New Detached Reef!

At 10:00 on the 22nd of October, the crew on board the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s Falkor discovered and mapped a new Detached Reef. This new reef rises about 500 m in vertical height above the surrounding broad ledge. The reef is blade-like in plan view, with the shoal part of the reef (that part of reef shallower than 70 m depth) about 300 m long by 50 m wide. The shoal depth measured was 41.6 m, so with predicted tides of 1.6 m (Raine Island at 1000), results in a shoal depth of 40.0 m (vertical datum LAT).

This new reef is not a danger to navigation, but it is significant that one can still discover such tall reefs (~500 m high) in the far northern Great Barrier Reef, which speaks to the remoteness of the area and rarity of opportunities to map with modern technologies in such deeper waters. Looking at old charts from the 1800s, which first mapped these Detached Reefs, the Falkor’s discovery is the first new Detached Reef to be mapped in the Great Barrier Reef in over 120 years.