Coral Reef Taller Than Empire State Building Discovered in Australia's Great Barrier Reef

The reef is located off the coast of North Queensland, in the area around Cape York. Seven other detached reefs have been discovered in this region since the late 1800s

great barrier reef
Peter Bischoff/Getty Images

An enormous, 1,600-foot-tall coral reef was discovered in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, scientists announced Monday, in the first such find in more than a century.

The massive underwater structure — the first newfound reef in 120 years — dwarfs iconic skyscrapers such as New York City’s Empire State Building and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, NBC News reports.

The detached reef was first observed Oct. 20 by a team of Australian scientists aboard a research vessel from the Schmidt Ocean Institute, a nonprofit foundation that supports marine research. The 12-month expedition is designed to explore the oceans surrounding Australia and map the seafloor around the northern Great Barrier Reef.

“This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our ocean,” Wendy Schmidt, the institute’s co-founder, said in a statement.

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