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article imageAncient coral reef found in Tasman Sea

By Sarah Shannon     Sep 1, 2010 in Science
An ancient reef found in the South Pacific may help scientists determine how coral could be damaged if sea temperatures rise.
A team of researchers from Australia and New Zealand have discovered a 9,000-year-old reef off the coast of Lord Hawe Island, 600km east of Australia.
The island does have a small modern coral reef, the most southern in the world, but the ancient reef is more than thirty times the size of the new reef.
The team of scientists headed by Colin Woodroffe discovered a large ridge about 30m under water in the Tasman Sea and they suspected it may be an ancient reef but could not be certain until they collected coral samples. The samples taken confirmed it was coral and the team used radiocarbon dating to confirm its age.
Other reefs have been discovered but none as far south as the newly discovered. The team thinks that it died approximately 7,000 years ago after it was flooded due to rising sea levels.
The relict reef does not have a new reef attached to it, but it does have some modern corals dating back about 2,000 years ago.
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