Australia / Scientists have discovered a coral reef taller than the Empire State Building

Australia / Scientists have discovered a coral reef taller than the Empire State Building

Scientists have discovered a 500-meter-high reef at the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, which is taller than the Empire State Building in New York or the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. This is the first such discovery in 120 years, the BBC News website reported on Wednesday.

Scientists found the structure last week near Cape York - Australia's northernmost cape.

Tom Bridge of James Cook University, the expedition's lead investigator, said in a statement that the base of the "blade-like" reef is 1.5 kilometres wide. At its highest point, the structure is 500 meters high and only 40 meters below the sea.

A team aboard a California-based research vessel owned by the California-based Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI) used a robot known as SuBastian to investigate the reef to broadcast the discovery on the internet.

"Finding a new reef half a kilometre high in the Cape York region of the well-known Great Barrier Reef shows just how mysterious the world just beyond our coastline is," said SOI Executive Director Dr. Jyotika Virmani.

According to scientists, the reef is the first of its kind discovered in this area since the end of the 19th century. There are known to be seven other tall reefs there.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to over 1,500 species of fish and 411 species of coral. In 1981 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. (PAP)