An Overview of the Great Barrier ReefThe Earth is made up of two thirds water - and that water holds many of the world's mysteries. Hundreds of thousands of species of fish, water plants and other underwater organisms reside in the Earth's oceans; as well as many different rock and other land formations. Some of the most interesting things that can be found in the ocean are coral reefs. The largest coral reef in the world is the Great Barrier Reef, which is located off of the coast of Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef is in the Coral Sea, which is situated just off of the coast of Queensland in northern Australia. It is made up of 3000 separate coral reefs and 900 different islands, which stretch to a length of 1616 miles. The Reef is often referred to as the largest living organism in the world, although in reality, it is actually made up of many, many tiny organisms; each of these is known as coral polyps. The Reef is so large that it can be seen from space. It has been designated as one of the seven natural wonders of the world by CNN, and the Reef was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most visited tourism spots in the world. The biodiversity, along with the beauty of the Reef and the easy accessibility, make the Great Barrier Reef a tourist destination, especially for scuba divers. Much of the Reef is under the authority of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and this area is protected and enjoys certain freedoms from commercial intervention. Some of the islands here have been turned into resorts, and ?live aboard? boats are available for those who wish to have multi-day diving tours of the Reef.
Another of the great things about the Great Barrier Reef is its age. Although scientists believe that the Reef is built on the remains of another coral reef that dates back at least 18,000 years, the current Great Barrier Reef can only be dated back 1000 years, which can be dated by analyzing the species of boulder coral that makes up this Reef. The age of the Reef combined with its many different animals and views makes the Great Barrier Reef an excellent spot for a trip.
Images (c) TerraGalleria.com, used with permission.