Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Zealand - Waters and Seabed of Fiordland (Te Moana O Atawhenua)

Awe-inspiring no matter what the weather, Milford Sound is seen here at dusk with the silhouette of iconic Mitre Peak (centre).

Sent by Jeanette from New Zealand. Thanks for the beautiful 100 Years of Maori Rugby stamp.

Most of the 15 fiords of Fiordland are 200-300 m deep, usually with a pronounced shallower ‘lip' near the mouth of the fiord, indicating ‘over-deepening' by the glacial ice. The longer fiords reach back into the heart of the mountains of Fiordland National Park; the head of Hall Arm, for instance, is 40 km from the mouth of Doubtful Sound.

The marine environment of Fiordland is quite different from the rest of New Zealand. The deeply indented coastline has given rise to two contrasting marine environments:
(a) the wild, exposed outer coastline, with typical west coast New Zealand marine community and zonation patterns, and the preferred breeding habitat for fur seals and a wide range of ocean birds such as petrels, prions, shearwaters and penguins; and
(b) the sheltered, steep-walled fiords, which have a total shoreline length of nearly 1000 km, depths up to 420 m, and a unique inversion of usual patterns of coastal marine life. (Source)

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