Coral Sea Facts

The Coral Sea is a marginal sea located in the South Pacific off the northeast coast of Australia. The sea lies between the Solomon Islands and New Guinea approximately 500 miles North East.

The Coral Sea covers an approximate area of 4,791,000 square miles with an average depth of 7,854 feet.  The Solomon Islands surrounds the sea on the North, the Tasman Sea on the South, the Queensland on its west and the Islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia on the east.

Unique Features-

  • The Great Barrier Reef which is the most significant barrier reef in the world is found in the Coral Sea.
  • The excellent reef barrier that is in the sea supports more than 2900 individual reefs.
  • At some point, the Coral Sea merges with the Pacific Ocean, Solomon Sea, and the Tasman Sea.
  • The Coral Sea is still forming due to the continuous Seismic activity.
  • Despite the drastic depletion of coral reefs around the world, the coral reefs found within the Coral Sea have not been affected and are still thriving.
  • The coral sea is a habitat to nearly 30 species of dolphins, whales, and porpoises
  • It is home to over six species of sea turtles such as the green sea turtle and the loggerhead sea turtle.
  • It is about 200 species of birds visit the shores of the coral sea.
  • Home to about 1500 species of fish and 17 sea snakes.
  • It supports more than 2000 species of plants.
  • The sea’s Australian shore is majorly comprised of land.

Physical Features

The Coral Sea supports the world’s famous coral reefs which are globally admired for their breathtaking view.  Here you will also enjoy seeing a wide variety of sea creatures including whales, the grey and white tip reef sharks, the tuna, the barracuda, the Manta rays among other sea creatures.

The Coral Sea is the home for the most substantial reef barrier being the Great Barrier Reef. The sea is mostly made of islands and reefs. These are particularly rich in aquatic and bird life.

Geographical extent

Australia claims the most substantial part of the Coral Sea to the extent of 78,000 square kilometers.  To understand, the extent of the Coral Sea, it has been said that the coral sea covers an area of about four times the size of Great Britain.

Historical Facts and Status

The sea was formed about around 58 million to 48 million years ago during the drifting of the continental shelf that formed the Great Dividing Range.

The history of the Coral Sea is characterized by the famous battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942. The war happened during the reign of the 32nd president of the United States of America; Franklin Roosevelt.  The battle was a naval war between Australia and the United States on the one hand and the Imperial Japanese Navy on the other.

The battle began on May 4, 1942, with the Japanese naval forces invading the Southern Tulagi islands.  In response, the United States sent three airstrikes against the Japanese invasion that led to the destruction of small Japanese ships.

The highlight of the war was on May 8, 1942, when the two opposite sides bombarded each other. The Japanese lost a total of 656 men while the US and its allies lost 966 men.

Although no side won the battle, this battle saved Australia in that it stopped the Japanese from invading Port Moresby in New Guinea. The Coral Sea has ultimately declared a territory of Australia in 1969.


  1. Name two benefits of the Coral reefs found in the Coral Sea?
  2. What is the origin of the name the Coral Sea?
  3. Name three human activities on the Coral Sea?


  1. Provide wildlife habitat and protect the coastline from heavy storms.
  2. The sea-derived its name from its rich coral formations.
  3. The most ancient human activities on the sea are navigation to this end the sea has over ten major ports. Other events are fishing and mining of petroleum deposits.