IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Coral reef taller than Eiffel Tower found in Australia

31st October, 2020 Environment

Context: A 500-metre-tall coral reef discovered by Australian scientists, off Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

  • It was the first detached reef of that size to be discovered in over 120 years and that it was thriving with a “blizzard of fish” in a healthy ecosystem
  • It lies 40 metres below the ocean surface and about six kilometres from the edge of Great Barrier Reef.
  • The discovery comes after a study earlier this month found the Great Barrier Reef had lost more than half its coral in the last three decades.
  • Using the underwater robot known as SuBastian, the scientists filmed their exploration of the new reef.

Great Barrier Reef

  • The Great Barrier Reef runs 2,300 km down Australia's northeast coast spanning an area half the size of Texas.
  • It was world heritage listed in 1981 by UNESCO as the most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem on the planet.

Coral reef:

  • A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals.
  • Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate.
  • Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups.
  • “Main types" of coral reef are the fringing reef, barrier reef, atoll, "bank or platform reef" and patch reef.
  • Coral reefs deliver ecosystem services to tourism, fisheries and coastline protection.

Coral bleaching: