Debanjan Mar 20, 2021 5:51:00 PM 5 min read

Coral Reef Taller Than Empire State Building Discovered in Australia

A “huge” isolated coral reef has been found in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Having a height of 1,640 feet this reef happens to be taller as compared to the Empire State Building located in the US.

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Huge coral reef discovered

This reef was discovered by researchers off North Queensland while they were onboard the Falkor, the research vessel of the Schmidt Ocean Institute. An underwater robot called SuBastian was employed by them for discovering the reef which happens to be the first isolated reef located in the Great Barrier Reef in excess of 120 years. The reason why it is termed as a separate reef is due to the fact that it doesn’t sit on the shelf of the Great Barrier Reef. 

Scientists first discovered the reef on 20th October 2020 while they had been conducting the seafloor’s underwater mapping.  They returned after several days for exploring the new reef and they brought the robot along with them. The dive was streamed live by them.

Isolated reefs

Robin Beaman, who is from James Cook University and also the main investigator, said that they always understood the fact that the Great Barrier Reef had been mapped poorly in the waters of the Marine Park and that they had built up to it for several days. 

He further added that while passing over the region for the first time, they comprehended that its depth was much less than expected. They crept over it very carefully which was similar to climbing a mountain. One would be able to see this in full 3 dimensions on the screens while they had been mapping, and it went on rising more and more. It was really fascinating.

According to the researchers, the reef is similar to a blade. They said that its width is 0.9 miles, its highest point is 1,640 feet, and its shallowest depth is 131 feet beneath the surface of the sea. By comparison, the height of the Empire State Building is 1,250 feet.

Seven other tall and isolated reefs have been mapped in this area since the later part of the 19th century which includes the reef located at Raine Island which happens to be a spot where the green sea turtles reside.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef, which covers an area of 133,000 square miles, is the largest coral reef on the planet. It consists of 600 continental islands, 3,000 coral reefs, 150 mangrove islands, along with 300 coral cays. This reef provides shelter to in excess of 1,625 fish species, 133 types of rays and sharks, 600 types of corals, over 30 species of dolphins and whales, as well as many more species.

However, this particular reef is in great danger. As per a study which was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society journal in the month of October, 50% of the coral population of the reef has been lost during the last 25 years. According to researchers, this trend is going to continue unless and until drastic measures are taken for minimizing the effects of climatic change. 

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