World News – GB – Scientists discover reef higher than Empire State Building at Great Barrier Reef


This is the first large detached reef found in the area since the late 19th century when seven more were discovered over a 150 km stretch of ocean Photograph: iStock

Australian scientists have discovered a detached reef over 500m tall – taller than the Empire State Building – at the northern end of the Great Barrier Reef

The vertical blade-shaped reef about 130 km off Cape York in the northeastern tip of Australia was discovered during a 3D seabed mapping exercise conducted from ‘a vessel owned by the Californian nonprofit Schmidt Ocean Institute

Tom Bridge, of the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University and the expedition’s lead researcher, said the reef was 15 km wide at its base and rose from half a kilometer to less than 40 meters from the surface

This is the first large detached reef discovered in the region since the late 19th century, when seven more were discovered over a 150 km stretch of ocean, said Mr. Bridge

On October 20, scientists from the #EdgeGBR expedition discovered a new detached reef to add to the #GreatBarrierReef The reef is 500m tall, higher than the Eiffel Tower # OzOceans2020 #NewReefGBR #KeepExploring #NewDiscovery picTwittercom / oiu0tVPe5B

« What this shows is how little we know about much of the ocean, even the Great Barrier Reef The marine park is 344,000 km2 – larger than many European countries – and only about 6 or 7 percent of these are typical shallow water reefs

« We know more about the surface of the moon than what lies in the depths beyond our shores »

Detached reefs lie on the ocean floor off the continental shelf but are not part of the main body of the Great Barrier Reef

The newly discovered reef does not appear to contain many hard corals in its upper part, but has « an incredible abundance » of sponges, gorgonians and soft corals, suggesting that the area is rich in nutrients carried by strong currents and upwelling deep water

M Bridge said the camera of the underwater robot used to explore the reef showed it was home to many reef fish, including tiny hatchet and silvertip, and gray reef sharks

Video of the robot’s discovery, known as SuBastian, was streamed live and posted to YouTube

« Not only mapping the reef in detail in 3D, but also seeing this discovery with SuBastian is amazing, » said expedition leader Rob Beaman.

Discovery will likely lead to years of study The Schmidt Ocean Institute’s ship, the Falkor, is on a year of exploring the oceans surrounding Australia Scientists on the ship plan to continue mapping the north of the Great Barrier Reef until the middle of next month

The institute said earlier discoveries from the trip included what is believed to be the longest recorded sea creature, a 45m siphonophore, in a canyon off the coast of Ningaloo in northern Western Australia He said he had potentially found dozens of species yet to be described, including black coral, sponges and lionfish–Guardian

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Coral reef, Great Barrier Reef, Empire State Building, Australia

News from around the world – GB – Scientists discover reef higher than Empire State Building at Great Barrier Reef



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