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Schmidt Ocean Institute announced on October 26th that scientists have discovered a huge detached coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef. The coral reef measures more than 500 meter high, making it taller than the Empire State Building, the Sydney Tower and Petronas Twin Towers.
The reef was discovered on October 20th this year by Australian scientists onboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor. A team of researchers led by Dr. Robin Beaman, from James Cook University, found the reef while on a 12 months exploration of the ocean surrounding Australia and conducting underwater mapping of the Northern Great Barrier Reef seafloor.
This is really good news since the reef is thriving with a “blizzard of fish”, which means it is a healthy ecosystem. The scientists filmed their exploration of the new reef using the underwater robot known as SuBastian. They also collected marine samples on the way. This reef doesn’t display any evidence of damage according to Dr. Beaman, unlike the northerns section of the Great Barrier Reef. Beside lots of reef living fish SuBastian found corals, sponges, three different kinds of sharks and many more marine life forms.
A press release from Schmidt Ocean Institute tells us that this newly discovered reef has a base measuring 1,5 kilometers wide. It rises 500 meters to its shallowest depth of merely 40 meters below the sea surface. The reef adds to the seven other detached reefs in the surrounding area.
In the press release, Dr. Jyotika Virmani, executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute said:
“To find a new half-a-kilometer tall reef in the offshore Cape York area of the well-recognized Great Barrier Reef shows how mysterious the world is just beyond our coastline. This powerful combination of mapping data and underwater imagery will be used to understand this new reef and its role within the incredible Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.”