A team of international scientists discovered almost accidentally the presence of a massive underwater landslide that shook the Great Barrier Reef area in Australia. They found evidence of the cataclysm they were trying to build a 3D map of the deep sea area surrounding the Great Barrier Reef.
They revealed that the gigantic landslide occurred beneath the Great Barrier Reef. They suspect that the event happened after a major earthquake shook Earth 300 million years ago.
This massive structure that was formed afterwards surprised the scientists when they found that it had around 30 times the volume of Uluru, the massive monolith sandstone that formed around 550 million years ago. This is one of the seven major undersea landslides that have been recently discovered. The scientists called it the Gloria Knolls Slide.
The scientists that worked on the study of the Southern Oceans were from Australia, Spain, and Scotland. Robin Beaman, researcher at the James Cook University, spoke to the Australian Broadcasting Company and admitted that the formation that resulted was 30 times bigger than Uluru. Also, it traveled around 20 miles from its initial location.
After performing several computer simulations, they found that this landslide unleashed a massive tsunami which grew higher than a building with eight floors.
Scientists had found remnants of this cataclysmic event even before. The first discovery occurred in 2007 off the coast of Innisfail when, after closely exploring the bottom of the ocean, they found many large blocks of land lying there.
It took them many expeditions and studies until they could map the entire surface of the land propelled in the slide. It appears that quite a huge block of land was detached from the Australian continent and then spread on the bottom of the ocean. They analyzed the fossils and they could confirm that they were about 300 million years old.
Now, given the harsh conditions where the bits of land were found, one would expect they would be barren and devoid of life forms. Surprisingly, they found that corals were swarming on the structure. Life is abundant on the Gloria Knolls even at the low temperature of 4 degrees Celsius and the constant darkness that surrounds it.
The structure can be found 30 kilometers outwards from the Great Barrier Reef. This discovery can help scientists learn more about the geological events that occurred millions of years ago.
Image Source: Flickr