An ancient and rare coral reef has been discovered at an unprecedented depth near Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands.
Ecuador’s environmental ministry shared the discovery on Monday April 17.
Scientists had believed that the Galapagos only had one coral reef, which survived warm weather events like El Niño.
The recent expedition proved otherwise, showing a reef with almost half of it still alive and thriving.
It was discovered on the edge of a submerged volcano, roughly 400 meters deep, which is unusual for a coral reef, and spans about two kilometers.
The environment in which the reef grew qualifies it as cold water coral since it is particularly adaptable to cold and deep conditions, according to senior researcher, Stuart Banks.
“We haven’t found such extensive and developed coral reefs in this depth. They are, at least, thousands of years old or more. And they are in an original state,” Banks told Reuters.
Scientist hope the recent discovery will lead to new coral conservation measures.