Hawaiian Coral Reef Ecosystem a Unique Treasure

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 14, 2003   View Article

For the past 50 million years the Pacific Plate has slowly crept over a stationary plume of magma deep in the Earth’s mantle, allowing the formation of a chain of islands that today comprise the most remote, large scale coral reef ecosystem on the planet.

The region, known as the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, stretches 1,200 miles (1,930 kilometers) towards Asia from the main Hawaiian Islands and is home to a thriving marine ecosystem full of unique, or endemic, species. Many of the corals, fishes, sea birds, and mammals that are found there are found nowhere else in the world.

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