Researchers discover 4,000-feet coral reef, submerged 14 million years ago in Australia's desert

Australia was surrounded by oceans and had rainforests millions of years ago, during the Cenozoic period

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, September 13, 2022, 03:45 PM IST
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Satellite image of coral reef in the Australian desert | Curtin University's School of Earth and Planetary Sciences

A 4,000-feet coral reef in Australia's desert was recently discovered by a team from Curtin University's School of Earth and Planetary Sciences in Perth using high-resolution satellite photography.

The reef was found in southern Australia's Nullarbor Plain, which has been transformed into a 76,000-square-mile desert with limestone bedrock.

Around 14 million years ago, the reef was thought to have been submerged beneath the sea the structure of the reef measures 3,950 to 4,250 feet in diameter.

Australia was surrounded by oceans and had rain forests millions of years ago, during the Cenozoic period, including the ocean that originally submerged the Nullarbor Plain.

Modern Australia has been mostly dry, with 18% of the nation being classed as desert, including the ocean that previously submerged the Nullarbor Plain.

Milo Barham geologist from Curtin University was quoted in Newsweek, "Unlike many parts of the world, large areas of the Nullarbor Plain have remained largely unchanged by weathering and erosion processes over millions of years, making it a unique geological canvas recording ancient history in remarkable ways."

"Through high-resolution satellite imagery and fieldwork we have identified the clear remnant of an original sea-bed structure preserved for millions of years, which is the first of this kind of landform discovered on the Nullarbor Plain" Barham said.

"These features, in conjunction with the millions of years old landscape features we have now identified, effectively make the Nullarbor Plain a land that time forgot and allow a fascinating deeper understanding of Earth's history" he said.

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