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Coral Reef Encircling New Caledonia

21.5S 165.5E

March 23rd, 2011 Category: Snapshots

New Caledonia - March 23rd, 2011

New Caledonia is a French overseas territory (autonomous overseas collectivity) located in the subregion of Melanesia in the southwest Pacific. It comprises a main island (Grande Terre), the Loyalty Islands, and several smaller islands.

New Caledonia has a total land area of 18,575.5 square kilometres (7,172 sq mi). Grande Terre is by far the largest of the islands, and the only mountainous island. It has an area of 16,372 square kilometres (6,321 sq mi), and is elongated northwest-southeast, 350 kilometres (220 mi) in length and 50 to 70 kilometres (31 to 43 mi) wide.

Here, most of the island of Grand Terre can be observed. Also of note is the coral reef flanking the island and extending northwestward. This reef encircles most of the island provides an important habitat for fish.

Cloud Streets Over Somalia and Sediments Near Djibouti

11.3N 43.4E

January 27th, 2010 Category: Clouds

Somalia - January 6th, 2010

Somalia - January 6th, 2010

Upon opening the full version of this image of Somalia, it can be observed that the clouds partially veiling parts of the country are organized in parallel lines, a phenomenon known as cloud streets. Clouds also hug the peaks of the Surud Mountain Range near the northern coast, in the Maakhir region. Mount Shimbiris, the highest peak in Somalia, sits at an altitude of 2450 meters above sea level in this range.

Also visible near the coast in the full image is an outflow of sediments near the Djibouti border (upper left quadrant). These sediments are located near Zeila, a port city on the Gulf of Aden coast, situated in the Awdal region of Somalia. Zeila is surrounded on three sides by the sea. Landward, the country is unbroken desert for some fifty miles. It is known for its offshore islands, coral reef and mangroves.

Island of Nosy Be, Off Northwestern Madagascar Coast

13.3S 48.2E

June 16th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Madagascar - June 8th, 2009

Madagascar - June 8th, 2009

Greenish sediments, and in some places, coral reefs, frame the deeply indented coastline of northern Madagascar.

Several islands can be seen off the coast, the largest of which is Nosy Be (center), located about eight km (5 mi) offshore in the Mozambique Channel. Meaning “big island” in the Malagasy language, it has an area of about 312 km² (120 square miles).

Nosy Be is a volcanic island that reaches its highest peak at Mont Lokobe at 450m (1476 feet). This volcano is of Holocene origin but has not erupted in recorded history.

Nosy Be has a tropical climate. It is most humid in summer (December, January, February). The Tsaratanana Massif partially protects the island from the strong north-east winds affecting the region in August or during tropical depressions.

Coral Reefs by Bajuni Archipelago, Somalia

0.9S 42.0E

June 15th, 2009 Category: Snapshots

Somalia - June 3rd, 2009

Somalia - June 3rd, 2009

Somalia is the African country with the longest national coastline, at 3025 km, with an estimated shelf area (depth 0–200 m) of 32 500 km2.

From Ras Caseyr to the Kenya border, the coast runs north-east to south-west. An important feature found along the southern Somali shoreline is the Bajuni Archipelago in the Indian Ocean.

This archipelago consists of islands, islets and skerries, forming a barrier island separated from the coast by a narrow marine sound, from Kismayu to Ras Kiyamboni.

They lie at the northern end of a string of reefs which also include Zanzibar and Pemba. There are six main islands: Chandra, Chovaye, Chula (the only island with a significant population), Koyama, Darakasi and Ngumi.

Areas such as this along the southern Somali coast form part of the Somali Current Large Marine Ecosystem, encompassing 700 000 km2, and extending 800 km between Dar es Salaam and Ras Hafun. Abundant biomass develops here due to upwelling.

The shelf area has a wide variety of coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass meadows, beaches and estuaries. In shallow water areas the abraded flats are colonized by scattered coral communities with variable cover. A true fringing reef is achieved in places only in the Bajuni Archipelago, and around the Bajuni barrier island there is more diversity.

Large-scale alteration produced by man on the Somali coast is relatively recent, but has accelerated in the last few decades, especially around major cities. This alteration affects especially backshore areas where the Pleistocene coral reefs are quarried.

At present, the continental shelf is not adequately monitored or protected, so coastal habitats are being degraded, living marine resources are overexploited, and pollution levels are increasing, all of which affect natural resources and biodiversity, reports the Marine Pollutin Bulletin.

Tuléar Reef and Southwestern Rivers, Madagascar

23.3S 43.6E

June 11th, 2009 Category: Rivers

Madagascar - June 8th, 2009

Madagascar - June 8th, 2009

Several rivers spill into the Mozambique Channel from the shores of Madagascar’s Toliara Province, in the southwestern part of the country.

The river closest to the bottom is the Onilahy. It flows down from the hills near Betroka to the Mozambique Channel. Along its path it flows through areas rich in biodiversity, including rainforests, red rock canyons and rice paddies.

Above the Onilahy is the Fiherenana River, which empties into the channel through the Delta du Fiherenana. Further up the coast is the Manombo River.

The coastal area near the mouths of these three rivers is part of the Tuléar Reef, stretching from the south of the Toliara Province up to Morombe. Only part of this reef, which is one of the longest reef barriers in the world, is visible as turquoise patches just offshore.

Finally, in the top left quadrant, the green waters of Lake Ihotry and the tan, sediment-laden Mangoky River can be seen.

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