Phenomena

Florida’s Keys

The Florida Keys as seen from a satellite.

Stretching from the southern tip of Florida, a chain of low-lying islands, known as keys or cays, formed underwater during a warm interglacial period some 125,000 years ago. Originally coral reefs and sand bars, the islands hardened and fossilized when sea levels dropped during an ice age. These natural-color satellite images hint at the keys’ impressive ecosystems. The bright blue streak is a giant coral reef separating the deeper waters of the Atlantic from the shallow waters and sea-grass beds lying between the islands. Formations like these, along with mangrove forests, are part of nature’s way to mitigate the damage and flooding caused by hurricanes. Unfortunately, warmer seas and rising sea levels now threaten the keys. (Image credit: L. Dauphin/USGS; via NASA Earth Observatory)

One comment
  1. Dr Rock

    I have been scuba diving in the FL keys for over 15yrs. The reefs are beautiful and the scuba diving some if the best- anywhere. Definitely.
    Unfortunately its constantly under assault by nitrogen and phosphorus.
    Coral bleaching occurs regularly and i see it all time. We haul up trash every time we dive. Keys are beautiful but definitely under stress

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