European Wilderness Society

Massive coral reef discovered in Australia

Even though modern science has explored land, sea and even outer space, there are still a few secrets hiding in this world. One of the amazing recent discoveries is a gigantic coral reef in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The scientist who made the discovery were, of course, very pleasantly surprised. In the recent light of coral bleaching and biodiversity loss, finding a new vibrant coral reef is a miracle. Hopefully, the depths of the ocean hide many more pleasant surprises.

Coral reef taller than the Empire State Building

The new coral reef was first found on 20th of October 2020 in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It was spotted by a team of scientists, led by Dr. Robin Beaman from James Cook University, who were conducting an underwater seafloor mapping. This reef is the first one to be discovered in more than 120 years. Further investigation of the coral reef’s shape and biodiversity was filmed and live streamed on Youtube.

So far, the scientists found out that the new coral reef is 500 meters tall. That means it is taller than the Eiffel Tower (324 m), the Empire State Building (381 m to the top floor) or the Sydney Tower (305 m). It is detached from the main coral reef and has a “blade-like” base which is about 1.5 kilometres wide. Its shallowest depth is 40 meters below the ocean surface.

Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Ocean Institute, has said that these new discoveries are possible thanks to modern technologies. In this case, the scientists used an underwater robot named SuBastian. It served as eyes, ears and hands of scientists in the deep ocean. Wendy Schmidt stressed that thanks to these technologies, the scientists have capacities to explore the unknown oceanscapes and find life forms that we have never imagined before.

To find a new half-a-kilometer tall reef in the offshore Cape York area of the well-recognized Great Barrier Reef shows how mysterious the world is just beyond our coastline.

Dr. Jyotika Virmani
Executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute

Coral reefs are under threat

The discovery of new reef is good news for biodiversity enthusiasts. The coral reefs are the most important biodiversity hot spots in the marine environments. The Great Barrier Reef homes more than 1500 species of fish, 411 species of hard corals and thousands of other species.

Unfortunately, the coral reefs around the world are disappearing. Due to increased stress from rising ocean water temperatures and acidity, almost 50% of all reef populations worldwide have died in the last thirty years. Hopefully, the new coral reef will become a marine protected area. So far, too little marine areas are being protected and areas free of commercial fishing basically do not exist. Since marine environments are very interconnected, a global approach towards ocean protection should be adopted.

Please Leave a Comment