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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

Narrowing the employee divide

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Companies are narrowing the blue- and white-collar experience as they're forced to adapt to a worker-led market.

Driving the news: Basic office tools and concepts like corporate communications and schedule flexibility are migrating to frontline operations through investments in technology.

51 mins ago - Health

U.S. to buy 500 million more Pfizer doses to share with the world

A nurse fills a syringe with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

The Biden administration is planning to purchase 500 million more Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine doses to donate to the world, officials said in an op-ed Wednesday.

Why it matters: The move represents a big step toward making the U.S. a major global vaccine supplier just as China has ramped up exports of its Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino vaccines, which can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures.

D.C.'s building boom grinds to a halt

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The decades-long building boom that remade Washington D.C. is screeching to a halt, undone by broader construction trends and the legacy of the post-pandemic workplace.

Why it matters: Dizzying construction has reshaped the city, reinvigorated downtown and created bustling new communities.