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Extensive Relict Coral Reef Discovered In South Pacific
By Matt J. Weiss, September 2, 2010 @ 12:56 AM (EST)
Source: BBC
A team of scientists from Australia and New Zealand have located the remains of an extensive coral reef in 65-80 feet of water around Lord Howe Island off the east coast of Australia.  With the help of sonar and core sampling, it’s estimated that this was a thriving reef system approximately 7,000-9,000 years ago.  They believe the reef was drowned by an abrupt sea level rise, which shrunk it in size by about 30%.

Today, coral reefs are generally found in shallow water near the equator.  This reef lies further south.  Researchers have found more recent coral growth, approximately 2,000 years old, attached to the relict reef.   Rising sea temperatures contribute to coral death in reefs in warmer waters closer to the equator.  The presence of the newer growth on this relict reef leads to the belief that as sea temperatures rise, we could see new reef growth in areas further north and south.

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