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Visiting Seven of America's Natural Wonders

(2009-09-18 09:58:48)
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杂谈

分类: Translation
探索发现之旅——遍访美国七大自然奇观

So now we will visit these natural wonders. Some are huge. Some are powerful. And some are even a little frightening! But, we will keep a safe distance. The first stop is a natural wonder that the United States shares with Canada.

现在我们将一同领略一下这些大自然的奇观。它们当中,有一些巍峨雄壮,有一些声势浩大,也有一些甚至令人有一点点的毛骨悚然。但是,我们将会保持一段安全距离。第一站是位于美国和加拿大之间的自然奇观。

尼加拉瓜瀑布

That thundering crash is the tens of thousands of cubic feet of water that flow each second over Niagara Falls which includes the American Falls and Horseshoe Falls. The American Falls in New York State extends more than three hundred twenty meters across part of the Niagara River. The American Falls is more than fifty meters high.

尼加拉瓜瀑布由美国瀑布和马蹄瀑布组成,每秒中数以万计立方米的水量发出雷霆万钧般的撞击声。位于纽约洲的美国瀑布宽350多米,横穿尼加拉瓜河,于50多米的高空飞流直下。

Canada owns the larger Horseshoe Falls. It is about eight hundred meters wide and almost fifty meters high. It is shaped like the letter U, or a horse's shoe.

马蹄瀑布的大部分都在加拿大境内,800米宽,50米高,呈“U”字型,我们也可以称它为马蹄形,这也就是这条瀑布名字的由来。

Niagara Falls formed about twelve thousand years ago when huge melting sheets of ice formed the Great Lakes. The land was uneven with several drops in level, some very sharp. Water from Lake Erie began to flow north to Lake Ontario as a result of the loss of the ice barrier.

尼加拉瓜瀑布形成于一万两千年以前,与此同时,融化的巨大冰川形成了北美洲五大湖。这片大地崎岖不平,并有几处低于水平高度,其中一些地方甚至十分陡峭。来自伊利湖的湖水由于冰堡的流失而奔向地处北方的安大略湖。

In modern times, several people have gone over Niagara Falls, most of them on purpose. Most also survived. But, we think the beauty and power of Niagara Falls is best experienced from near the water, not in it.

近代,为数不多的几人成功越过尼加拉瓜瀑布,他们当中的一部分人是有意为之,并且幸存下来。但是,我们认为近距离感受尼加拉瓜瀑布的美丽和壮阔是很棒的经历,而不是身临其中。

Now we travel southeast to the state of Florida. We will visit the area once called "the liquid heart" of that state -- the Everglades.

好了,我们现在绝续向东南方的福罗里达州进发,访问曾经被称为福罗里达“流动之心”的大沼泽。 大沼泽

Hundreds of birds fly in a sunny blue sky. The only sounds are bird calls and the soft noise made by tall grasses as the water slowly moves them. Hidden in the grasses, dark green alligators move at the edge of the water, like part of the Earth come alive.

密密麻麻的鸟儿在蔚蓝明媚的天际自由翱翔。在这片土地上,我们仅能听到的是鸟鸣声,以及当流水温柔地抚过高高的草丛时所发出的轻柔的摩擦声。墨绿色的鳄鱼藏匿于这些草丛中,游走在水域的边缘,好像大地的一部分有了生命。

This is the Everglades -- a low, watery, partly coastal area that covers ten thousand square kilometers. The area is filled with saw grass. This plant grows in sharp, thin pieces that are three to ten meters tall. The Everglades is sometimes called "river of grass."

这就是大沼泽,一个地势较低,潮湿多水的部分沿海地区,覆盖方圆一万平方公里。杂草丛生于这片大地,细长而锋利的叶子可达三到十米高。因此,大沼泽常常被叫做“杂草河”。

The area also contains forests of palm, cypress, mangrove and pine. And beautiful plants and sweet-smelling flowers grow in the Everglades. These include several kinds of the highly prized and rare flower, the orchid. Animal species are plentiful. Many colorful birds and butterflies live here. So do snakes, foxes, frogs and even big cats, called Florida panthers. But the Everglades alligators and crocodiles are probably the animals most identified with the Everglades. No other place in the world is home to both.

大沼泽的林区里有棕榈树,丝柏,红树林和松树。多姿多彩的植物和芳香的花朵生长在这里,包括几种十分珍贵和稀少的花朵,比如兰花。动物的种类也是相当丰富,色泽艳丽的鸟儿和蝴蝶在这里安家落户,蛇、狐狸、蛙类,甚至叫做福罗里达豹的大猫也与它们比邻而居。但是,大沼泽的代表性“居民”大概还是要算美洲鳄和鳄鱼了。这里是世界上唯一的一个“一山可以容二虎”的地方。

大荒地 Now we travel to the north central part of the country. We are in the state of South Dakota. The land is big and mostly flat with many fields of corn, wheat and soybeans. But as we travel west, the cropland gives way to wild grasses. A strong dry wind blows continuously from the west.

现在我们出发前往美国中南部的南达科洲。这个地区幅员辽阔,大部分地势平坦,并且种植了玉米,小麦以及黄豆。但是当我们再往西行,农田渐渐消失,被广茂的野草替代。一阵强烈干燥的东风不停得从这片土地上吹过。

Suddenly, the land becomes torn and rocky, dry and dusty -- no longer green and gold. It is now a light red-brown color. All around are broken disordered forms. There are hills and valleys of all sizes and strange shapes.

突然,大地一片飞沙走石,生机顿时全无,眼前呈现出淡红褐色。周围狼藉不堪,那里的群山和峡谷大小不一,形状怪异。

The Badlands also extend into North Dakota

荒地也延伸至南达科洲。

These are the Badlands. Hundreds of thousands of years ago the area was grassland. But, then, forces of nature destroyed the grass. Water and ice cut into the surface of the Earth. They beat at the rocks, wearing them away. The result is one of the world's strangest sights.

这就是荒地。几十万年以前,这个地区曾是一片草原。但是不久以后,一些自然力破坏了草原。水和冰渗进地球表面,敲打撞击着岩石,并且把它们卷走,这也造就了世界上最为奇特的景观之一。

All together, the Badlands cover more than fifteen thousand square kilometers. About ten percent is national parkland. The area is a study in extremes. Temperatures in the summer have been as high as forty-six degrees Celsius. In the winter they have dropped to as low as forty-one degrees below zero. Life in the Badlands is difficult. But animals do survive. The most well known is the prairie dog. This small mammal lives in a series of underground passages.

荒地覆盖面积总共一万五千平方公里,大约十分之一是国家公园。这里是研究极限气温的好地区,夏天温度可高达46摄氏度,冬天的最低气温也可达到零下41摄氏度。虽然荒地的气候条件不利于动物生存,但还是有一些动物在这里存活了下来,其中最有名的要数草原犬鼠。这种小型的哺乳动物靠栖息于地下坑洞里以躲避高温和严寒。

大峡谷

As we continue west we also take a sharp dive south. We want to see the huge hole in the Earth, called the Grand Canyon in the state of Arizona. The first sight is breathtaking. The Grand Canyon stretches for hundreds of kilometers before us and hundreds of meters below us. It is about twenty-four kilometers across at its widest point. Its deepest point is almost two thousand meters down.

继续向西,同时向北方俯冲,我们来看看地球上的巨大坑洞,它就是亚利桑那州的大峡谷。第一眼的感觉是震撼,大峡谷蜿蜒几百公里,纵深几百米,让身处其中的我们怎能不为之一振。大峡谷最宽的地方可达24公里,最深的地方也有将近200米。

The Grand Canyon is a series of deep long cuts in rock. There are many passages and large raised areas. There are forests on the top level and desert areas down below. They provide support for several different ecosystems. The Colorado River flows through the Grand Canyon. The Canyon offers a lot of information about the physical history of Earth. There is a huge amount of fossil evidence. And its walls provide a record of three of the four major periods of the Earth's geologic time.

大峡谷其实就是一系列陡峭绵长的岩石纵切面。那里有一些路径和大块的突出地带,高处是森林,谷底则是沙漠地区,因此能提供几种不同的生态系统,并且还有科罗拉多河贯穿其中。大峡谷也提供了许多关于地球物理学发展史的信息,那里有着大量的化石证据,不仅如此,峡谷壁上也记载了地球的三到四个地质时期。

 死亡谷 Now, we are at the hottest, driest and lowest place in North America. Death Valley is part of the Mojave Desert. It lies mostly in the western state of California although part of it reaches into Nevada.

现在,我们位于北美洲最热,最干燥,也是地势最低的地区。死亡谷是莫哈韦沙漠(在美国加利福尼亚西南)的一部分,虽然它的一部分在内华达州,但绝大部分处于加利福尼亚州的西部。

An area called Badwater sits about eighty-six meters below sea level. There is not really any water there. The area gets fewer than five centimeters of rain a year.

死亡谷里有一个叫被做恶水滩的地方,它的海拔大约是负86米。其实那里几乎没有水,每年的降水量还不足5厘米。

During the summer the temperature in Death Valley can reach fifty-seven degrees Celsius. But, it can be dangerously cold in the winter there, too. And storms in the mountains can produce sudden flooding on the valley floor.

在炎炎夏日,死亡谷里炙热的温度可达57摄氏度之高,但是,冬日里却又十分寒冷,这种寒冷会让人觉得很危险。另外,山间的暴风骤雨也会给谷底带来突然间发生的洪水。

In other words, Death Valley is an unforgiving place. The heat has killed people in the past. And it will continue to kill those who are not careful in dealing with the area's extreme climate.

换句话说,死亡谷是一个不容宽恕的地方。它的酷热曾致使很多人丧命于此,并且它将继续夺走那些不小心应对待这一地区极端气候的人的生命。

Death Valley holds much evidence of nature's past violence. For example, there is Ubehebe Crater. This hole is about one kilometer across and more than two hundred thirty meters deep. It is the remains of a major volcanic explosion about two thousand years ago.

死亡谷保存着很多关于大自然恐怖的破坏力量的证据。例如,火山口,它的直径大约有一公里,深230米,这是2000多年前一次巨大的火山爆发所遗留下来的痕迹。

冰川

Now it is time to cool off in the far northern state of Alaska. We could probably just call all of Alaska a natural wonder. But of special interest are its glaciers. These huge, slow-moving masses of ice cover about seventy-five thousand square kilometers.

我们的下一个目的地是北方天寒地冻的阿拉斯加州。也许我们可以把整个阿拉斯加州都称为自然奇观,但是最吸引人的还是冰河。这些庞大的,移动缓慢的巨大冰块覆盖了大约七万五千平方公里。

About one hundred thousand of these rivers of ice flow down mountains. Some start from thousands of meters up a mountain. They can flow to areas just a few hundred meters above sea level. The largest Alaskan glacier is called Malaspina. It is more than two thousand two hundred square kilometers.

成千上万条冰水河流自山上顺流而下,其中的一些来自于几千米高的山脉,它们可以流向海拔只有几百米的地区。最大的阿拉斯加冰河是马拉斯宾纳,面积约为2,200平方公里。

Most glaciers move very slowly. But sometimes one will suddenly speed ahead for a year or two. These are called surge-glaciers. The most recent surges were in two thousand. The Tokositna glacier and Yanert Glaciers now have deep, narrow cuts on their formerly smooth surfaces. Yanert Glacier dropped ninety-one meters as a result of the surge. It is always very cold on the glaciers. Next we go to a hot spot. Sometimes very hot.

大多数的冰川移动十分缓慢,但有时候某个冰川会急速向前奔流一到两年之久,这些冰川被叫做冰川潮(surge-glaciers, 自己想的名词解释)。最近发生的一次冰川潮是在2000年。因此,现在的托库斯特娜(Tokositna,找不到正确中文译名)冰川和颜内特(Yanert)冰川的光滑表面上出现了又深又窄切口,后者更是因急流而下降了91米。冰川上总是相当寒冷的,好了,我们现在要去一个热力四射的地区,有的时候那真是酷热无比。

Welcome to Mount Kilauea, the world's most active volcano. It is on the island of Hawaii. Kilauea is not far from Mauna Loa, the largest volcano in the world.

欢迎来到世界上最为活跃的基拉韦厄火山,它地处夏威夷岛,与世界上最大的莫纳罗亚火山隔山相望。

Kilauea has been releasing burning hot liquid rock called lava continuously since nineteen eighty-three. The lava flows down the mountain to the Pacific Ocean. Its fierce heat produces a big cloud of steam when it hits the cold water. Kilauean lava continues to add land to the island. Sometimes visitors are able to walk out near the edge of this new black volcanic rock.

从1983年开始,基拉韦厄火山就不断地喷发出炙热的液体岩石——熔岩。熔岩从山上流下,一直流进太平洋,当凶猛的热气碰到冰冷的海水就会形成一股强大的气流。基拉韦厄火山喷发出的熔岩不停地堆积在岛上,甚至有时候游客们可以走在刚刚被喷发出的那黑色火山岩石的边缘。

These seven natural American wonders, from waterfalls to volcanoes, are not the only ones in the United States. What about the Great Salt Lake, the Old Faithful Geyser, and the giant redwood forests? We will have to report about them and other natural wonders another time.

从瀑布到火山,这些就是美国的七大自然奇观,但奇观不仅仅就此而终。除此以外还有大盐湖,老实泉,猛犸洞穴以及巨杉森林,我们将会另选时间给大家讲述其它的一些自然奇观。

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