Sunday, February 12, 2017

A great discovery near the Great Barrier Reef.

8 February 2017

The Gloria Knolls Slide (click here) is at least 300,000 years old and 32 cubic km in volume, or 30 times the size of Uluru, a rock landmark in central Australia.

The landslide could also have triggered a tsunami, the international team says.

The scientists said debris from the landslide, found as deep as 1,350m (4,430ft) below the sea, also provided clues about hidden marine life.

The team made the discovery while conducting three-dimensional mapping of ancient reefs in the Queensland Trough, a vast basin adjoining the Great Barrier Reef....

...The researchers found deep marine life including cold-water corals, molluscs and barnacles were thriving on the knolls.

The corals, unlike their shallow reef counterparts, could survive in 4C temperatures with no sunlight, Dr Beaman said.

He said possibilities for future research were exciting.

"That really is the next frontier," he said.

"We probably have a bit of an idea of what's living up to 200m or 300m [deep], but beyond that, very few people have done much work in this area."

The research was a collaboration between James Cook University, University of Sydney, University of Granada, University of Edinburgh and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.