500 metre tall Coral Reef discovered in Australia Great Barrier Reef
The scientists have discovered a massive detached coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. It is the first to be discovered in 120 years. The reef is taller than the Empire State Building of the United States.
The reef was discovered by the Australian Scientists from the Schmidt Ocean Institute. They were on an exploration in the Falkor vessel around Australia. The team was conducting underwater mapping of the Great Barrier Reef Seafloor.
About the reef
The base of the blade like reef is 1.5 km wide. Only 40 metres of the reef is under the sea surface. The newly discovered reef adds to the seven other tall detached reefs in the world. This includes the Raine Island. Raine Island is the most important Green Sea Turtle nesting area in the world. The marine ecosystem on the top of the newly discovered detached reefs are more vibrant than the rest.
What are Detached reefs?
Detached reefs are the reefs that are bedded to the ocean floor but are not a part of the main body of the Great Barrier Reef. With the newly discovered detached reef, there are totally eight detached reef.
The newly found detached reef has great potential for the new species to evolve. This is because there is lot of deep water between this reef and the next coral community. Several new species have already been discovered during the project. A 45-metre long Siphonophore has been found. Siphonophore is a colonial organism that comprises of zooids. Zooids are multicellular organisms that allow the colony to float, reproduce, reproduce and move through water.
It is the underwater robot that is being deployed by the team in the newly discovered reef. The robot has a remotely controlled arm to collect samples for identification.
Why is the discovery significant?
Most corals are found in shallow waters that are less than five metres deep. Deep water corals are rare and a very few deep water corals have broader depth range as that of the newly discovered coral.