1. A deep valley
2. Cliffs or steep rock formations on each side
The gorge picture above is of the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon and Washington State, USA
A gorge is a deep valley with cliffs or other steep rock formations on each side. The word “gorge” generally has the same meaning as “canyon”. A gorge is considered to have a river running through it. However, many canyons also have a river running through them. Some countries use the word “gorge” in place of “canyon“, such as countries of Europe and Australia.
A gorge can be formed by a glacier, cutting and forming steep rock formations on either side. A river can form a gorge by slowly eroding through layers of limestone and other soft rock layers, cutting a deep channel with steep sides. Wind, water and freeze-thaw erosion also helps to erode rock formations on each side to widen or steepen the walls of a gorge.
A gorge can be narrow and deep, not much wider than the river running through it. This kind of gorge is formed by the action of the river over many thousands of years. A gorge can be much wider, formed by a moving glacier.
Gorges can be found in mountainous regions where there was glacier activity. They can also be found near desert plateaus where a river has cut a channel into the land.
• Columbia River Gorge, Oregon and Washington State, USA
• Tiger Leaping Gorge, southwestern China
• Three Gorges, Yangtze River, China
• Verdon Gorge, southern France
The Columbia River Gorge is 80 miles long, passing through the Cascade Range and ending at the city of Portland, Oregon. Cliffs and other rock formations reach up to 4000 feet in some areas of the gorge. As an area of great scenic beauty, more than 90 waterfalls can be found along the Oregon side of the gorge. Tiger Leaping Gorge of the Jinsha River in southwestern China rises to over 12,000 feet at the highest mountain peak overlooking the gorge. The Three Gorges in China is famous for the newly built hydro-electric dam on the Yangtze River which has drastically changed the area, flooding many towns and archeological sites. It has also provided a clean source of electric power and created a vast reservoir for better flood control downstream and a very large scenic lake and recreation area. The gorge is 75 miles long and is filled by the lake which continues for 120 miles upriver from the dam. The Niagara Gorge lies downstream of the famous Niagara Falls on the border of New York State and Ontario, Canada. It was cut through rock layers by the action of the falls over the last 11.000 years, forming nearly 7 miles of gorge. The 15 mile long Verdon Gorge is considered one of the most beautiful in Europe and has limestone cliffs reaching up to 2300 feet above the river. The waters of the Verdon River have an unusual turquoise-green color from the limestone that attract many visitors to the area.
A deep valley having cliffs or steep rock formations on each side
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