During the week of October 26th of 2020, Australian scientists found the detached coral reef which exceeds the height of the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower. It’s the first discovery of it’s kind in over 100 years and it’s HUGE! At just over one third of a mile tall and just under one mile wide.
The “Blade Shaped” reef lies about 131 feet below the surface of the ocean. How did this discovery come about? On October 20th of 2020, a team of scientists from James Cook University, led by Dr. Robin Beaman, were mapping the northern seafloor of the Great Barrier Reef on board the institute’s research vessel Falkor, when they made the discovery.
The reef was found thriving with a “blizzard of fish” in a healthy ecosystem according to Dr. Beaman. Using the underwater robot known as SuBastian, the scientists filmed their exploration of the new reef, collecting marine samples along the way, which will be archived and placed in the Queensland Museum and the Museum of Tropical Queensland.
The discovery comes after a study earlier in October of 2020 found the Great Barrier Reef had lost more than half its coral in the last three decades. Although the northern section of the Great Barrier Reef suffered from bleaching event in 2016, Dr. Beaman said this detached reef didn’t display any evidence of damage.
Since this reef is likely millions of years old, it may hold some vital information about the history of the coral reefs in the area. This information may be vital in helping us to better understand things like bleaching events and maybe even the factors that caused them before humans roamed the Earth.