reef2  New coral areas found off the coast of Iceland New coral reefs and hills have been discovered in Lónsdjúp, off Iceland’s eastern coast.

The corals, which come in two different colours, were stumbled upon by the Icelandic Marine Research Institute during a submarine research expedition in June.

The newfound coral area is located within a 40-square-kilometer vicinity at a depth of 200 to 500 meters. Unlike the corals that form reefs in tropical environments, the Icelandic corals are cold water species. Since no sunlight reaches them at these great depths they cannot carry out any photosynthesis. Instead, they survive by filtering nutrition from ocean currents.

“What makes these so special is that they take a very long time to grow; it takes a coral reef several hundred thousands of years to develop and in that time it creates a special habitat for other organisms,” says Steinunn Hilma Ólafsdóttir, an expert in demersal organisms.

All other known coral areas off the coast of Iceland are protected as nature reserves.

The reef in the picture is not the newly discovered reef. It is a picture from the great barrier reef.