The Arafura Sea is in a continental shelf area located between western New Guinea and the northern part of Australia. Arafura Shelf appears to have been a low-relief land surface that had an used to have a desert like climate.To the north, it is bordered by the Tertiary collision zone between the Australian craton and the northern island arc. To the south the sea adjoins the stable Australian craton. The sea is also a host for numerous Indonesian islands in the region. Towards the east of the Arafura Sea forms a stable continental shelf which has suffered a little from some intense compressional events. Episodes of rifting and basin formation for the Arafura sea are recorded to be in Paleozoic and Mesozoic sequences.
The following are a few facts about the Arafura sea:
- Sea levels were so low during the last glacial maximum that the Arafura Shelf, the Gulf of Carpentaria, and the Torres Strait formed a large land bridge that connected Australia and New Guinea.
- During the time of that land bridge themigration of humans from Asia into Australia had a noticeable increase.
- The Arafura Sea is a generally shallow sea in the western Pacific Ocean that occupies about 250,000 square miles between the north coast of Australia, also known as the Gulf of Carpentaria, and the south coast of New Guinea.
- According to the IHO, or theInternational Hydrographic Organization, the Arafura Sea is defined as being one of the waters of the East Indian Archipelago.
- The Arafura sea has various depths with the more shallow of those depths being between 165 to 260 feet, deepening as is goes towards the western edge, this is the point where coral reefs have grown at depths close to 2,000 feet.
- The oceans depth of the Arafura Shelf exhibits depths of between 160 and 260 ft, but the deeper parts which can go down as far as 1,970 ft can occur at the edges.
- The saltiness of the Arafura Sea annually ranges from 34.2-34.8 in the deeper parts to the north to 34.2 to 35.0 on the Arafura Shelf.
- The Arafura Sea yields a little under 4 million metric tons of seafood annually.
- With marine ecosystems and fish stocks in a steady decline, the Arafura Sea stands out as one of the most abundant places to fish in the world.
The Arafura Sea holds many mysteries and there are still issues with illegal fishing going on. If this illegal trend continues, the numerous local communities who surround and depend on the Arafura Sea will face a number of obstacles in order to sustain their livelihoods and quality of life. Increasing their economic growth while maintaining an optimum environment quality are the primary challenges that need to be overcome for this region to grow economically. Along with the illegal fishing in the area there are threats of pollution being dumped into the sea from nearby areas. Luckily there is already a controversy from the local people trying to save their economy and to prevent the pollution of the Arafura sea.