In what is a major discovery, the newest coral reef is taller than most skyscrapers.
The latest news we got from the Great Barrier Reef was that bleaching had halved the number of its corals. That’s not good.
However, this newest discovery in the waters off North Queensland by ocean research organization Schmidt Ocean Institute is much, much better news. And with only 5% of the world’s oceans having been explored, this is an incredible find. (Featured image: @sampower123)
The newest coral reef to be discovered in 120 years is 500 metres in height and 1.5km wide at its razor-like base, and was found on 20 October when scientists were carrying out an underwater mapping of the seafloor of the northern Great Barrier Reef.
Speaking of the discovery, which was aided by an underwater robot named SuBastian, co-founder of Schmidt Ocean Institute Wendy Schmidt has said that “this unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our ocean.”
“The state of our knowledge about what’s in the ocean has long been so limited. 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. New oceanscapes are opening to us, revealing the ecosystems and diverse life forms that share the planet with us.”
In the area of the discovery, there are other tall detached reefs including the reef at Raine Island, approximately 620 kilometres northwest of Cairns, which is a significant green turtle nesting site. How significant? Drone footage released by the Queensland government earlier in the year showed us this image. Looks pretty significant to us.
Not only is the Great Barrier Reef home to 1500 fish species and 411 coral species and, in the words of David Attenborough, “one of the greatest and most splendid natural treasures that the world possesses”, it is also worth $6.4 billion to the Australian economy as according to Deloitte.
Even more substantially, the iconic value of the Great Barrier Reef is a whopping $56 billion.