500-Meter-high coral reef discovered in the great barrier reef

500-meter-high coral reef discovered in the great barrier reef

Marine scientists have discovered a huge, free-standing coral reef in australia’s world-famous great barrier reef for the first time in 120 years.

The reef is more than 500 meters high – higher than the empire state building in new york or the petronas towers in kuala lumpur, the schmidt ocean institute foundation announced on monday. Scientists on the research vessel "falkor", which is on a twelve-month voyage to explore the ocean around australia, discovered the reef a week ago and explored it during a dive broadcast live on the internet on sunday, it said.

The coral reef is 1.5 kilometers wide at its base and lies 40 meters below the sea surface at its uppermost point. The region has previously been home to 18 species since the late 1800s. Seven freestanding coral reefs have been discovered and surveyed in the twenty-first century, the foundation says.

"This unexpected discovery confirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our oceans," said wendy schmidt, co-founder of the schmidt ocean institute. "Our knowledge of what is in the ocean has long been so limited. Thanks to new technologies that act as our eyes, ears and hands in the depths of the sea, we have the ability to explore like never before."

The great barrier reef is the world’s largest reef and covers an area of more than 344,000 square kilometers – making it coarser than italy. It is in particular danger from climate change: the united nations have warned in the past that 90 percent of all corals in the world could die off if global temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees.


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