Thursday, December 17, 2009

Remains of Giant Clam on Tropical Rainforest of Manokwari West Papua

Could the Table Mountain of Manokwari of West Papua be a coral reef park several thousand or even million years ago? I and my friend Paul Werere, an indigenous Papuan, made a short trip to a tropical rainforest located some five hundred meters at the back of my house. The locals here call it Table Mountain. There we found remains of giant clam shell (Tridacna gigas) and elkhorn shaped corals scattered around the mountain which are at 50 to 70 meters vertically measured above the sea surface. We also saw crabs swimming in the pond of spring water with physical appearances similar to their brothers that live among the mangrove forest. But we were not at the beach. We were on the mountain that is covered with large trees whose diameters range from 50 centimeters to 1.5 meters.
There have to be some explanations for why coral reef thrived in an area of a mountain far and high from the sea. The distance to the current beach is around 1 kilometer.
The first explanation will be that the ancestors of Papuan people might have taken the giant clams from the sea and ate them on the mountain. But this might not be true due to the existance of other corals that were not edible. The remains of hard corals and various large and tiny shells can still be found on this mountain.
The second explanation is that the corals and the giant clams had been swept away to the land by a giant wave or tsunami. While this answer might be possible, there has to be a maximum line where the giant wave had reached and stopped. Usually the line could be indicated by a long row of stones, corals, and other earth materials which had been carried into the land by the waves. So far we have not found such row of coral remains.
Then the third answer is that yes, the region used to be under the sea level. It means today's Manokwari town was under the sea level. Due to tectonic movements, the earth layers along the Table Mountain and the Northern Coastal Region of Papua island has been greatly pressed to emerge from the sea. That was how the mountain range along the northern coast of Papua had been formed. It could happen some several million years ago. Who knows?
Well while we are still guessing why this coral reef park thrived in this Table Mountain, I want to invite you to come to this forest to watch the birds singing and dancing, and to breath in the fresh air it produces while exploring the ancient coral reef without having to wear diving gear. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua