Rocas Atoll

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Rocas Atoll
Native name: Atol das Rocas
Atol das Rocas lighthouse.jpg
Ruins of the old lighthouse, with the new lighthouse in the background
Location Rocas Atoll.png
Geography
Location Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates 03°52′S 33°49′W / 3.867°S 33.817°W / -3.867; -33.817Coordinates: 03°52′S 33°49′W / 3.867°S 33.817°W / -3.867; -33.817
Archipelago Atol das Rocas
Total islands 2
Major islands Farol; Cemitério
Area 0.36 km2 (0.14 sq mi)
Country
Region Northeast
State Rio Grande do Norte
Demographics
Population uninhabited
Additional information
Official name: Brazilian Atlantic Islands: Fernando de Noronha and Atol das Rocas Reserves
Type: Natural
Criteria: vii, ix, x
Designated: 2001 (25th session)
Reference No. 1000
State Party: Brazil
Region: Latin America and the Caribbean

The Rocas Atoll (Portuguese: Atol das Rocas) is the only atoll in the South Atlantic Ocean,[1] belonging to the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Norte. It is located approximately 260 km (160 mi) northeast of Natal and 145 km (90 mi) west of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago. The atoll is of volcanic origin and coralline formation.

Description[edit]

The oval atoll is 3.7 kilometres (2.3 mi) long and 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) wide. The lagoon is up to 6 metres (20 ft) deep and has an area of 7.1 square kilometres (2.7 sq mi). The land area of the two islets (Cemitério Island, southwest and Farol Cay, northwest) is 0.36 square kilometres (89 acres). Farol Cay accounts for almost two thirds of the aggregate area. The highest point is a sand dune in the south of larger Farol Cay, with a height of 6 metres (20 ft). Both islets are overgrown with grasses, bushes and a few palm trees. The population consists of crabs, spiders, scorpions, sand fleas, beetles, large roaches, and many species of birds.

There is a lighthouse of the Brazilian Navy that has been in operation and maintained since the 1960s, at the Northern end of Farol Bay. In its vicinity is a derelict lighthouse from 1933.

The atoll is a wildlife sanctuary, and in 2001 was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Numerous turtles, sharks, dolphins and birds live in the area. The atoll consists mainly of coral and red algae. The coral ring is almost closed, with a 200 metres (660 ft) wide channel on the North side and a much narrower channel on the West side.

A biological reserve, it is currently used solely for scientific research. Due to their remote location, the islands remain largely undisturbed by human activities. On the other hand, the remoteness also limits researchers' access to the islands and few studies have been developed on this atoll. The entomological fauna from Atol das Rocas was already recorded.[2]

Pop culture[edit]

The atoll was the site of a missile attack on a Cobra satellite communications tracking station and robotics storage center, in the G.I. Joe comic title from Marvel Comics.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Amado-Filho, G. M.; et al. (2012-09-17), "The mesophotic zone of the only South Atlantic Atoll is dominated byrhodolith beds", in Aguirre, Julio, IV International Rhodolith Workshop, Granada, Spain: Universidad de Granada, Facultad de Ciencias, pp. 10–11 
  2. ^ Almeida CE, Marchon-Silva V V, Ribeiro R, Serpa-Filho A, Almeida JR, Costa J. 2000. Entomological fauna from Reserva Biológica do Atol das Rocas, RN, Brazil: I. Morphospecies composition. Rev Bras Biol. 60(2):291-298.
  3. ^ Trimpe, Herb (1991). "Double Trouble", G.I. Joe A Real American Hero, Vol. 1, No. 119.

External links[edit]