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Between Queensland and the Reef

Between Australia's Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef the ocean reflects sunlight back to space according to what is in or on or under the water. The 27 October 2019 Landsat 8 image above and the much larger one it links to show patterns of sediment, sun-glint, and phytoplankton moved by wind, waves, and tide around the offshore islands. Telltale yellowish streaks suggest the presence of nitrogen-fixing Trichodesmium slicks floating at the ocean's surface. Massive shallow carbonate platforms built by tiny coral polyps shine through the relatively clear waters overlying the reefs just beyond the portion of the image displayed above.


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