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Green algal reefs off Kinmen become tourist attraction

2019/03/20 19:27:59

Photo courtesy of ecological observer Hung Ching-chang (洪清漳)

Taipei, March 20 (CNA) A large patch of green algal reefs recently discovered off the coast of Nanshantou on Little Kinmen, a tiny islet to the west of offshore Kinmen County, has become a tourist attraction.

Nanshantou is known for its unique natural basalt coastal landscape.

Basalt is a very common dark-colored volcanic rock composition rich in magnesium, iron and silica. It comes in a variety of colors including red, yellow and brown, according to local ecological observer Hung Ching-chang (洪清漳).

The surface of basalt can be modified to some extent by weathering, but hard rocks tend to resist weathering and erosion better than softer sedimentary rock, resulting in the instantly recognizable "grooved" surface of basalt formations, Hung said.

Around March and April every year, two of the best-known marine green alga species -- ulva and enteromorpha -- flourish on the surface of the reefs, forming an amazing coastal view, Hung said.

The resulting tidal creeks are home to abundant marine species such as sponges, tube-dwelling marine invertebrates, shellfish, corals, sea cucumbers and plankton, said Chung Li-wei (鐘立偉), chief of the agriculture and forestry section at the Kinmen County government's Economic Affairs Department.

(By Huang Huei-min and Evelyn Kao)