Australian scientists have discovered a coral reef over 500 meters high on the Great Barrier Reef.
According to the
Arc Center of Excellence Coral Reef Studies
, scientists found such a "gigantic" freestanding coral reef for the first time in 120 years.
The scientists found the reef during a 12-month expedition, it was announced Wednesday.
They mapped the seabed of the northern Great Barrier Reef with 3D images, for which an underwater robot (photo) was used.
The discovered freestanding reef, which the scientists compare to the blade of a knife, is more than 500 meters high.
In comparison, the Eiffel Tower is 324 meters high.
The bottom of the reef is 1.5 km wide and the top is only 40 meters below the sea surface.
The 3D model of the discovered reef. (Photo: Arc Center of Excellence Coral Reef Studies)
The 3D model of the discovered reef.
(Photo: Arc Center of Excellence Coral Reef Studies)
Other freestanding reefs were discovered in the nineteenth century
Seven other high freestanding reefs are known, all of which were discovered in the 1800s.
“Our knowledge of the ocean has long been so limited,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute, who was involved in the study.
"Thanks to new technologies that act as our eyes, ears and hands in the deep ocean, we can explore the ocean like never before."
The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef and the habitat of many endangered species, such as the green sea turtle.
According to scientists, half of the coral has died off due to climate change since the 1990s.
According to them, this causes an increase in the number of disturbances in the ecosystem, mainly in the form of heating of the seawater.
See also: Coral reefs worldwide in trouble due to climate change