coral reef
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
November 3, 2020 ·  2 min read

New coral reef taller than Eiffel Tower found off Australian coast

Good news for the Great Barrier Reef: Scientists discovered a detached coral reef taller than the Eiffel Tower, the first discovery like this in 100 years. (1)

A Coral Reef Taller Than the Eiffel Tower

To say this newly discovered coral reef is big is an understatement: It is nearly 500 meters tall and 1.5 kilometers wide. This makes it a coral reef taller than the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building. The reef is located 40 meters under the ocean’s surface and about six kilometers from the Great Barrier Reef’s edge. (1)

The reef was discovered by a team of scientists from James Cook University who were mapping the northern sea floor of the Great Barrier Reef. The group were happily surprised, and it’s easy to see why: (1)

This is the first detached reef of this size to be discovered in over 120 years. What’s better is that the reef was teeming with life, with plenty of fish swimming around and feeding in a very healthy ecosystem. (2)

Underwater Robot Exploration

The scientists used SuBastian, an underwater robot, to explore this new reef. They filmed it, collected samples, and built a 3D map in order to learn more about the reef. (1)

They’ve found that while it is near the Great Barrier Reef, it is not connected at all. Embedded into the ocean floor, the researchers estimate that it is around 20 million years old. (2)

“It’s a big reef not to have known about,” expedition leader Tom Bridge explains. “What it highlights is how little we know about a lot of the ocean, even the Great Barrier Reef. The marine park is 344,000 square kilometers—bigger than many European countries—and only about six or seven percent of that is typical shallow-water reefs.” (2)

A Coral Reef Taller Than the Eiffel Tower is Good News for the Ocean

This is amazing news for the Great Barrier Reef, which has been struggling in the last decade due to climate change and the warming of the ocean. In 2016, the warm waters caused the coral to experience bleaching. The Australian reef famous for its stunning array of colors calcified and turned white. This new tall reef shows no signs of bleaching whatsoever. (1)

The Great Barrier Reef provided homes and food for hundreds of species of sea life. This new reef is a great find because it provides the necessities of life for plants and animals that otherwise would have been lost. (2)

Samples of the new reef will be archived and put in the Queensland Museum and the Tropical Museum of Queensland. (1)

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