Jan 10, 2017 08:51 AM EST
Scientists Find What Nearly Destroyed The Great Barrier Reef Decades Ago
A latest study on the Great Barrier Reef has revealed that it was almost destroyed about 125,000 years ago. Apparently, it was caused by the rapid rise of sea-level due to melting glaciers and polar ice sheets.
The Christian Science Monitor reported that the Great Barrier Reef nearly drowned at the start of the Last Interglacial period, which happened about 125,000 years ago. The University of Sydney published their findings in the journal "Global and Planetary Change."
It was explained how the largest reef on Earth nearly got destroyed due to the rapid rise of sea-levels. The study not only provides a vital analysis in understanding the reef's history - it can also help modern scientists see the implications for its future. The study provided evidence for the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef. Shallow reef growth developed once again after the sea-levels had stabilized.
Today, however, pressures on the reef which include warming sea temperatures, pesticide run-off as well as mining operations threaten its survival. Last October, the whole world was in an uproar when a magazine published the obituary of the Great Barrier Reef.
According to CNN, the reef is still dying; not dead. Russell Brainard, chief of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program at NOAA's Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, said to Huffington Post that the article may have been intended to highlight the urgency of the Great Barrier Reef's current condition.
In the University of Sydney's official website, the lead author, Dr. Belinda Dechnik, from the Geocoastal Research Group in the School of Geosciences said that the study provides the first snapshot of the paleo-reef against a background of rapid environmental change. This includes a possible mass ice-sheet collapse.
Dr. Dechnik further explained that the reef works like a sponge cake. The current, modern reef is just the last layer developed over 120,000 years ago. The rate of future sea-level rises caused by climate change may not be as intense as what the reef previously experienced. Nonetheless, it could still have a significant impact on the Great Barrier Reef.
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