Corals Flourish at ''Nuked'' Atoll

Corals Flourish at ''Nuked'' Atoll
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April 15, 2008—Huge colonies of Porites coral growing up to 26 feet (8 meters) high flourish in the Bravo Crater in the Marshall Islands' Bikini Atoll in this undated photograph.

A recent international survey of the 1.2-mile-wide (2-kilometer-wide) crater, created in 1954 by the impact of the most powerful atom bomb ever detonated by the U.S., shows that some coral species have bounced back.

"It was awesome to see coral cover as high as 80 percent and large treelike branching formations with trunks 30 centimeters (11 inches) thick," Zoe Richards of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies said in a statement.

However, 42 species of corals never recovered from the devastating event, which vaporized nearby islands and raised water temperatures to 55,000 degrees Celsius (99,000 degrees Fahrenheit).

The team's report recently appeared in Elsevier's Marine Pollution Bulletin.

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—Photograph courtesy ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
 
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