Nature & Environment
Hidden reef found behind Great Barrier Reef
By T.K. Randall
September 1, 2016 · 8 comments
The newly discovered reef is absolutely enormous. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Toby Hudson
Scientists have revealed the discovery of a whole new reef structure off the coast of Australia.
Covering an area of over 2,300 square miles, this gargantuan reef-like structure had managed to go almost completely unnoticed despite being right next to the world's largest coral reef system.
Using cutting-edge scanning technology, researchers have identified vast fields of strange doughnut-shaped mounds called bioherms which are formed by a type of calcifying algae known as Halimeda.
"We've known about these geological structures in the northern Great Barrier Reef since the 1970s and '80s, but never before has the true nature of their shape, size and vast scale been revealed," said marine geologist Robin Beaman from James Cook University.
The discovery coincides with what may be the single worst year on record for the Great Barrier Reef which has been in rapid decline due to the effects of global warming.
Whether the bioherms have themselves been similarly affected however remains to be seen.
| Comments (8)