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The Coral Sea is a marginal sea off the north-east coast of Australia. It is bounded in the west by the east coast of Queenslandmarker, thereby including the Great Barrier Reefmarker, in the east by Vanuatumarker (formerly the New Hebridesmarker) and by New Caledoniamarker, and in the north approximately by the southern extremity of the Solomon Islandsmarker. South of it is the Tasman Seamarker.

Map showing the location of the Coral Sea.

While the Great Barrier Reefmarker with its islands and cays belong to Queensland, most reefs and islets east of it are part of the Coral Sea Islands Territorymarker. In addition, some islands west of and belonging to New Caledoniamarker are also part of the Coral Sea Islands in a geographical sense, such as the Chesterfield Islandsmarker and Bellona Reefs.

The Coral Sea Basin was formed between 58 million - 48 million years ago because the Queensland continental shelf was uplifted, forming the Great Dividing Rangemarker, and continental blocks subsided at the same time.

The Coral Sea is ecologically an important source of coral for the Great Barrier Reefmarker, both during its formation and after sea level lowering.


The sea was the location for a major confrontation at the time of World War II between the navies of Australia, the Empire of Japanmarker, and the United Statesmarker.

See also

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Further reading

  • —article on 2009 documentary, Mysteries of the Shark Coast, part of a "greater plan to extend the boundaries of the Great Barrier Reef to the Coral Sea [the Osprey Reef] and, in turn, protect the [grey reef and whitetip] sharks that call this region home."

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