Fossil Coral

Friday - 16/10/2020 13:01
On the ferry to Ly Son Island, one may be surprised to see a strip of white waves undulating a few hundred meters offshore. Or, taking a boat from Big Island to Little Island, you may notice that the boat does not go straight, but makes a big curve. Why is this so? Because between Big Island and Little Island the water is very shallow and full of reefs. The water in the surrounding area of the island is also shallow compared to the deeper water further offshore. Scientists call the white waves—waves caused by the friction of water with the sea floor, rushing in and then rushing out—the broken wave zone. This zone is important because it is home to coral reefs. 

Coral reefs are formed in colonies and they are very sensitive to environmental factors such as light, temperature, waves, currents, seabed’s depth, pollution, and sea water turbidity. They die out in areas that are too deep or too shallow, polluted, too hot or too cold, or other  environmental changes. Coral reefs play an important role in protecting islands from erosion. Coral reefs have developed around Ly Son for a long time, as they do around many tropical volcanic islands. 

Ly Son used to be a place of abundant coral reefs. Waves and tide have tossed up the remains of many species of corals on beach rocks on both Big Island and Little Island. However, on the east of Big Island, there was an even more interesting discovery. The recent construction of the port has lifted hundreds of very large concentric circular corals up to two meters in diameter and resembling a stone mill. Some geologists call these massive specimens Mill Coral and named the area the Mill Coral Cemetery.  Preliminary studies show that Mill Coral belong to the genus, Porites, which are hexacorallia corals.  Ly Son Island is the only place to date where one can find such large-sized Mill Corals along the coast of Vietnam. 
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