The Great Barrier Reef is an incredible natural treasure. It was originated during the last ice age between 8000-10000 years ago. From the air, it looks like a living tapestry of vibrant blues and greens extending for miles off the east coast of Australia. The GBR has been visible from space since the 1970s and continues to be an impressive sight to behold. Its size is approximately 133,000 square miles (Covering 344,400 square kilometres)
It’s estimated that over 2,900 individual coral reefs make up this massive ecosystem. Scientists estimate that between 400 and 500 different types of coral inhabit this area, along with 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 varieties of mollusks. Its biodiversity is remarkable. The reef also provides a home to sea turtles, whales, dolphins, sharks, and more than 30 species of marine birds. The dark blues of deep water make it more attractive. Average water temperature there is between 73-84 degrees.
The reefs typically grow along the outer edges of the continental shelf. The GBR is facing threats from climate change, which could lead to devastating destruction if action isn’t taken soon.
Where Is The Great Barrier Reef Located In Australia?
The GBR is situated in the coral sea, tropical waters of Far North Queensland. The park spans over 3000 km (1800 miles), almost parallel to the Queensland coast, from the seaside town of Bundaberg up past the tip of Cape York. It is one of the best managed World Heritage Sites.
It stretches across two provinces—New South Wales and Queensland—but its southern part is especially stunning. It’s home to some of Australia’s greatest marine life, including whales, turtles, dugongs, and an array of colorful fish like clownfish and angelfish. For those wanting a more relaxed holiday experience, there are plenty of beachside resorts where you can relax in comfort while admiring the views over this magical underwater ecosystem.
Most Incredible And Oldest Natural Wonders
The GBR is one of nature’s most incredible and oldest natural wonders. This spectacular coral reef system stretches along the east coast of Australia and is visible from space. The question on many people’s minds is, how old is the GBR?
It is generally accepted that the GBR has existed for around 18,000 to 20,000 years; however, a recent study claims that it may be as much as 500,000 years old. This new research was conducted by a team of scientists at James Cook University in Australia who used advanced dating techniques to analyze fossilized corals found within the reef. The findings suggest that some parts of the reef may have been formed up to half a million years ago.
The discovery raises questions about the age and resilience of this extraordinary ecosystem which covers an area larger than Italy.
Why Is The Great Barrier Reef So Special?
The GBR is unique in its extent, as it extends from shallow coastal waters to fathomless oceanic waters. It is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 coral islands and the largest living structure on earth. Within this expansive expanse is a unique range of ecological communities, habitats, and species. It is home to more than 1500 different species of tropical fish.
Its natural beauty has made it one of the world’s most in-demand tourist destinations. There are many national parks on the GBR that are kid-friendly. Don’t miss opportunity to visit Swain Reefs national park.
Those who vacation at the GBR (especially in the Whitsunday Islands and Cairns regions,) can enjoy a multitude of activities like snorkeling, fishing, Apollo Sailing Built, scuba diving, hot air ballooning, aircraft and helicopter tours, water scooters, glass-bottomed boats (self-sail), semi-submersibles, and snorkeling. The coast offers daily boat trips.
Australian Queensland’s beloved tropical city Cairns is the most popular destination and is known for its sunny weather and exceptional natural wonders and many blues of shallow waters. The Queensland coast offer daily boat.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Spanning over 2300 kilometers along the northeast coast of Australia, the GBR Marine Park covers an average of over 14 degrees of latitude, stretching from 60 kilometers to 250 kilometers from the coast of the continent. Australian government created the GBR Marine Park and stopped various activities there in 1975. It is considered the largest living structure on the planet, with thousands of different species.
There are 14 coastal ecosystems that are important to the function of the reef: coral reefs, lagoon floors, islands, open water, seagrass beds, coastlines, estuaries, freshwater wetlands, forested floodplains, heath and shrublands, grass and sedgelands, woodlands, forests, and rainforests and many marine animals.
The Rarest Creature
The GBR is home to many unique species, including the endangered dugong. The dugong is an ancient mammal and a keystone species in the marine environment. It plays an important role in maintaining healthy coral reefs and seagrass beds, both of which are vital for the health of the surrounding ecosystem.
Unfortunately, conservation efforts for this gentle giant have been futile. Dugong numbers have decreased drastically due to hunting, habitat destruction, entanglement in fishing nets, pollution, and climate change. This has put their future survival at risk as their numbers continue to decline each year. In fact, experts estimate that only about 10 percent of their former population remains today.
Great Barrier Reef From Space
GBR is one of the natural wonders of the world. The world’s largest living structure can be seen from outer space and consists of trillions of coral polyps. The reef is home to a broad variety of plants and animals and was added to the World Heritage List in 1981.
The GBR is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world, and now astronauts can view it from up in space. Spanning 1,400 miles along Australia’s coast, the GBR is a popular tourist destination for those wanting to explore its 26 coral reef systems and more than 600 islands. But now, thanks to modern technology and the advancement of outer space exploration, this stunning place can be appreciated from an entirely different perspective: that of an astronaut!
Since 1984, when astronauts first got their first glimpse of this natural wonder from space, they have been able to observe how the reef changes over time due to environmental factors such as climate change. They are able to see how much ocean life there is around it during certain times of the year, which provides information that helps scientists on Earth understand these creatures better. It can be seen on earth from space.
Here are some space stock photos:
Great Barrier Reef From International Space Station
An astronaut aboard the International Space Station has used a powerful lens to capture three stunning images of Great Barrier Reef. On March 3, 2021, astronaut Shane Kimbrough took the photos while passing over the world’s largest coral reef system, which is located off the coast of Queensland in northeast Australia. Kimbrough captured an incredible view of the region from more than 250 miles above Earth. NASA declares it world’s largest reef structure.
The pictures showcase some of the most beautiful areas of the Great Barrier Reef that are home to a diverse range of marine life, including manta rays, turtles, and colorful fish. The reef system was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981 due to its importance as one of the most biologically diverse regions on Earth. Scientists have said that climate change is having a devastating effect on coral reefs around the world, making these photographs all that much more valuable.
Here is the view of GBR, captured by the European Space Agency‘s Sentinel-2 satellite:
World’s Largest Coral Reef System Is In Danger?
The GBR, the world’s largest coral reef system, is in danger of disappearing within the next 30 years due to rising ocean temperatures and melting ice. In 2022, a recent study revealed that the bleaching of branching coral (Acropora sp.) is being hastened by these increasing temperatures or due to global warming. Coral bleaching occurs when a coral expels algae living in its tissue, resulting in a white coloration and eventual death if not repopulated.
This phenomenon is damaging entire eco-systems that rely on healthy coral reefs for survival. Scientists predict that with no action taken, up to 90% of the world’s coral reefs are likely to disappear by 2050. It is essential that environmental changes are made to combat this crisis; scientists estimate a reduction of 1 degree Celsius over current ocean temperatures could prevent further damage, leading to catastrophic losses of marine life and ecosystems around the globe.
The health of the GBR is threatened by declining marine water quality, caused largely by land-based run-off. The vast majority of this run-off is a result of human activity, such as agricultural and urban development, that increase nutrient levels and sedimentation in the reef’s waters. These pollutants are detrimental to coral growth and can cause disease or death to many species of fish. As one of the largest living organisms on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef supports an incredible diversity of life, including numerous endangered species.
Unless action is taken soon to reduce land-based run-off into the reef’s waters, its long term health could be irrevocably damaged. This would have grave implications for both the environment and local communities who rely on it for their livelihoods.
In conclusion, the International Space Station’s powerful lens allowed us to gain a greater appreciation for the beauty of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. From this observation, we can recognize the importance of preserving our natural wonders and the vital role they play in maintaining a healthy planet. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system on Earth, with more than 3000 separate reefs and coral cays.
As we move forward, it is important that we continue to work together to protect places like the Great Barrier Reef from the effects of climate change. We can all make small changes in our daily lives to reduce our carbon footprints and support greener initiatives.