Ancient coral reef over 4,000ft wide is found hiding in plain sight in a vast Australian desert after being preserved for millions of years

62195203-11192833-image-a-11_1662628929029An ancient coral reef preserved for millions of years has been discovered hiding in plain sight in a vast Australian desert. The Nullarbor Plain in southern Australia is now an extremely flat and almost featureless expanse of limestone bedrock that extends over 600 miles.But it once contained a vast, prehistoric ocean that led to the formation of the coral when the Plain was underwater. The surprising find was made using new high-resolution satellite imagery by an international team of scientists.

Unlike many parts of the world, large areas of the Nullarbor Plain have remained largely unchanged by weathering and erosion processes over millions of years, making it a unique geological canvas recording ancient history in remarkable ways,’ said Dr Milo Barham, of Curtin University in Australia.

‘Through high-resolution satellite imagery and fieldwork we have identified the clear remnant of an original sea-bed structure preserved for millions of years, which is the first of this kind of landform discovered on the Nullarbor Plain.’

The reef-like landform is made up of a circular elevated ring about 4,265ft (1,300m) wide with a dome in the centre. It could be the first primary depositional structure ever discovered on the plain.

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