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33. Columbus Reef, Belize Coast
This April 1984 photograph taken with the 250-mm lens shows the Columbus Reef that parallels the coast of Belize in the Caribbean Sea. This reef is used as a geological model for the ancient reef complexes that ringed the ocean basins to 50 degrees north and south. (These reef complexes are often sought for petroleum reservoirs.) The reef forms a natural breakwater to the coastal plain. Coral will grow only in waters above 21 degrees C and thrives in the shallow Caribbean waters of the continental shelf at this location, 17.5 degrees north of the equator. A stretch of approximately 80 kilometers of reef is viewed in this shuttle scene. The Glover Reef, farther to the west, can be seen on the right margin of the frame.
STS-41C, April 1984. Picture #13-35-1536