Coral reefs

Coral Reefs Curcao

The most striking geological formation on Curaçao is found underwater: the millions of living creatures that make up the coral reef around the island. Living corals are actually animals with a week body. The limestone, from which the reef is built, is formed by cells on the lower sides of the reef, which secrete one valuable drop at a time. When these corals die, only the limestone sediment remains; new corals attach themselves to these sediments, secrete their own limestone, and in turn die. The reef has been patiently built up over millions of years.

Corals grow only in warm, shallow water where they receive sunlight. The corals attach themselves to an underwater slope of a landmass, after which the reef gradually grows until it rises above the water. This eventually changes the face of the island. Curaçao probably originally consisted of two islands, which were later united by the reefs.

Scientists consider the ongoing formation of coral reefs to be the single most important geological and biological process taking place on Curaçao today. The reefs are an integral part of the island's overall ecology, protecting the coastline from erosion. Furthermore, the reefs provide food for fish and, of course, provide people with an unparalleled form of recreation. Coral reefs, however, are extremely fragile. A casual hand movement or a hefty kick can destroy years of reef formation. Therefore, snorkelers and divers with a sense of responsibility know not to touch anything underwater.