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A plane flies over the Great Barrier Reef, at Queensland, Australia, on Oct. 10. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Scientists have discovered a 1,600-foot-tall detached coral reef at Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The shoal of coral that's taller than New York City's Empire State Building is the first detached reef to be found in more than 120 years.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
  • Per a statement from Tom Bridge, a principal investigator on the expedition from James Cook University, "We know more about the surface of the moon than we know about what lies in the depths beyond our coastlines."
  • Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of the nonprofit Schmidt Ocean Institute, noted in a statement, "This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our Ocean."

Between the lines: A "detached" reef is bedded to the ocean floor, rather than part of the main body of a wider reef system.

The big picture: Scientists found the reef off the coast of Far North Queensland on Oct. 20 during a 12-month mapping project of the oceans of Australia. Researchers used an underwater robot Sunday to explore the find.

  • The "blade-like" reef is estimated to be 20 million years old at its deepest part.
  • "This newly discovered detached reef adds to the seven other tall detached reefs in the area—all otherwise mapped in the late 1800s," Bridge said.

For the record: The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem in the world.

  • A study published earlier this month found the World Heritage-listed has lost over half of its coral populations in the past three decades because of ocean warming.

What's next: Scientists will continue to investigate and map the depths of the northern Great Barrier Reef until mid-November.

Go deeper

Republican Sen. Sasse slams Nebraska GOP for "weird worship" of Trump after state party rebuke

Sen. Ben Sasse, (R-Neb.) Photo: Andrew Harnik - Pool/Getty Images

The Nebraska Republican Party on Saturday formally "rebuked" Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for his vote to impeach former President Trump earlier this year, though it stopped short of a formal censure, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Sasse is the latest among a slate of Republicans who have faced some sort of punishment from their state party apparatus after voting to impeach the former president. The senator responded statement Saturday, per the Omaha World-Herald, saying "most Nebraskans don't think politics should be about the weird worship of one dude."

Cuomo barraged by fellow Dems after second harassment accusation

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faced a barrage of criticism from fellow Democrats after The New York Times reported that the second former aide in four days had accused him of sexual harassment.

Why it matters: Cuomo had faced a revolt from legislators for his handling of nursing-home deaths from COVID. Now, the scandal is acutely personal, with obviously grave political risk.

3 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Children "very likely" to get COVID vaccine at start of 2022

NIAID Director Anthony Fauci. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Children under age 12 will "very likely" be able to get vaccinated for coronavirus at the "earliest the end of the year, and very likely the first quarter of 2022," NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told "Meet the Press" Sunday.

Why it matters: Children generally aren't at risk of serious coronavirus infections, but vaccinating them will be key to protecting the adults around them and, eventually, reaching herd immunity, writes Axios' Caitlin Owens.