Where is the Largest Canyon in the World?

The Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon in Tibet.
The Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon in Tibet.

Canyons are magnificent landforms that are found across the planet. The most breathtaking features of canyons are their cliffs and deep valleys that run through the length of the landform. Some canyons may have a river running in the cliffs while others act as seasonal water passages. Canyons are carved out by millions of years of erosion and weathering. Rivers more often cause this erosion. The rocks in canyons have differences in their resistance due to weathering. Therefore, as the river water carves into them, it leaves an unevenly eroded landscape. There are canyons that are bigger, deeper, and longer than the renowned Grand Canyon in the US, most of which are found in Asia.

Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon

The Yarlung Tsangpo is the world’s deepest canyon. This canyon runs for about 314 miles along the Yarlung Tsangpo River in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The Yarlung Tsangpo River starts near Mount Kailash and slithers down eastwards draining the northern parts of the Himalayas. It joins the gorge slightly after Pei in Tibet. This gorge makes a trip around the Namcha Barwa Mountain which it stands at 25,531 ft. The average depth of the gorge is a 7,440 ft with the deepest point reaching as deep as 19,714 ft.

Kali Gandaki Gorge

The Kali Gandaki Gorge is also known as the Andha Galchi. It is located in the Himalayas. This gorge rests at the foot of two of the world’s highest peaks. The Dhaulagiri peak, the seventh highest in the world, stands at an immense height of 26,795 ft to the west of the gorge. The Annapurna peak is to the east of the gorge and rises to 26,545 ft. When the depth of the canyon is calculated by determining the difference between the heights of the peaks and the river height, the Kali Gandaki becomes the world’s deepest canyon. This gorge has been a significant trade route between Tibet and India for years, and today it is a popular trekking route.

Tiger Leaping Gorge

The Tiger Leaping Gorge is a picturesque canyon located on the Jinsha River in China. This river is one of the primary tributaries of the mighty Yangtze River. Located 37 miles north of Lijiang City in southwestern parts of China, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the most scenic canyons in the world. It is around 9.3 miles in length and is found where the Jinsha River passes between the 18,360 ft. Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the Haba Snow Mountain. The canyon gets its name from a legendary story of a tiger that leaped across the river while escaping a hunter.

Other Large Canyons

The Indus Gorge in Pakistan is renowned for its depth of about 16,000 ft ranking it just below the Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon as the second-deepest. There is also the Cotahuasi Canyon in Peru which is at least 11,000 ft deep and the Copper Canyon in Mexico which reaches about 6,135 ft in depth. These are just some of the magnificent canyons on land. There are also some underwater canyons that have baffled geologists for decades; the largest of them being the Zhemchug Canyon in the Pacific’s the Bering Sea.


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