There is nothing that illustrates better the corrosive action of water flowing continuously like a canyon. Rivers carve their own path through rock, sometimes taking millions of years, and slowly but surely create these incredible and vast natural sculptures. Some canyons in this ranking are very famous, known and visited by thousands of tourists, while others are not as well known and popular but equally fascinating and spectacular.
It should be noted that establishing the exact depth of each canyon is an almost impossible task: length, total area, height can be measured in different locations, but not all canyons and gorges can be measured accurately due to inaccessibility.
15 - Eldgja (Gorge of Fire), 270 meters
Where it is: Iceland
Eldgja is a volcanic and eruptive fissure and for this reason it has earned the nickname of Gorge of Fire. It has a length of about 40 km, is 600 meters wide in some places and reaches a maximum depth of about 270 meters. It is a unique formation and is also considered the largest volcanic canyon in the world.
14 - Palo Duro Canyon, 303 meters
Where it is: Texas, USA
Palo Duro Canyon is part of Palo Duro Canyon State Park, which was inaugurated on July 4, 1934. The canyon is about 200 kilometers long and has a maximum depth of about 300 meters. Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States, after the Grand Canyon. Its formation is due to the erosive activity of water from the Prairie Dog Town Fork Red River: the water continues to deepen the canyon, carrying debris and sediments downstream. The wind also contributes to this erosive activity, widening the canyon. The first Spanish explorers who ventured into this place named it "hard pole", which means "hard wood", in reference to the many plants of mesquite and juniper. Over the centuries many populations have lived in the cayon, the first being nomadic tribes who hunted mammoths, giant bison and other large wild animals. Later it was also home to the Apache, Comanche and Kiowa, before the arrival of the colonizers.
13 - Santa Elena Canyon, 457 meters
Where it is: Texas, USA
Santa Elena Canyon is one of the most popular spots in Big Bend National Park, Texas. It is possible to make excursions along the Rio Grande equipped only with canoe and paddle. But beware of those who are not very familiar with reptiles: in the park there are over 30 known species of snakes, so a close encounter with these animals is at least probable
12 - Fish River Canyon, 550 meters
Where it is: Namibia, Africa
The canyon measures around 160 kilometers in length and reaches a maximum depth of around 550 meters, which is why it is considered the largest and deepest canyon in Africa. It is a popular tourist attraction in Namibia: thanks to the numerous paths that run through it, it is possible to visit it all with an exciting and spectacular excursion lasting about 5 days.
11 - Blyde River Canyon, 800 meters
Where it is: South Africa
The Blyde River Canyon is approximately 25 kilometers long and approximately 800 meters deep, it is the second largest canyon in Africa. While it doesn't come close to being the largest on Earth, it has the distinction of being one of the greenest. The gorge is in fact covered by abundant subtropical vegetation, which certainly adds further charm to the place. Some of South Africa's most stunning views can be seen from the edge of the Blyde River Canyon, the view even crosses the border into Mozambique. The fauna that inhabits the canyon is also extraordinary, they live here over 5 species of primates.
10 - Waimea Canyon, 900 meters
Where it is: Hawaii, USA
Waimea Canyon is about 16 kilometers long and reaches a depth of nearly 900 meters. Initially the throat was created by volcanic action, was subsequently shaped by water erosion. "Waimea" means "reddish water" in Hawaiian, due to the color of the canyon soil.
9 - Fraser Canyon, 914 meters
Where it is: British Columbia, Canada
Fraser Canyon in British Columbia in Canada offers spectacular scenery across the mountains and reaches a depth of approximately 914 meters in places. The canyon is located in an immense park, where it is possible to make different types of excursions thanks to rivers, lakes, tunnels and caves all to be discovered and explored.
8 - Tara River Canyon, 1300 meters
Where it is: Montenegro
A series of switchbacks made by the Tara river have, over the years, formed this gorge that is the deepest in Europe. Located in the Durmitor National Park, the Tara River Canyon is protected by UNESCO. The spectacle of nature is also manifested in the nearly 40 waterfalls who plunge into this fantastic canyon, which also measures 82 km in length.
7 - Grand Canyon, 1830 meters
Where it is: Arizona, USA
It may not be the largest canyon in the world, although many people believe it, but the Grand Canyon in Arizona is undoubtedly the most famous. Despite the approximately 1830 meters deep and 445 km long: this majestic place was incredibly excluded from the seven wonders of the natural world.
Geologists are still debating how the Grand Canyon formed, the most recent theory being that 17 million years ago the Colorado River began carving its way through the many layers of rock and then continued to broaden and deepen the channel, creating the current configuration. The Grand Canyon is currently visited by over five million people a year, coming from all over the world.
6 - Copper Canyon, 1879 meters
Where it is: Mexico
To be precise, it is not a single canyon but of a series of six canyons collectively known as Copper Canyon or Barranca del Cobre, as it is called in Spanish. Named after the coppery green hue of its walls, the six rivers responsible for creating these amazing valleys flow into the Sea of Cortez as part of the larger Rio Fuerte. The deepest canyon of the group, Barranca de Urique, reaches a depth of approximately 1879 meters. This area is rich in wildlife, unfortunately many of the species that inhabit here are now in danger of extinction due to deforestation.
5 - Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon, 2268 meters
Where it is: China
The Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon in China is approximately 241 kilometers long and winds around Mount Namcha Barwa and through the mountains of the eastern Himalayas. The Yarlung Trangpo Zangbo River, at the end of the gorge, then becomes the Brahmaputra, as it passes through India. The area has been declared a nature reserve by the Chinese government, due to its unique ecosystem consisting of rare animal and plant species preserved by human intervention.
4 - Hells Canyon, 2400 meters
Where it is: Oregon, Idaho
Hells Canyon is the deepest canyon in the United States, is 16 kilometers wide and was shaped by the erosive action of the waters of the Snake River. Hells Canyon is difficult to reach, only three roads cross the canyon, located in a unique natural area. In 1975 the United States Congress established the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, a park accessible to visitors where you can enjoy the scenic views, go trekking and camping, mountain bike tours and other activities.
3 - Colca Canyon, 3270 meters
Where it is: Peru
Colca Canyon is a geographical marvel located in southern Peru and truly offers an impressive sight. IS one of the deepest canyons in the world and measures twice the depth of the Grand Canyon, Arizona. It is also one of the most visited tourist destinations in Peru and it is here that many species of rare and unique animals live, such as the Andean Condor, the Vicuna (a South American camelid), and several other species of birds and mammals. The valley also boasts archaeological sites dating back to about 6000 years ago, hot springs to immerse yourself in, and the famous Geyser Infiernillo. In addition to all this, it should be added that this area is particularly fertile, and has been cultivated since pre-Inca times.
2 - Cotahuasi Canyon, 3354 meters
Where it is: Peru
The canyon, whose deepest point reaches 3354 meters, was carved between two mountain ranges, the Coropuna and Solimana, by the Cotahuasi River. The landscape surrounding the Cotahuasi Canyon is as fantastic and spectacular as it is remote: if you want to visit the area you will have to face a journey of over 12 hours by bus to arrive there. If this is an uncomfortable and discouraging aspect for tourists, on the other hand it is undoubtedly conducive to the conservation of the area. To this day it is considered the deepest canyon in the world ever measured.
1 - Kali Gandaki gorge, depth not defined
Where it is: Nepal
The Kali Gandaki River, which winds its way through the Kali Gandaki Gorge in Nepal, is even older than the Himalayan mountain range that surrounds it. The river is named after the Hindu goddess Kali and its troubled waters are black in color due to the presence of glacial silt. The exact depth of the giant Kali Gandaki Gorge is still a source of debate, why not everyone agrees on what its deepest point is. However, if the depth were measured from the highest peaks on both sides of the river to land, it would be the deepest canyon in the world, measuring approximately 6800 meters.
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