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Great Barrier Reef, Australia

December 9th, 2005 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef. The reef is located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland in north-east Australia. It stretches over 2000 kilometres in length and can be seen from space. An ancient barrier reef similar to the Great Barrier Reef can be found in The Kimberlies.

The Great Barrier Reef first became known to Europeans when the explorer Captain James Cook ran aground it on June 11, 1770. The Great Barrier Reef however was known to Indigenous Australians whose occupation of the Australian continent extends back 40,000 to 60,000 years or more. [1] [2]. The oldest parts of the reef date from about 60,000 years ago.

The Great Barrier Reef is a large system of about 900 islands and over 3000 coral reefs, which mostly lie some distance from the mainland coastline. Due to its vast biodiversity, warm clear waters and its accessibility from the floating guest facilities called 'live aboards', the Reef is a very popular destination for tourists, especially scuba divers. Many cities along the Queensland coast offer boat trips to the reef on a daily basis. Several continental islands have been turned into resorts.

The Great Barrier Reef is sometimes referred to as the single largest organism in the world. In reality it is made up of many millions of tiny organisms, as are all coral formations.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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