The Great Barrier Reef in Australia has suffered from the climate crisis and more threats to its integrity from economic exploitation. So the scientific community received the discovery made by the Schmidt Ocean Institute as a breath of hope: its team of scientists found a 500-meter-high coral reef – the first in more than 120 years.
First seen on the 20th, during the underwater mapping of the seabed north of the Great Barrier Reef, it began to be explored by a team led by marine geologist Robin Beaman of Australia’s James Cook University.
From the research ship Falkor (currently on a 12-month exploration of the ocean around Australia), scientists investigated the huge reef through an underwater robot, in a nearly three-hour dive.
The reef, whose base is 1.5 kilometers wide, rises 500 meters until it is 40 meters below sea level. It is part of a set with seven similar reefs, mapped since the late 1800s.
Extinction in 25 years
The Great Australian Barrier Reef, an immense coral reef with 3,000 reefs, 2,200 km long and ranging from 30 km to 740 km, can be seen from space – it is the largest structure in the world made solely by living organisms .
Home to 400 species of coral, 1,500 fish and 4,000 mollusks, since the 1990s the barrier has been affected by the climate crisis, which has been causing its deterioration. A study published in October in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Journal showed that half of the Australian Great Barrier reefs have died in the past 25 years.