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Coral reef taller than Eiffel Tower discovered in Australia

Date: 30 October 2020 Tags: Biodiversity

Issue
Australian scientists found a detached coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef that exceeds the height of the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower.

 

Background

A team of scientists were mapping the northern seafloor of the Great Barrier Reef on board the institutes research vessel Falkor, when they found the reef.

 

Details

  • Researchers say the reef is around 1.5 kilometres (almost a mile) wide at its base, and that it rises to within 40 metres (131 feet) of the surface of the water.

  • Initial photography suggests that the natural phenomenon is home to an abundance of sponges, net-like sea fans, and soft corals.

  • The discovery comes after a study earlier this month found the Great Barrier Reef had lost more than half its coral in the last three decades.

  • Using the underwater robot known as SuBastian, the scientists filmed their exploration of the new reef, collecting marine samples on the way.

  • Although the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef suffered from bleaching in 2016, this detached reef didn't display any evidence of damage.

  • The Great Barrier Reef runs 2,300 km down Australia's northeast coast spanning an area half the size of Texas.

  • It was world heritage listed in 1981 by UNESCO as the most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem on the planet.