Scientists Discover Coral Reef Taller Than A Skyscraper In Great Barrier Reef
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is rightfully famous and while some of the coral here has been damaged, this new discovery is amazing.
Australian scientists aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor have made an incredible discovery. While undertaking a 12-month exploration of Australia’s surrounding ocean, they came across a wonder. They found a 500-meter (1,640 ft), detached coral reef, which is taller than the Sydney Tower, Empire State Building, or the Petronas Twin Towers. With reports that the Great Barrier Reef is being severely damaged, this is a magical find indeed.
Amazing Discovery On The Great Barrier Reef
It was on October 20 that the scientific team on the Falkor was conducting an underway mapping of the northern Great Barrier Reef seafloor. On October 25, they conducted a live-streamed dive to explore the new reef, using the institute’s underwater robot, SuBastian.
The new reef is described as a blade-like reef, 1.5 km-wide (1-mi) and rising 500 meters (1,640 ft) to its shallowest depth of a mere 40 meters (131 ft) below the ocean’s surface. The newly discovered detached reef is added to another seven tall detached reefs in the area mapped since the late 1800s.
The powerful combination of underwater imagery and mapping data will be used by the scientists to understand the new reef and its role within the Great Barrier Reef. Maps created by the experts on this voyage will be available via AusSeaBed, a national Australian seabed mapping program.
Unknown Structures And New Species Being Discovered
Wendy Schmidt is the co-founder of Schmidt Ocean Institute. She said recently in a statement that the unexpected discovery “affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our ocean.”
“The state of our knowledge about what’s in the ocean has long been so limited. Thanks to new technologies that work as our eyes, ears, and hands in the deep ocean, we have the capacity to explore like never before. New oceanscapes are opening to us, revealing the ecosystems and diverse life forms that share the planet with us.”
A video showing the find can be enjoyed here.
About The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia. It is the world’s largest coral reef system comprising some 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands. This stretches over 2,300 km (1,429 mi) over an area of approximately 344,400 sq km (214,000 sq mi). Within the expanse is a unique range of ecological communities, species, and habitats.
This World Heritage site welcomes more than 1.5 million visitors each year to explore the coastline and expansive reefs. A variety of ways are available to experience this wonderfully rich ecosystem, including not only diving and snorkeling but also sailing and scenic flights. Along the way, visitors can also explore the reef’s gateway towns and the stunning, offshore islands.
It should be noted, however, that Australia is unlikely to reopen its borders for international visitors until the end of 2021. This works both ways, as Australians are mostly unable to travel overseas, but will be free to explore local wonders. In the meantime, make a note of this wonderful World Heritage site for future visits.