Aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef in December, 2017.
  • A coral reef taller than the Empire State Building has become the first to be discovered in 120 years in the Great Barrier Reef. 
  • The reef was first discovered by Australian scientists aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel, Falkor.
  • It is only the eighth detached reef to be mapped since the late 19th century, The Independent reported.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

A coral reef taller than the Empire State Building has been discovered in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. 

Standing at 500 metres, it is located at the North end of the Great Barrier Reef and is also taller than the Eiffel Tower which is 324m tall, and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which measure 452m.

The reef was discovered by a team of scientists from James Cook University on a year-long mapping exploration of the sea surrounding Australia aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute's research vessel, Falkor.

The Institute, which was founded by Eric Schmidt, the former Executive Chairman of Google, and his businesswoman wife, Wendy Schmidt, sent a robot called SuBastian underwater to explore on Monday, The Telegraph reported.

SuBastian's underwater exploration was live-streamed on the Schmidt Ocean Institute's website and YouTube channel

Dr. Robin Beaman, a marine geologist who led the team said in a press release: "We are surprised and elated by what we have found. To not only 3D map the reef in detail, but also visually see this discovery with SuBastian is incredible.

"This has only been made possible by the commitment of Schmidt Ocean Institute to grant ship time to Australia's scientists."

The maps which the team has created will be available through AusSeabed, a national Australian seabed mapping program, and will also contribute to the Nippon Foundation GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project, the press release added.

The reef is located around 80km east of Cape Grenville, which is roughly 150km south of the tip of Cape York on the east coast of Queensland, according to ABC News.

Its base is 1.5km long and at its highest point, the reef is around 127ft below the ocean surface.

It is only the eighth detached reef to be mapped since the late 19th century, including the one at Raine Island which is the world's most important green sea turtle nesting area, The Independent reported.

Wendy Schmidt, Co-Founder of the Schmidt Ocean Institute said in the same press release: "This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our Ocean.

"The state of our knowledge about what's in the ocean has long been so limited. Thanks to new technologies that work as our eyes, ears and hands in the deep ocean, we have the capacity to explore like never before.

"New oceanscapes are opening to us, revealing the ecosystems and diverse life forms that share the planet with us."

Read the original article on Insider

Receive a daily news update on your cellphone Or get the best of our site emailed to you.

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.