The reef, which was located between 115 feet (35 meters) to 230 feet (70 meters) under water, is thought to be the largest collection of corals at such depths of water.
The newly-discovered stretch of coral, spans 2 miles (3 kilometers), and was under investigation during a diving expedition which was supported by UNESCO.
Because this particular reef was discovered in such deep waters, it was challenging for the divers, who cannot safely spend long periods of time at such a depth.
The diving team also had to enlist specialist tanks, and spent a total of 200 hours diving, taking photos, measuring and taking samples of the reef.
Thankfully, the reef is in a healthy condition, and appears to have been unspoiled by climate change or human-related factors.
Laetitia Hédouin, a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research in Moorea, French Polynesia, recalled first coming across the reef during a diving expedition she went on with a local diving club months prior.
Hédouin said: “When I went there for the first time, I thought, ‘Wow — we need to study that reef. There’s something special about that reef.”
The location where the reef was found is said to have been somewhere that many researchers have not spent a great deal of time in, according to the former National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oceanographer, Mark Eakin.
Eakin said: “We’ll be seeing more of these discoveries as the technology is applied to these locations. We may find some bigger ones somewhere, but I think this is always going to be an unusual reef.”
Across the world, coral reefs have been diminishing due to overfishing and pollution. Climate change is also to blame for damaging these organisms, including neighboring reefs, which have suffered from severe bleaching from warmer waters.
According to a 2020 report from the Global Coral reef Monitoring Project, 14% of the world’s corals were killed between 2009 and 2018.
Featured Image Credit: Alexis Rosenfeld