(CNN) – If you think Charleston, South Carolina, has a lot of history in its pre-colonial area, then look at what's hiding 160 miles off the coast of the city for thousands of years: a huge deep-sea Coral reef system. The chief scientist who contributed to the discovery called it unbelievable.
How the Hidden Reef came to the fore
Little is known about the natural resources of the deep sea off the southeast coast of the United States from Virginia to Georgia, that is Deep. The search 2018 was created to learn more about the study of deep-sea ecosystems , The project, consisting of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the US Geological Survey, is nearing the end of its 1
"That's a huge feature," expedition chief Dr. Erik Cordes told HuffPost. "It's unbelievable that it was hidden so long off the US East Coast."
Cordes said the ecosystem is different than anything he has seen, with "mountains" of coral.
The discovery of the coral reef builds on research by scientists working aboard the Okeanos Explorer, which mapped hundreds of deep-sea hills. The hills, it turns out, are formed by these corals.
Dr. Sandra Brooke, a coral ecologist among the research teams that dived near the site, described blooming white Lophelia corals covering the seabed in all directions, and told HuffPost it was a surprise to see so many living deep-sea corals far from the shore Find . Coral reefs form more easily near the surface of the water, where the sun can nourish the algae.
So it exists. What now?
A coral reef is a large community of living organisms that live in one place. Many fish and marine life spawn here because the protected environment of the reef means that their eggs are protected from predators.
The discovery of this Atlantic reef is due to the Trump government proposing a ban on offshore drilling, which would resume drilling in Pacific and Atlantic waters. More than 140 communities have publicly spoken out against offshore drilling in the Atlantic, according to the Oceana environmental group. Environmental groups call the plan dirty and dangerous.
A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management said she is funding this type of research to identify resources that need to be protected if there are any future offshore energy activities, and new information from this reef study may be useful Pre-leasing or re-letting [oil and gas] decisions, such as those concerning sensitive living spaces, which are the focus of this study. "
Cordes also told HuffPost that this coral habitat needs to be protected from oil and gas development
Interior Minister Ryan Zinke has repeatedly stated in January that any offshore rig will come with the condition of safety.
The reef itself still holds many secrets and researchers Write that the discovery will engage the members of the Deep Search team "months and even years".
The-CNN-Wire ™ and © 2018 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.