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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

Updated 19 mins ago - Politics & Policy

House sends anti-Asian hate crimes bill to Biden's desk

Asian Coalition of Massachusetts organizer Fiona Phie takes a moment of silence after placing an offering among flowers, candles and incense to honor those who have experienced violent anti-Asian hate crimes. Photo: Erin Clark/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The House voted 364-62 on Tuesday to pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act and send it to President Biden's desk, who has said he will sign the measure into law.

Why it matters: Introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), the bill is Congress' first substantial effort to address the rise of anti-Asian hate this past year, which has included stabbings, sexual assault and elder abuse.

Feds investigating alleged scheme to illegally finance Collins’ re-election bid

Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: SARAH SILBIGER / Getty Images

The FBI is investigating what it describes as a massive scheme to illegally finance Sen. Susan Collins' 2020 reelection bid, Axios has learned.

What's happening: A recently unsealed search warrant application shows the FBI believes a Hawaii defense contractor illegally funneled $150,000 to a pro-Collins super PAC and reimbursed donations to Collins' campaign. There's no indication that Collins or her team were aware of any of it.

Mapped: Confederate monuments over time

Data: Southern Poverty Law Center; Note: There are some monuments with unknown dedication dates and they are not represented in the bar chart; Map: Michelle McGhee/Axios