In May 2018, scientists studying different habitats in the Gulf of Mexico came across an uncharted community of corals that is likely centuries old.
What Did Researchers Discover In The Gulf Of Mexico?
While conducting an expedition in uncharted waters, scientists discovered a lively 'secret' garden of corals. It was found 7,500 feet under the Gulf of Mexico. No human has ever discovered this spot before.
"This is a truly magnificent garden of coral fans, I don't think we've seen these densities yet in the Gulf of Mexico," said one of the scientists on the expedition.
To locate the garden of corals, scientists relied heavily on a remote-operated submersible vehicle (ROV). Using different instruments, they were able to capture incredible images of the corals.
Scientists estimate that the corals are at least hundreds of years old.
Why Is This Discovery In The Gulf Of Mexico Significant?
In order for the corals to be there for a long time, the right geological conditions must be present. If that is true, then the blocks that the corals are situated on must be reasonably stable for life.
In addition to the blocks, the corals have to position themselves to face the current so that that they can feed. Based on the video and images, the corals were facing the current and were removing other organisms. There also has to be enough food in the area for the corals to live.
Based on this discovery, it seems likely that all of these factors are true.
NOAA's Mission In The Gulf Of Mexico
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched a 3-month exploration of the Gulf of Mexico in December 2017. The goal was to study the deep parts of the water and to map the seafloor.
Between April and May 2018, scientists conducted a special 23-day exploration of habitats in the Gulf of Mexico. They acquired data and captured videos of the different underwater areas. As part of the research, the scientists explored deep coral communities, bottom fish habitats, shipwrecks and other types of life in the water. This was NOAA's final expedition into the Gulf of Mexico for 2018.
In addition to the garden of corals, the scientists also discovered other incredible aspects underwater. They found a waterfall under the sea that was officially listed as a brine pool. The scientists also found a deep-sea squid in a defensive pose, mounds of mud volcanoes, and lots of debris from ships.