The Mud Volcanoes of Azerbaijan


The Mud Volcanoes of Azerbaijan, the Bay of Fundy and Poland's Lake District: Which gets your vote to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World?

They are the most spectacular, awe-inducing sights our planet has to offer, and now an online contest is set to reveal just which seven are the world's most special.
A worldwide poll to find the best natural wonders on the planet is nearing its conclusion after receiving millions of votes from around the globe.

Established international landmarks such as the Grand Canyon, the Amazon and the Great Barrier Reef are all represented in the voting, alongside lesser known sites such as the Bay of Fundy in Canada and Jeju Island in South Korea.

Stunning: The Grand Canyon is likely to be among the favourites in the online contest to find the new seven wonders of the natural world
Stunning: The Grand Canyon is likely to be among the favourites in the online contest to find the new seven wonders of the natural world
/ font>Favourite: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is also a strong contender in the New7Wonders poll
Favourite: Australia's Great Barrier Reef is also a strong contender in the New7Wonders poll
Majestic: Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has made it onto the list of 28 finalists f
 or the poll
Majestic: Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has made it onto the list of 28 finalists for the poll

The online contest ends on Friday, where the seven most popular sites will be whittled down from 28 finalists in the New7Wonders competition.
According to the judges on the event's official website, the 28 finalists were chosen from specific criteria such as unique beauty of the site, as well as diversity and distribution.
Ecological significance, historical legacy and geo-location were also considered by the panel choosing the finalists.
The voting process started in December 2007, before the top 77 sites were moved onto a shortlist in July 2009. Now after being reduced to 28, the official top seven are about to be named.
The winners will be announced after a global vote conducted online, via telephone and mobile text messaging.

Beautiful: Iguacu National Park in Brazil and Argentina has received support in the poll from footballer Lionel Messi
Beautiful: Iguacu National Park in Brazil and Argentina has received support in the poll from footballer Lionel Messi
Marvel: The Mud Volcanoes of Azerbaijan, made from geo-excreted liquids and gases, also made it onto the list
Marvel: The Mud Volcanoes of Azerbaijan, made from geo-excreted liquids and gases, also made it onto the list
Home grown: The UK's representation comes in the form of the spectacular Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland
Home grown: The UK's closest representation comes in the form of the spectacular Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland

NEW7WONDERS: THE 28 FINALISTS

Amazon: South America
Angel Falls: Venezuela
Bay of Fundy: Canada
Black Forest: Germany
Bu Tinah Island: United Arab Emirates
Cliffs of Moher: Ireland
Dead Sea: Israel, Jordan, Palestine
El Yunque: Puerto Rico
Galapagos: Ecuador
Grand Canyon: USA
Great Barrier Reef: Australia, PNG
Halong Bay: Vietnam
Iguazu Falls: Argentina, Brazil
Jeita Grotto: Lebanon
Jeju Island: South Korea
Kilimanjaro: Tanzania
Komodo: Indonesia
Islands of the Maldives: Maldives
Masurian Lake District: Poland
Matterhorn/Cervino: Italy, Switzerland
Milford Sound: New Zealand
Mud Volcanoes: Azerbaijan
PP Underground River: Philippines
Sundarbans: Bangladesh, India
Table Mountain: South Africa
Uluru (Ayers Rock): Australia
Vesuvius: Italy
Yushan: Chinese Taipei/ span>

The 28 remaining finalists are spread across the globe, while the closest representation to Britain comes in the form of the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland.
Well-known natural spectacles such as Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania are strong contenders for the final seven.

The snow-capped 5,895-metre mountain is one of the most famous in the world, although it will face strong competition from South Africa's Table Mountain.
The 446km-long Grand Canyon in the U.S. and the Amazon rainforest are also certain to be frontrunners.

In 2007, votes were cast to reveal a new set of official wonders of the world, prior to voting for the planet's most spectacular natural marvels.

The official seven wonders of the world were named as Chichen Itza in Mexico, Christ Redeemer in Brazil, The Great Wall of China, The Colosseum in Italy, Machu Picchu in Peru, the ancient city of Petra in Jordan, and India's Taj Mahal.

The list aimed to replace the seven ancient wonders of the world, of which only the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt remain.
The New7Wonders of Nature is a global Internet contest under the slogan: 'If we want to save anything, we first need to truly appreciate it.'

By the time voting closes tomorrow, the online poll could have attracted more than one billion votes from around the world.
Other sites on the shortlist include the Galapagos islands, the Great Barrier Reef, Kilimanjaro, the Matterhorn, Jeju - a volcanic island off Korea - and the Sundarbans delta, the largest mangrove forest in the world at the mouth of the Ganges.

More than 100 million votes were cast in a previous 2007 contest for the new man-made seven wonders of the world competition, which attempted to recast ancient history by ranking the top architectural marvels.

'This time we a nticipate one billion votes, that's our target,' said Bernard Weber, founder of New7Wonders.

Mr Weber said he came up with the idea when he first had to buy a computer for internet access and decided he needed a project to work on that would create international interest.
His partner, a teacher, suggested the seven wonders of the world.

Each voter has to pick exactly seven sites and is limited to one email address, though there is nothing to stop people registering under more than one address or firing in multiple ballots from their mobiles.

Mr Weber added: 'It is also using modern technology for the first truly global democratic exercise.'
Those wishing to cast their vote can do so by visiting www.new7wonders.com

Nature's finest: The Jeita Grotto, a compound of crystalised caves in Lebanon, is over 9000m long
Nature's finest: The Jeita Grotto, a compound of crystalised caves in Lebanon, is more than 9km long
Candidate: Bu Tinah Island in the United Arab Emirates, is one of several entries many voters will be less familiar with
Candidate: Bu Tinah Island in the United Arab Emirates, is one of several entries many voters will be less familiar with
The 28 sites in the running for being named among the seven wonders of the world