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Scientists Discover Massive 3,600 Sq. Mile Coral Reef at Mouth of Amazon River that No One Knew Existed

There’s a giant 3,600 sq mile coral reef system that is boggling the minds of scientists, governments and oil companies alike. No, it’s not the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, it’s a newly discovered reef below the muddy water at the mouth of the Amazon river.

Discovered during a study by a large group of scientists, their findings are described in detail in their research paper on science advances.

Ranging anywhere from 30 to 120 meters deep, this bizarre discovery is bringing up many questions because coral reefs grow in clear saltwater with lots of sunlight – the water in the Amazon is the complete opposite of that.

Image: The Guardian

Image: The Guardian

The 600-mile long reef extends from French Guiana to Brazil’s Maranhão state. This was the last place anyone suspected they’d find such a sizable reef since many large rivers in the world produce no coral at all.

Due to some 80 blocks of the Amazon river being sold by the Brazilian government, the reef already appears to be under serious threat.

“These [exploration] blocks will soon be producing oil in close proximity to the reefs, but the environmental baseline compiled by the companies and the Brazilian government is … largely based on sparse museum specimens. Such large-scale industrial activities present a major environmental challenge,” said the study’s authors.

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