The prodigious lagoon formed in the place remained intact after the passage of a category 4 cyclone only a few months ago.

A marine biologist has discovered a new blue hole in the heart of the Australian Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of the Whitsunday archipelago, northeast of the country, reports

It is an aquatic sink formed by the erosion of carbonate rocks, which from the surface is seen as a dark blue water circle. The first glimpse of the place was the Australian biologist Johnny Gaskell while studying the area on Google Maps. Impacted, he undertook an expedition to observe closely what looked like a hidden lagoon. The exact location of the blue hole has not been revealed by the specialist, and will remain as a local secret.

Gaskell and his team believe that the walls of the lagoon have served as protection for coral for several decades. “What we found was hard to believe, considering that five months ago a category 4 cyclone passed directly above [the blue hole],” the researcher confessed.

According to detailed, at a depth of about 15-20 meters under the water there are corals of Seriatopora and Acropora. In both cases, he said, they are “among the largest and most delicate coral colonies I have ever seen.”

Gaskell says the site was “totally intact after the cyclone”. Although not as deep as the famous Big Blue Hole on the coast of Belize, the biologist calls it “really unique.”

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world. It stretches for about 2,600 kilometers along the Australian coast of Queensland, from north to south, from New Guinea. Of extraordinary biodiversity, it harbors thousands of animal and vegetal species. Much of the Great Barrier Reef is a protected natural area, as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. It is currently facing the threat of coral laundering.