Special Sub-Topic: Paradise Lost?
|The beautiful white sandy beaches of the Maldive Islands sit in the Indian Ocean with the closest landmass being India. Which body of water separates India and The Maldives?|
Laccadive Sea. The Maldives is situated approximately 400 kilometres southwest from the great landmass of India. Consisting of a ring of 26 atolls and 1,190 islands, the warm waters surrounding the islands are a hive of activity for marine wildlife. Tourists flock to the area by their thousands for diving and water sports.
|Although there is limited wildlife to be found on the islands as a food source, what is found in abundance to compensate for this?|
Prolific marine life. The waters of this country are filled with edible fish life, particularly that of tuna. Tuna fishing in fact is one of the industries that keep this country economically healthy. Rare species of sea life can also be found in the Maldives, and the country boasts an amazing array of 2,000 different species of fish.
|To the nearest thousand, how many coral islands does the Maldives possess?|
1,000. 1,190 to be exact. These can be found spread over an area of 90,000 square kilometres. The various atolls in which these islands are located are made up of coral reefs and sand bars. The reefs protect the islands from violent weather which can spring up over the Indian ocean.
|Is it true that the Maldives is the lowest country in the world?|
Yes. The highest level above the ocean in this country is only a frightening 2.3 metres. On average though, the country is only 1.5 metres above sea level. Man-made areas are being constructed in various places to increase the height over sea level even further. Even so, with thoughts of king tides and other freaks of nature dancing in our heads, the country is at risk should the weather turn violent.
|As is the wont in many other island nations, what prevents rich vegetation growing close to the beaches in the Maldives?|
Very salty sand. The top level of soil in the Maldives is only 15 centimetres thick. Below this lies a level of sandstone. Sand rests on top of this, and then the top layer of soil. Sadly though, very high levels of salt permeate the beach sand of the islands. This prevents beautiful large palms trees growing, and the beach vegetation is usually made up of small flowering shrubs only. Only by going inland can richer vegetation be found.
|In 1998, almost two-thirds of the beautiful coral reefs in the nation of the Maldives were destroyed by which phenomenon?|
El Nino. El Nino caused a condition known as coral bleaching to the reefs. It also raised the temperature of the surrounding water by five degrees. Following this disaster, scientists put electric cones 20-60 feet below the surface of the ocean. These attracted coral larva. As a result, and thankfully, the coral reefs began regenerating at an astonishing rate.
|When visiting the Maldives, what are Baa, Raa and Thaa?|
Atolls. The word atoll derives from the Maldivian word "atholhu". The Maldives have 26 administrative atolls and each has an official name and code name. The code name is a letter taken from the Dhivehi language and is popular with tourists as they are easy to understand. For example, the official name for the Thaa Atoll is Kolhumadulu, Raa Atoll is North Maalhosmadulu and Baa Atoll is South Maalhosmadulu.
|Which natural disaster had a major affect on the Maldives and its people at the end of 2004?|
Tsunami. An earthquake in the Indian Ocean near Sumatra, Indonesia, bought tsunami waves to unsuspecting residents and visitors on 26th December 2004. Countries that were affected include Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the Maldives. In total, over 200,000 people died and out of those, 82 people were from the Maldives with 26 people from the islands still not accounted for. It was only small number in comparison to other nations but still devastating for those who lost friends and loved ones.
|Hukuru Miskiy is an ancient mosque in the Maldivian capital city of Malé. What is the mosque constructed of?|
Coral. Hukuru Miskiy is otherwise known as the "Friday Mosque". Completed in 1658 for the Sultan of the Maldives, the mosque also features a minaret constructed of coral stone. Intricate carvings feature on the coral stone tombstones and these are unique and unlike any other design in the world. The modern day mosque is still used for spiritual prayer and also a quiet place for students to study before their exams.
|The environment and ecology of the Maldives is threatened due to an unprecedented growth in tourism and the effects of climate change. Which one of these is most hazardous to the islands?|
Rising sea levels. Will it soon be paradise lost? Sea levels have risen approximately 20cms in the last century due to global warming. This has caused much concern for the people of the Maldives as the ground above sea level on the islands only reaches an average height of 1.5 metres. The president and his cabinet have come up with many ideas, even including the drastic measure of purchasing land and moving people off the islands to nearby Sri Lanka and India. Money made through tourism would pay for rehoming the islanders.
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