Great Barrier Reef is actually much larger than previously thought

Great Barrier Reef is actually much larger than previously thought

Scientists have found that the Great Barrier Reef is in reality quite bigger than previously thought. They have discovered another reef present just North of the Great Barrier Reef. The recently found reef is located deep underneath the water surface and possesses a field of huge doughnut-shaped structures.

A research team, including scientists from James Cook University, Queensland University of Technology, and University of Sydney, has used LiDAR data from the Australian Navy for better mapping the area in a better way.

In a press release, Robin Beaman, marine geologist at James Cook University, said, “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”.

The newly found reef is composed of bioherms, circular mounds consisting of green algae known asHalimeda that calcifies upon death and makes limestone flakes that build up with the passage of time.

While speaking to the German news service Deutsche Presse-Agentur, Beaman said that what they have discovered deep behind the Great Barrier Reef has left them stunned.

In the last 10,000-years the Halimeda has resulted into a huge reef covering 2,353 square miles spanned over from Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea to Port Douglas’north in Australia. The size is thrice the size estimated in the past.

While speaking to the Australian ABC News, the research paper’s main author, Mardi McNeil, from Queensland University of Technology, said thatHalimeda makes such fields of donut-shaped structures, at times in the shape of singular circular rings, often in groups of three or four. He mentioned that the shallowest structures are present 20 to 50 meters under the water surface, due to which only some people, including scuba divers, have ever spotted the reef previously.


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