The Schmidt Ocean Institute reported this week that Australian scientists found a detached coral reef on the Great Barrier Reef that is taller than the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower, the first such finding in over a century.
According to the Schmidt Institute, which was created by ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy, the “blade-like” reef is over 500 meters tall and 1.5 kilometers broad. That’s almost as tall as the CN Tower’s antenna, which stands at 553 meters.
The reef is 40 meters below sea level and about six kilometers from the Great Barrier Reef’s edge.
On Oct. 20, a group of James Cook University scientists led by Robin Beaman were surveying the northern seafloor of the Great Barrier Reef on board the institute’s research vessel Falkor when they discovered the reef. “What we’ve found has shocked and thrilled us,” Beaman added.
On October 20th, scientists with the #EdgeGBR expedition uncovered a new detached reef to be added to the #GreatBarrierReef. The reef is 500m high, taller than the Eiffel Tower. #OzOceans2020 #NewReefGBR #KeepExploring #NewDiscovery pic.twitter.com/oiu0tVPe5B
— Schmidt Ocean (@SchmidtOcean) October 25, 2020
The reef is about six kilometers from the Great Barrier Reef’s edge and is 40 meters below the water’s surface.
On Oct. 20, a group of James Cook University scientists led by Robin Beaman were surveying the northern seafloor of the Great Barrier Reef aboard the institute’s research vessel Falkor when they found the reef. “What we’ve found has surprised and thrilled us,” Beaman added.
WATCH – Scientists investigate a massive new reef that has been uncovered.
He said it was the only detached reef of that magnitude discovered in over 120 years, and that it was thriving in a healthy environment with a “blizzard of fish.”
The revelation follows the announcement earlier this month that the Great Barrier Reef had lost more than half of its coral in the previous three decades, according to a study.
The scientists videotaped their investigation of the new reef using the underwater robot SuBastian, collecting marine samples along the way that will be preserved and displayed at the Queensland Museum and the Museum of Tropical Queensland.
“It’s wonderful to be able to not only 3D map the reef in depth, but also visually witness this finding using SuBastian,” Beaman said.
Despite the fact that the northern portion of the Great Barrier Reef was bleached in 2016, Beaman stated this disconnected reef showed no signs of harm.
When the water becomes too warm, coral is forced to expel live algae, causing it to calcify and turn white.
— Schmidt Ocean (@SchmidtOcean) October 26, 2020
The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches 2,300 kilometers (1,429 miles) down Australia’s northeast coast and covers an area half the size of Texas, is the world’s largest coral reef. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 as the world’s most extensive and beautiful coral reef ecosystem.