Geologist unearths coral reef fossils in Ladakh Himalayas

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Source: The post is based on the article “Geologist unearths coral reef fossils in Ladakh Himalayas” published in “Deccan Herald” on 23rd October 2023

What is the News?

Geologists have discovered coral reef fossils in the Burtse region, Eastern Ladakh.

What is the significance of the discovery of coral reef fossils in Ladakh?

Coral reefs are often associated with tropical, shallow waters.

They are the last thing one expects to find in the Himalayan region of Ladakh which is known for its rugged mountains and high-altitude terrain.

However, this discovery of coral reef fossils in the Burtse area of Ladakh provides information on the region’s ancient underwater world and biodiversity.

It suggests that Ladakh may have been home to vibrant marine life, coral reefs and beaches in the past.

What are Corals?

Corals are marine invertebrates or animals which do not possess a spine.They are the largest living structures on the planet.

Corals have a symbiotic relationship with microscopic algae called zooxanthellae that live in their tissues.These algae are the coral’s primary food source and give them their color.

Types of Corals:

Hard corals: They are also known as scleractinian and stony coral.They produce a rigid skeleton made of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) in crystal form called aragonite.

– They are the primary reef-building corals.Hard corals that form reefs are called hermatypic corals.

Soft corals: They are also known as Alcyonacea and ahermatypic coral.They do not produce a rigid calcium carbonate skeleton and do not form reefs, though they are present in reef ecosystems.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest and longest coral reef system. It is located in Australia. 

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