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Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Disrupted

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Disrupted

Image source: flickr.com/photos/boedker

The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the largest coral reef expanse in the world.

With almost 3000 different reef systems, it includes more than 900 islands that are home to countless marine life and thousands of other living species, some of which are endangered.

It is now also housing some unexpected, intrusive guests.

Last week, 2 U.S. military aircraft had to drop 4 inactive bombs close to the Great Barrier Reef area.

The emergency drop occurred during a military training exercise that went on longer than planned, and the in flight jets were in danger of running out of fuel. In order to safely land, their on board bombs which weighed about 500 pounds apiece, had to be let go.

It was scheduled to have them dropped on a range, however that target spot was not able to be cleared and after many attempts to end the expedition pilots had to make the decision to release them. The aborted load from the Marine aircraft contained 2 inactive bombs, and the other 2 were explosives that had been neutralized before they were released. They reportedly did not detonate during their underwater impact.

They were dropped in a vast spot as far away from the Reef as possible in an effort to avert direct damage and was also said to be out of the way of other ships that may have to pass through. However, this occurred in an area that is located within the Reef’s World Heritage location. The Reef is on their extensive protective watch list.

Though unintentional, the tremendous human impact to this delicate and complex region is unknown. The U.S. Navy is currently considering what the next measures to take are.

Explore the natural wonder of the reef, courtesy of the Travel Channel, which is so expansive and full of life that it can even be viewed from space.

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