World's Longest Artificial Reef Under Construction in Mexico

by , 06/09/14
filed under: Conservation, News, Water Issues

Mexico, Quintana Roo, Puerto Morelos, Cancun, world's longest artificial reef, artificial reef, Kan-Kanán, man-made reefs, coastal erosion, marine life, reef destruction, reef rehabilitation, Guarding Serpent

The world’s longest artificial reef is under construction off the coast of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The Kan-Kanán project will be 1.9 kilometers (1.18 miles) long upon completion and will help protect the area’s fragile coastal environment and restore valuable habitat for marine life. Once completed, it will be longer than the Brooklyn Bridge and support an estimated 13,000 species.

The project is located in the Caribbean, near the town of Puerto Morelos on the east coast of Mexico, just south of Cancun. The area is home to the second longest barrier reef in the world, but the health of the reef has been in decline due to the effects of human activity and climate change. Erosion and habitat destruction have also become major issues along this stretch of coastline as extreme tropical weather has combined with waterfront development. When completed, the artificial reef will snake along the shore, giving rise to its Mayan name Kan-Kanán, which translates as the Guarding Serpent.

Related: Artist Jason deCaires Taylor Builds an Incredible Coral Reef from Sunken Statues

The project has involved a team of over 100 environmentalists, divers, architects and engineers. More than 1,000 hollow concrete pyramids, each weighing 10 tons, are being craned into placed offshore to rest on a base of concrete and microsilica. The perforated design of the pyramids has been carefully considered to encourage a diversity of marine creatures to take up residence.

The new artificial reef will provide erosion protection for the shoreline, as well as restore declining marine populations. It is a complement to the nearby coastal regeneration project the Underwater Museum of Art, which placed hundreds of concrete sculptures underwater off the coast of Cancun, many resembling members of the local community.

Via Discovery and The Mexico News Network

Photos by The Mexico News Network

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