The Gulf of Guacanayabo in the Caribbean Sea. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features the Gulf of Guacanayabo, an inlet of the Caribbean Sea near the southern coast of Cuba.
Tropical coral reefs provide food and shelter for about 25 percent of the world’s marine life. This is especially remarkable considering that these reefs make up only one percent of the ocean floor.
Nearly eight percent of tropical reefs can be found in the Caribbean Sea, including the Gran Banco de Buena Esperanza, which is visible in the photograph across the center of the bay.
According to NASA, the Gran Banco de Buena Esperanza reef forms a “reticulate” pattern, where the corals have grown into a maze-like network of ridges integrated with ponds and channels.
The coral reef appears light green in contrast with the darker blue-green colors of the bay. This represents steep ridges where the reefs have grown as much as 25 meters above the seafloor. Below the ocean floor, the reefs actually extend another 50 meters.
The image was captured on January 14, 2020 by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory