Researchers working with the Royal Australian Navy have discovered an extensive reef system behind the famous Great Barrier Reef, mapping a huge network of donut-shaped features that measure between 650 and 984 feet across.
The formations are called bioherms, and were made by a type of algae called halimeda. Shaped like donuts, the structures can be as deep as 33 feet in their center.
Weve known about these geological structures in the northern Great Barrier Reef since the 1970s and 80s, but never before has the true nature of their shape, size and vast scale been revealed, Robin Beaman, a researcher with James Cook University in Queensland, Australia, said in a statement.
Beaman is also a coauthor on a new study about the fascinating formations, which was published in the journal Coral Reefs.
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