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How did the Great Barrier Reef form?

Learn how the Great Barrier Reef formed off the coast of Australia, and see its beauty from above: The 600 islands, the shallow teal waters, and the 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles)—a lagoon that’s larger than Great Britain. Nat Geo Wild shares the history in this short video.

20,000 years ago, this area wasn’t even underwater. It was covered with eucalyptus and paper bark forests. And it was home to animals commonly found on the Australian plains. Aboriginal people would have lived here, too, hunting wildlife in areas that are now deep underwater.

Then 10,000 years ago, at the end of the last Ice Age, ice at the poles melted and sea levels rose all around the world, flooding this low lying coast. Stories of the Great Flood are still passed down in Aboriginal culture today.


Read more about the animals, the value, and the greatest threats to the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.


Related Great Barrier Reef, Australia, flooding, coral, and coral reef videos on TKSST:
• Coral Spawning at Australia’s National Sea Simulator
How dead is the Great Barrier Reef?
• Slow Life: Incredible macro video of fluorescing corals & sponges

Bonus: Why are there oyster shells in the ‘Chalk Pyramids’ of Kansas?

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