Coral reef discovered off Greenland

Date: January 30, 2014

Source: EarthSky

By sheer coincidence, researchers have discovered a reef of living cold-water corals in southern Greenland. The reef is located in southwest Greenland and was formed by cold-water corals with hard limestone skeletons. There are several species of coral in Greenland, but this is the first time that an actual reef has been found.

Photo credit: Technical Institute of Denmark

The reef was discovered by accident when a Canadian research vessel needed to take some water samples. When the ship sent the measuring instruments down to a depth of 900 meters, they came back up completely smashed. Fortunately there were several pieces of broken coral branches on the instrument that showed what was responsible.

In the tropics, reefs are popular tourist destination for divers, but there is little prospect of this reef becoming a diving hotspot. The Greenland reef, located off Cape Desolation, lies at a depth of 900 meters (about half a mile) in a spot with very strong currents, making it difficult to reach. So far, little is known about the reef itself and what lives on it.

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