Scientists have found the remains of a huge coral reef in the middle of the desert

(ORDO NEWS) — Among the entire list of places where you do not expect to find a coral reef, the desert takes the first place.

However, it was there that scientists found the remains of an ancient coral reef, which is believed to be several million years old.

An international team of researchers has determined, using “high-resolution satellite imagery and field studies,” that Australia’s Nullarbor Plain – a hot, flat area with no discernible geological features – is in fact “a clear remnant of the original marine structure of millions of years.”

Nullarbor Valley find

Central to this fascinating study, published this summer in the journal Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, was the location of a “ring-shaped” hill hidden in plain sight and found on satellite imagery.

Field studies showed that the microbial remains found in situ were similar to microbial structures found not on land but underwater, a discovery confirming that the Nullarbor Plain was once covered by a tropical ocean some 14 million years ago.

“The ring-shaped ‘hill’ cannot be explained by extraterrestrial influence or any known deformation processes.

But it retains the original microbial textures and features commonly found in today’s Great Barrier Reef, ” study co-author Milo Barham, a geologist, said in a press release.

Scientists have found the remains of a huge coral reef in the middle of the desert 2
Nullarbor Valley

Large old fossil

According to the researchers, the Nullarbor Plain is a particularly fertile place for geological research, as it has been relatively untouched by erosion. So, in a sense, the entire region is one giant fossil.

Unlike many parts of the world, large areas of the Nullarbor Plain have remained virtually unchanged under the influence of weathering and erosion over millions of years, making it a unique geological canvas that captures ancient history in amazing ways. Barham added.

These features, combined with the millions of years of landscape that scientists are now studying, effectively make the Nullarbor Plain a kind of “time capsule” and allow for a fascinating deeper understanding of the history of the Earth.

It looks like this Australian desert was once home to a vast underwater ecosystem – a powerful reminder of how much our Earth has changed over the millennia.


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