Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

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Credit: ANDREW CLARKE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aerial view of part of the Great Barrier Reef taken off the coast near Gladstone, Australia. The Great Barrier Reef is situated along the north- eastern Australian coast and is about 1600km long. These formations, also known as coral reefs, are found throughout the world and develop in warmer waters (25-30 degrees Celsius) in depths not greater than 60m. They are formed by the accumulation of skeletons of many organisms such as corals, algae, snails and molluscs. They are divided into three types: fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls. The fringing type, as the one seen here, is so called because it builds up close to the shores of continents or islands.

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Keywords: australia, coral reef, environment, fringing reef, geography, great barrier, great barrier reef

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