Sediments flowing into the bay from the Río Cauto have built up an impressive delta and even helped bury a reef.
About one-quarter of the planet’s marine species depend on the food and shelter provided by tropical coral reefs—habitat that spans just one percent of the ocean floor. You can find almost 8 percent those reefs growing in Caribbean Sea, including this one visible near the southern coast of Cuba.
The image was acquired on January 14, 2020, with the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8. The reef, known as the Gran Banco de Buena Esperanza, has grown into an elaborate structure, sustaining coral species that have adapted to the Gulf of Guacanayabo’s turbid, muddy environment.
Gran Banco de Buena Esperanza spans 25 by 40 kilometers of the central part of the bay. The reef’s pattern is “reticulate”—that is, the corals have grown into a maze-like network of ridges with interspersed with ponds and channels.
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Image via NASA Earth Observatory