Previously hidden by underwater sea mounds, researchers and deep sea divers have discovered an 85-mile-long coral reef off the coast of South Carolina after a 15 day expedition. This extensive and massive reef is estimated to be thousands of years old, making it even more astonishing that it was able to go unnoticed for such a long period of time on such a populated and well-researched coast.
The reefs are composed of Lophelia, a stony variation of coral that is commonly found off of the east coast. However, this discovery comes as a phenomena to researchers and scientists alike, seeing as most coral on the east coast is much more shallow and close to shore than this giant chain. Lophelia coral thrives in deep cold waters, most notably found at record-depths in the Gulf of Mexico.
This discovery also comes at a time where scientists and micro-biologists are learning that coral is much more resilient and adaptive to harsh conditions than previously accounted for, which is key during such a turbulent climate shift.
What a time to be alive!