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Sediments and Possible Phytoplankton Growth in Arafura Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria – August 22nd, 2011

11.3S 139.1E

August 22nd, 2011 Category: Image of the day, Phytoplankton, Sediments

Australia and New Guinea - August 2nd, 2011

Sediments and possibly phytoplankton growth color the Arafura Sea (above) and the Gulf of Carpentaria (below). The sediments are particularly concentrated along the coasts of the Gulf and of New Guinea (top).

The Arafura Sea lies west of the Pacific Ocean, overlying the continental shelf between Australia and New Guinea. It is bordered by the Torres Strait and through that the Coral Sea to the east, the Gulf of Carpentaria to the south, the Timor Sea to the west and the Banda and Ceram seas to the northwest.

It is 1,290 kilometres (800 miles) long and 560 kilometres (350 miles) wide. The depth of the sea is primarily 50-80 metres (165-265 feet) with the depth increasing to the west. As a shallow tropical sea, its waters are a breeding ground for tropical cyclones.

Islands of the Torres Strait off Cape York Peninsula, Australia – September 4th, 2009

10.6S 142.1E

September 4th, 2009 Category: Image of the day

Australia - August 12th, 2009

Australia - August 12th, 2009

The Torres Strait, separating Australia’s Cape York Peninsula from New Guinea, contains at least 274 small islands, most of which are part of Queensland, Australia.

The islands can be divided into several different groups. Here, the Near Western Islands can be seen at the top center. The islands in this cluster lie south of the strait’s midway point, and are also largely high granite hills with mounds of basaltic outcrops, formed from old peaks of the now submerged land bridge.

This group includes Moa (Banks Island), the second-largest island in the Torres Strait, and Badu (Mulgrave Island), which is slightly smaller and fringed with extensive mangrove swamps.

Moving southward, the Inner Islands (or the Thursday Island group), lie closest to Cape York Peninsula, and their topography and geological history is very similar. Muralag (Prince of Wales Island) is the largest of the strait’s islands, and forms the centre of this closely grouped cluster.

Great Barrier Reef, Australia – May 23rd, 2009 – EOSnap Celebrates its 1000th Post!

12S 142.5E

May 23rd, 2009 Category: Image of the day, Rivers

Great Barrier Reef, Australia - May 22nd, 2009

Great Barrier Reef, Australia - May 22nd, 2009

Princess Charlotte Bay

Princess Charlotte Bay

Coral Reef

Coral Reef

EOSnap celebrates its 1000th post with this sharp and brightly colored image of the Great Barrier Reef along the Cape York Peninsula, in Queensland, Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system in the world, composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 3,000 kilometres (1,600 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (133,000 sq mi).

The first two close-ups focus on the coral reef on the eastern coast of the Cape York Peninsula.  One detail is of the Princess Charlotte Bay, a part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which is a habitat for dugong. The Normanby, Bizant, North Kennedy, and Morehead rivers all terminate in this bay.

Torres Strait

Torres Strait

The central close-up portrays the northernmost tip of the Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait and islands above it.

The final two close-ups focus on the western coast of the peninsula, which is not part of the Great Barrier Reef. Instead, the coast is fringed by tan sediments, which fade into a yellow-green hue as they mix with the waters of the Gulf of Carpentaria. One close-up includes Mission River (top). The red patches near the river are bare areas of earth, used for mining or construction.

The other detail shows the Mitchell River, which has the state’s largest discharge, particularly when pulsing with monsoonal rains, though it is intermittent and may be dry for part of the year. The last time EOSnap observed this area, the terrain was dark green due to vegetational growth during times of flooding. Now, the terrain appears drier and browner in color.

Mission River

Mission River

Mitchell River

Mitchell River

Islands and Coral Reefs in Torres Strait, between Australia and Papua New Guinea

9.1S 143.4E

May 15th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Torres Strait Islands - May 12th, 2009

Torres Strait Islands - May 12th, 2009

The Torres Strait Islands are a group of at least 274 small islands which lie in Torres Strait, the waterway separating far northern continental Australia’s Cape York Peninsula and the island of New Guinea.

They are mostly part of Queensland, a constituent State of the Commonwealth of Australia, although a few islands very close to the coast of mainland New Guinea belong to the Western Province of Papua New Guinea.

The islands are distributed across an area of some 48 000 km². The distance across the Strait from Cape York to New Guinea is approximately 150 km at the narrowest point; the islands lie scattered in between, extending some 200-300 km from furthest east to furthest west.

The islands and their surrounding waters and reefs provide a highly diverse set of land and marine ecosystems, with niches for many rare or unique species.

Marine animals of the islands include dugongs (an endangered species of sea mammal mostly found in New Guinean waters), as well as green, hawksbill and flatback sea turtles.

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