STS029-152-36
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Image Caption: The blue and turquoise Great Bahama Banks. Deep blue water is several thousand feet deep, whereas turquoise water is a few tens of feet deep to awash at low tide. The Banks were built at the same time as the Florida Peninsula, as Earth's crust sank gradually. The Banks are made entirely of calcium carbonate sediment; all the sand represents either fragments of shells, or grains precipitated from sea water [sort of like kidney stones]. Irregular shapes of the banks are the net result of random patterns of reef growth, sediment piles, tidal currents, and winds over geological time. The Atlantic and the gates of Europe at 39 degrees