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Greenpeace Releases Stunning Image of Unique Coral Reef System at the Mouth of the Amazon

Jan 31, 2017 09:11 AM EST
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Greenpeace Brazil has recently released the first ever underwater images of the coral reef system discovered at the mouth of the Amazon River last year. The stunning images of the Amazon reef system, posted on Greenpeace's website, were taken by a submarine launched from the organization's ship Esperanza to a depth of 721 feet.

"This reef system is important for many reasons, including the fact that it has unique characteristics regarding use and availability of light and physicochemical water conditions," said Nils Asp, a researcher at the Federal University of Pará, in a report from EcoWatch. "It has a huge potential for new species and it is also important for the economic well-being of fishing communities along the Amazonian Coastal Zone."

The discovery of the Amazon Reef system was announced in April 2016. The existence of the reef system at the murky waters of the Amazon baffled its discoverers. Coral reefs are known to thrive mostly in clear, sunlit water, which is the complete opposite of the Amazon River. As a matter of fact, the waters near the mouth of Amazon are considered to be one of the muddiest in the world.

The Amazon Reef system is between 164 and 328 feet. The reef system covers approximately 3,668 square miles. Spanning across the mouth of the Amazon, the reef system serves as a home for more than 73 species of fish, 60 species of sponge, spiny lobsters and other species.

Despite being discovered just a few months ago, the Amazon reef system is already under grave threat. The Brazilian government decided to open the area where the reef is found for oil exploration.

Oil companies, such as BP, Total and Petrogas are already planning to explore the Amazon reef system for its potential as an oil drilling site. The area is estimated to have 15 to 20 billion barrels of oil.

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