appropriate for this Swiss valley. Its 72 waterfalls include the most famous, Staubbach Falls. Noted poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was said to have been inspired in his writing by this lush area.

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Rock formations here were caused by volcanic eruptions – no pixie dust required. What are these structures known as?

The Fairy Chimneys at Cappadocia in Turkey were formed by volcanic eruptions that were later molded and shaped by wind and weather to give them their unique towering shape. Today, these rock formations are the site of homes and boutique hotels for travelers who want a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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Bathe in a volcanic eruption? Why not! Where can you find this opportunity?

The Mud Volcanoes in Azerbaijan are live, small volcanoes that emit mud dollops on a consistent basis. Because locals and travelers familiar with the area have come to associate healing properties with the mud, you can find people visiting here just to slather themselves in the material. Mud bath anyone?

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Legend has it this natural feature was a lighted pathway to guide people to heaven. What do we know it as?

Scientists say that the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are around all the time – even during the day. (You just can’t see them well then.) Many legends have surrounded the Northern Lights over the centuries, including the belief among some that the lights were a pathway for the souls of the dead to find their way to heaven.

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Oh, when natural wonders grow up! Which of these were scientists able to observe from formation through extinction?

Parícutin got its start in a farmer’s cornfield, springing up out of nowhere to spew ash and fumes into the air. It marks one of the only times that scientists have been able to watch the formation of a natural landmark, from its birth to its eventual extinction in the early 1950s.

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It’s home to 10% of known species on the planet, akin to its online namesake that boasts more than 12 million products. What is this natural wonder?

If the Amazon Rainforest were a country, it would be the world’s ninth largest, which explains why it has plenty of space for 10% of the known species on the planet. Fun fact: Amazon.com (which is not connected to the rainforest) is just as massive, boasting 12 million products, not including the ones its Marketplace sellers list.

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This covers more than 100 square miles of surface area in Tanzania. What is it known as?

That’s some crater! It wasn’t caused by a giant meteor or an alien spaceship hurtling to Earth (although that would be a cool story). Instead, it came as a result of a volcano exploding in on itself, leaving a massive crater, now known as the Ngorongoro Crater, in its wake.

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It’s the world’s deepest and largest lake, but you’ll have to travel to Siberia to see it. What is its name?

Lake Baikal in the Siberia region of Russia is so large, it accounts for roughly 20 percent of all of the fresh water in the world. Of course, no good giant-sized lake would be complete without its own legend; Lake Baikal is said to boast the Baikal Monster.

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Scientists say this breathtaking locale will be completely underwater by the end of the century. Where do you need to travel to see it before it happens?

A tropical country located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is a resort retreat for many. It is made up almost entirely of water, a fact that scientists say will be its undoing. Unless something changes, the more than 1,000 coral islands that make up the nation will be underwater by the end of the century.

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It may feel hot to you, but this site’s water actually cools from more than 460 degrees underground to a comfortable 100 degrees by the time it reaches you. What wonder are we talking about?

The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa in Keflavik, Iceland, may seem hot, but it’s nothing compared to the temperature of the water underground – a steamy 460 degrees. The water cools to approximately 100 degrees at the surface, where travelers choose to bathe and relax.

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Have you ever heard of lateral volcanoes? You can find them in which of these locations?

Lava tubes seem appropriate for a volcanic island, this one located in South Korea. The tube-type channels used to have magma running through them, which helped develop a series of caves formed by the petrified lava.

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If you’ve ever thought about climbing this site, just wait. Scientists say it grows by a quarter-inch every year. What is it?

It’s the world’s highest point and doesn’t seem likely to be eclipsed, thanks to its quarter-inch of growth every year. Scientists believe that the rock upon which it sits is always moving, accounting for its yearly growth spurt.

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The sun seldom shines at this deep spot in France, so be sure to bring a coat. What is its name?

Verdon Gorge in Provence, France, is noted for its turquoise-tinted water and title as Europe’s deepest gorge. As such, the sun seldom shines all the way to the bottom, which leads to cooler conditions near the bottom compared to its higher points.

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This mountain is famous for appearing on the Cape Town’s flag. What is it called?

The Cape Town flag boasts imagery of Table Mountain, one of South Africa’s most notable landmarks and tourist attractions. Table Mountain is flat at the top, but it’ll be a significant journey (3,558 feet) to get there.

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The sights at this site are said to have been the inspiration behind the blockbuster, “Avatar.” Which natural setting are we referencing?

Zhangjiajie National Forest Park In China makes up 102 square miles in the Hunan Province. It is said to have inspired “Avatar” director James Cameron, who used its mountains and stone pillars as a model for the setting in the 2009 blockbuster.

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If you put the Empire State Building in this body of water, it would still be covered by almost 500 feet of water. Which place are we referencing?

Of course, a place named Crater Lake would have deep waters, more than 1,990 feet deep, to be exact. By contrast, the Empire State Building, including its antenna, stands at roughly 1,450 feet, leaving you 500 feet to spare if you were trying to hide it.

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Have you ever noticed shapes in clouds? What about bodies of water? Which of these is believed to be in the shape of a puma chasing a rabbit?

Locals believe that Lake Titicaca in South America is formed in the shape of a puma chasing a rabbit.That shape is partly to thank for its name. In a local indigenous language, the name is “Titi Khar’ka,” which means “Rock of the Puma.”

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Known as the highest waterfall in the world, the water from this landmark mostly turns to mist before it hits the ground. What is its name?

The water that rushes over Angel Falls in Venezuela has to travel 3,212 feet from the top to reach the ground. With such a long way to travel, what starts as water evaporates into a mist along the journey, resulting in very little actual rushing water reaching the ground.

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The main chamber of this natural wonder in Mexico boasts formations up to 36 feet tall. Where is it located?

The Cave of Crystals, or Cueva de los Cristales, in Chihuahua, Mexico, was only just discovered in 2000 by miners in the area looking for silver. What they found were massive crystals of selenite that have measured as tall as nearly 40 feet.

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Giant limestone formations here earned this site the designation as the first natural wonder of the world. What is it called?

One look around the Shilin Stone Forest and you’ll get the feeling of being in a wooded area, but there are no trees. The stone formations in the forest spring up from the ground like trees, however. Erosion over thousands of years is believed to have given the stone forest its shape.

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Legend says this natural wonder was formed by dragons sent to protect indigenous people. What is this area called?

Halong Bay in Vietnam is made up of some 1,600 islands, which legend says were created from jewels dropped from the mouths of dragons to protect the local people. The placement of the islands was meant to serve as a protection against invaders by sea.

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This glacial body operates on a schedule. Which of these formations ruptures roughly every five years?

The Perito Moreno Glacier (which, oddly enough, is not in Perito Moreno, but in Patagonia, Argentina) goes through a rupturing process roughly every five years. This is caused by the movement of the glacier and a natural damming as it reaches Lago Argentino.

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Nine Tibetan villages dot this natural wonder, giving significance to its name origins, “Nine Village Valley.” What is this Chinese attraction?

Jiuzhaigou National Park Is not only home to nine different Tibetan villages, but also scores of endangered species, including the giant panda and the Sichuan golden monkey. In 1992, it earned a designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Despite its 60-mile distance from Tokyo, you can see this landmark from Japan’s capital city on a clear day. What is its name?

Mount Fuji is one of Japan’s most prominent symbols, notable for its identifiable snow-capped top. Locals consider it one of Japan’s most sacred spiritual sites, a beacon for practicers of Japan’s native religion of Shinto.

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You’ll have a hard time finding pictures of this natural wonder and an even less likely opportunity to see it in person. What is this mysterious site?

Bu Tinah Shoals in the waters of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, is an unspoiled coral archipelago that is protected as a private nature preserve. Access to the area is generally by invitation only, and it is mostly limited to scientists and researchers studying its vast biodiversity.

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