Yosemite Valley, California
Photograph by Larry Fellows, Arizona Geological Survey
Glaciers carved this steep-walled valley, now occupied by the Merced River, in California's Yosemite National Park. Waterfalls cascade down the valley's steep walls, carved away by the massive, slow-moving blocks of snow and ice.
Nile River Valley, Egypt
Photograph courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC
Standing in stark contrast to the surrounding desert, vegetation lines the fertile Nile River Valley as it runs northward through Egypt. The city of Cairo is a gray smudge visible where the river widens into its fan-shaped delta.
Khumbu Valley, Nepal
Photograph by Jon Arnold Images/Alamy
Majestic Himalayan peaks surround Gokyo Lake in Nepal's Khumbu Valley. Valleys are scoured and washed out by the conspiring forces of gravity, water, and ice. They all take the form of a U or a V.
Porsmork Valley, Iceland
Photograph by Travelfile/Alamy
Porsmork Valley is part of Iceland's rich landscape and host to thousands of plant species. Glacial valleys, such as this one, have wide valley floors usually littered with loose rock and boulders left behind by the massive moving ice slabs.
Rhine River Valley, Germany
Photograph by Bernd Mellmann/Alamy
Lighted boats ply the Rhine River through Saint Goar, Germany. The town sits in the central Rhine Valley, parts of which were declared a U.N. World Heritage site. The area's castles, historic towns, and vineyards give it historic and cultural significance.
Wailua Valley, Hawaii
Photograph by Chris Johns
A fishing boat is moored off the north shore of Molokai, Hawaii, near the Wailua Valley. The area is virtually impenetrable—boats are the primary means of access to the valley. These coastal mountains contain the world's highest sea cliffs.
Danum Valley, Borneo
Photograph by Mattias Klum
Mist hangs over the forests of Danum Valley in northeastern Borneo. Home to the rare Borneo pygmy elephant, the valley was unsettled by humans before it received official protection as the Danum Valley Conservation Area.
Yangdi Valley, China
Photograph by Raymond K. Gehman
Rice paddies stretch over Yangdi Valley in Guangdong Province, China. Over time, huge slabs of soluble rock formed drainage passages that allowed water to sculpt the valley's unique topography.
Edna Valley, California
Photograph by Michael S. Lewis
Neat vineyards stripe Edna Valley in San Luis Obispo, California. Growers here say the valley's east-west orientation allows coastal fogs to roll in at night, cooling the grapes so that they mature slowly while keeping sufficient acidity.
Ouri Valley, Chad
Photograph by George Steinmetz
Massive, disorderly rock formations jut from the orange Saharan sand of Chad's Ouri Valley. This desert valley is bordered by the Tibesti Mountains.
Wildlife in Luangwa Valley, Zambia
Photograph by Frans Lanting
Snow-white cattle egrets drift in to feed on the insects stirred up by a herd of African buffalo in the lush Luangwa Valley of Zambia. Hippos, elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, and scores of other species flourish in this savanna-woodland watershed, watered by the Luangwa River. Every year the river floods and spills onto the surrounding land, making the broad valley impassable by road for nearly six months.
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