A newly discovered detached coral reef in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is so massive that it is taller than the Empire State Building. This discovery in the Great Barrier Reef is very significant as it is the first one that’s been found in about the last 120 years.
The gigantic blade-like coral mount was discovered off the coast of Cape York on October 20th by researchers from the United States and Australia who are on board the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel called “Falkor” during a 12-month project exploring Australia’s waters. The exceptionally tall reef measures a whopping 1,640 feet in height, its tip is only 131 feet below the surface of the water, and it has a base that stretches about 0.9 miles wide.
To put its height into better perspective, the Empire State Building in New York measures 1,240 feet, while the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia are each 1,483 feet tall, and The Shard in London reaches a height of 1,016 feet. Even the Eiffel Tower in France is shorter at 1,063 feet.
The towering coral reef grew separately from the flat one that’s located to its west. There are seven other tall detached reefs that are not too far from each other and that includes the one at Raine Island.
After finding the latest coral reef, the team of researchers decided to put a high-resolution robot in the water in order to get better footage of it and SuBastian (the robot from the Schmidt Ocean Institute) did not disappoint. (Several pictures can be seen here.)
The Schmidt Ocean Institute has been making headlines over the past year with several other important underwater discoveries. In February of this year, they discovered deep sea coral gardens as well as graveyards in Bremer Canyon Marine Park. Then in August, they discovered five new species of black coral and sponges in addition to recording rare scorpionfish in the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef Marine Parks.
And back in April, they found a 150-foot-long siphonophore in Ningaloo Canyon – the longest sea creature that’s ever been recorded. In addition to that, they also discovered 30 new underwater species.
Wendy Schmidt, who is the co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, stated, “This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our ocean,” adding, “Thanks to new technologies that work as our eyes, ears and hands in the deep ocean, we have the capacity to explore like never before.”