Day 2 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, and my theme this year is Natural Phenomena.

B2015Barrier Reef; there are three main types, the best known of which is of course the Great Barrier Reef, of the east coast of Australia.  They are all made of coral, a colonial animal which secretes limestone and under suitable circumstances they grow and develop to create a framework on the borders of the flanks of islands and landmasses. The Barrier Reef forms a lagoon between itself and the landmass, which helps it to survive any acidity in water run-off from the land.  Fringing reefs are closer in, and they are often damaged by the run-off.  The third type is atolls, which are left behind when a volcanic island sinks back into the ocean.

Coral reefs grow at about 3 to 5 metres (10-16 feet) per 1000 years, although some Caribbean reefs have ben estimated to grow twice as fast.  Just as well, since the growth in the number of cruise ships anchoring in these fragile structures rips them apart.

Oceanographers are also discovering much more about cold-water reefs, which develop under suitable circumstances in other parts of the oceans, but are not generally made of coral.

I was lucky enough to visit the Great Barrier Reef some years ago.  My pictures of the underwater life aren’t good, since there had been storms in the preceding weeks, and there was a lot of debris and murkiness in the usually clear waters.  It was still great to see the fish with their incredible colours nipping in and out of the coral structures though.   These were taken from a glass-bottomed boat at the Hook Island Observatory, or at Townsville.

coral reef from boat

The Great Barrier Reef is now classed as a World Heritage Site.  It is more than 2000 km (1200 miles) long and started to form about 25 million years ago.

Come back tomorrow, when I have to fit my Natural Phenomenon C into the Flash Fiction for Friday!

Barrier Reef
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21 thoughts on “Barrier Reef

  • 2 April, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Thank you so much for your nice-and-clear explanation of Barrier Reefs. Look forward to reading again tomorrow!

    Ros, visiting from GenWestUK

    • 2 April, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      Nice to see you, Ros! It’s story-time tomorrow 😉

  • 2 April, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Gorgeous. I hope I can visit one day! I saw an article some months ago about retired NYC cars being tossed into the ocean to help build new habitat communities for fish and coral… cool things always happening in the world. 🙂

    • 2 April, 2015 at 4:02 pm

      In controlled situations, it can work well. Just not in every waterway that a jerk can dump his trash!

  • 2 April, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Love it! That’s one of the many, many places I want to visit!

    • 2 April, 2015 at 4:26 pm

      Next time you go to Peru, turn right and keep going 😉

  • 2 April, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    My daughter and new son-in-law are off to see the Great Barrier Reef in September and I am so jealous! There was sea floor off the island where we lived in the Bahamas that had brain coral – the only spot in the Atlantic that does. And it was only around 50 feet down, so you could dive without a tank,
    Great post, Jemima.

  • 2 April, 2015 at 5:53 pm

    I would LOVE to see both Australia and the GBR someday. I never knew there were cold water barrier reefs as well. Very interesting, Jemima!

    • 2 April, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      They have good reefs in the Caribbean too – unless the cruise ships have been there

    • 2 April, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      I agree, Patricia. Jacques Cousteau was the big tv person when I was younger – he invented the scuba equipment.

  • 2 April, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    Somewhere I HAVE been! Our one trip to Australia was in 2004 and we snorkelled at the Great Barrier Reef. The next day I broke two bones in my foot and ended up in plaster up to the knee, so I was glad I got to do the snorkelling first.

    • 3 April, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Well, if you must smash your foot, at least get the timing right! Hope it didn’t spoil your trip too much. I once jumped in a lake and cut my foot open – that did for swimming for the rest of the holiday – but I was 9 at the time.

      • 3 April, 2015 at 9:48 am

        We’d also done the Sydney Bridge climb which was the other thing we’d pre-booked from home so the timing was not bad! We still had a great time, though I’d like to go back to revisit without crutches.

  • 3 April, 2015 at 4:21 am

    I bet seeing it in person was magnificient! Something I would like to do some day!


    • 3 April, 2015 at 9:36 am

      It was – and at first disappointing with grey weather, but then, it makes a change from wall to wall blue skies!

  • 4 April, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I’ve never done the Great Barrier Reef, but I have SCUBA dived in a few Caribbean reefs and they’re always spectacular!

    • 4 April, 2015 at 9:13 pm

      Sounds wonderful, Sabina 🙂

  • 17 May, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    Hi Jemima – I’d love to see the Great Barrier Reef one day … one day! Coral always looks amazing along with the sea life present .. cheers Hilary

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