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Australia's Great Barrier Reef

Australia's Great Barrier Reef (Picture 1)

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest and longest coral reef in the world. It is located in the southern hemisphere. It runs through the northeastern coast of Australia, from the Torres Strait to the south, south to the south of the Tropic of Cancer. The stretch extends for 2011 kilometers and the widest point is 161 kilometers. There are 2,900 large and small coral reefs and the natural landscape is very special. The southern end of the Great Barrier Reef is 241 km from the coast, with the northern end closer and the nearest to the coast only 16 km. At the time of the ebb, some coral reefs emerge from the water surface to form a coral island. Between the reef and the coast is a very convenient sea route. When the weather is calm, the cruise ship passes here, and the continuous colorful and multi-shaped coral scenery under the boat becomes the best underwater wonder to attract tourists from all over the world. The Great Barrier Reef was formed during the Miocene period and has a history of 25 million years. It was formed 10,000 years after the last ice age, after the sea surface rose to a certain position. It was listed on the World Natural Heritage List in 1981.

Located on the opposite side of Queensland Province in northeastern Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is a stretch of more than 2,000 kilometers. It stretches across Australia's east coast, with a total length of 2011 kilometers and a maximum width of 161 kilometers. The southern end is 242 km away from the coast and the northern end is only 16 km from the coast. At the time of the ebb, some coral reefs emerged from the water surface to form a coral island. The scenery is fascinating, unpredictable, and the water flow is extremely complex, with more than 400 different types of coral reefs, including the world's largest coral reef. There are 1,500 species of fish, more than 4,000 species of mollusks, 242 species of birds, and unique scientific conditions. It is also home to some endangered animal species such as dugongs and giant green turtles.

It is the world's largest coral reef area, extending beyond the northeastern coast of Australia, over 2,000 kilometers long, 16 to 160 kilometers from the shore, and consisting of thousands of separated reefs. Many reefs are exposed or slightly submerged at low tides, some form sandbars, some surround islands or inlaid with continental shores. It has been accumulated for thousands of years by the hard shells and fragments of coral polyps, and has been cemented by biological remains such as coral algae and herd. At least 350 species of colourful, morphological corals grow in the warm waters of shallow water sheds. According to drilling, under the reef is the early Tertiary continental accumulation, indicating that the area was originally above the sea surface. Since the early Miocene, the land has been sunken and there have been several rebounds. The reef area is rich in marine life, with colorful and colorful fishes; there are also 1.2-meter-wide, 90-kilogram giant pythons and starfish feeding on coral polyps. The Great Barrier Reef attracts more and more tourists.

Incredibly, the "architect" who created such a huge "engineering" is a coelenterate polyp that is only a few millimeters in diameter. The coral worms are exquisite and beautiful in color. They can only live in waters where the water temperature is maintained at 22-28 degrees Celsius throughout the year, and the water quality must be clean and transparent. The continental shelf off the coast of Australia's northeast is ideal for the propagation of coral polyps. The polyps feed on plankton and live in groups, which can secrete calcareous bones. After the death of the old generation of coral polyps, the new generation continues to develop and multiply, and like the buds of trees, it develops to the heights and sides. Year after year, over the years, the calcareous bones secreted by the corals, together with the marine debris such as algae and shells, are piled up into coral reefs. The construction of coral reefs is very slow. Under the best conditions, the reefs are only 3-4 cm thick each year. Some reefs have reached a thickness of several hundred meters, indicating that these "architects" have been through this long period of time.

The Great Barrier Reef is the most dynamic and complete ecosystem in the world. But its balance is also the most vulnerable. If threatened in some way, it will be a disaster for the entire system. The Great Barrier Reef can't resist the violent storms. When the 21st century came, the greatest danger came from modern humans. The indigenous people have been fishing and hunting for centuries, but they have not caused damage to the Great Barrier Reef. In the 20th century, due to the exploitation of bird droppings, large-scale fishing and whaling for large-scale sea cucumber trade and fishing of pearl mothers, the Great Barrier Reef has been scarred. Climate change, pollution, thorny sea stars and fisheries are the most harmful factors to the health of the Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. Other threats include marine accidents, oil spills and tropical cyclones. According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, since 1985, the Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half of the coral reefs due to the above-mentioned hazards, and two-thirds of the losses occurred after 1998. A March 2016 report showed that the third global bleaching event caused by ocean warming caused the coral reefs in the north central part to be completely destroyed, accounting for more than 40% of the Great Barrier Reef.

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