Coral Reef Discovered ‘Down Under’ by Schmidt Ocean Institute


Photo by Francesco Ungaro on Unsplash

NOT a photo of Australia reef.

Rachel Fleagle, Staff Writer

A 1,640-foot reef has been discovered only several miles from Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and scientists are exploring it and collecting samples.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders, with marine life and thousands of oceanic structures.

According to the Schmidt Institute’s site, it has been 120 years since a discovery like this detached reef has been found. James Cook University’s Dr. Robin Beaman was on a year-long exploration of the ocean area when the team discovered the reef on October 20, about four miles long and 131 feet from the surface

The Institute used an underwater robot, SuBastian, to do a full live-streamed reef tour on October 25. They are currently using the robot to collect samples and have already created a 3D map.

“Imagine if you took the Grand Canyon and added on the Niagara Falls – times two – and then flooded that with seawater and stuck a coral reef on top,” said Queensland University Marine Geoscientist Mardi McNeil in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Schmidt Ocean Institute is a non-profit that does extensive oceanic exploration, and was founded by Eric Schmidt and his wife, Wendy. Before his current position, Schmidt ran the Google company.

The four-hour livestream, which highlights some of the reef’s sea life and structures, can be viewed here.