Tuesday, July 28, 2009

If you were an ocean, I'd learn to float: Tanah Merah Shore 25/7 (I)

On a bright and early Saturday morning... okay scratch that, on a DARK and REALLY early Saturday morning, 4AM:
(this is the view outside my window)

i crawled up, looking forward, to my first unguided intertidal trip to Tanah Merah shore. according to Kok Sheng, its the best mainland reef in Singapore. i just have to see it for myself

Firstly, some background info on the Tanah Merah area. "Merah" means "Red" in malay, and Tenah Merah was once famous for its red lateritic cliffs.

okay, dont get all worked up over the word "lateritic", it simply means weathered material rich in aluminium and iron. Thus, giving it a reddish tinge. The cliffs, i suppose, are now gone, after massive reclamation occured in the early 1970s. what a pity ):

sometimes development really compromises the natural environment, and unfortunately for singapore, natural landscapes are often placed behind development, due to the Brown Agenda that Singapore adopts. I.e. the government is more concerned with end-of-the-pipe pollution monitoring, instead of conservation.

nevertheless, the reclaimed shore is still brimming with life:

Like these flat heads, a black one and a BW stripped one. i love how they are so placid. unlike some of the other gan-chiong fishes which totally freaked out when we walked a little closer.

we also saw this very very very cute Sweetlip fish. it looks sleepy! im dedicating this picture to the Sweet Leaf karin (:This is one of the very gan-jiong fishes im talking about - a Flat Fish (note different from Flathead). go a little closer to it and it will swim away, rather violently.

And this is a Rabbitfish. its very much alive, i assure you, for it is submerged in the shallow water. however, it attempted to kill itself a couple of times. and we had to nudged it back into the water, and it would violently swim out again. it happened like... 6 times.

'Rabbitfish'- the name makes it sound pretty harmless. however, the spines on the fins contain venomous glands that will sting if touched. its a defensive tool instead of an offensive one, as they are herbivores.

The shore is literally covered with these Creeper Snails, i tried to avoid stepping on them but to no avail. Liana also showed me these very beautiful Dubious Nerite Snails (yes thats their real name DUBIOUS huh) :

they are so incredibly tiny! i thought that they were simply larger grains of sediments. however, if you noticed, each individual snail has different markings on its shell.

This is an orange Moonsnail, so pretty!

This is an Acorn Worm (up). it 'eats' the sediments and extracts the organic materials in the sediments and later passes the rest of the sediments out (down).

This is a Fan Worm when its closed up. And when it is opens, it looks like this:

and another Fan worm of different color, incredible arent they. i used to think that all worms are gross till i saw them.

and there is my favourite, the Peanut Worm:

they are burrowing creatures, and here is an example of a kaypo worm poking out to the surface:

we later saw a whole bunch of different crabs on the shore, most which i cannot identify. like these:

hahaha look at their eyes!

and this is a Moon Crab:

and a very fierce Flower Crab which tried to giap Liana:

its amazing isnt it. that all these could be seen on a reclaimed shore, filled with litter:

(i cant write a proper post without commenting on the rubbish i see) and notice those black dots around the rubbish? they are really the Creeper Snails i mentioned above.

this post is getting a little long hahahaa.
stay tuned for the next one, on the anemones and other critters that we spotted (or at least they spotted HAHAHA). and also the physical geography factors behind it all! This is only the beginning!!! (:

Love, serene!

Special Thanks to: Koksheng for organising this trip, Liana, James and Ivan for company (:
Special Thanks to: Ria for helping me figure out what is wrong with my blogger dashboard!!!

On a completely unrelated note, ive started a rock collection. my friends who went travelling picked up many many rocks for me along the way. and after every post, i'll talk a little bit about one of them.

so the first candidate:

this is a volcanic rock and it came from Mt Ruapehu in New Zealand. Serchung picked it up for me when he was there for some army training thing (a very convenient valentine's day present).


okay anyways, Mt Ruapehu is a very active stratovolcano. Its eruptions are explosive in nature, very much UNLIKE those in Hawaii, which eruptions are more subdue. an example of an eruption at Mt Ruapehu:

(source: http://www.craigpottongallery.com/gallery)

the lava (magma = molten rock under the earth's surface, lava = molten rock on the earth's surface), is Andesitic in nature. Andesitic, meaning it has marine mineral influence, as the mt ruapehu is form when the Oceanic crust subducts under a less dense oceanic crust.

This process injects the ocean water into the molten rock (magma) mixture and when the molten mixture comes up to the surface during an eruption, it cools to form the rock i have.

did i lose you guys there? (i think jiayi just fainted). a diagram wld be good here:

(source: USGS)

This process is still taking place today. as one plate continues subducting under the other. it has been taking place over millions and millions of years. HAHA and i have a bit of that history sitting on my desk right now. (:

i love plate tectonics and i promise there will be more of such stuff to come.

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