Massive pumice ‘raft’ could bring marine life to help save Great Barrier Reef

Massive pumice ‘raft’ could bring marine life to help save Great Barrier Reef

A massive “raft” of volcanic rock the size of 20,000 football fields has been floating across the Pacific Ocean toward Australia — and may bring a vast array of marine life to the Great Barrier Reef.

The reef saw an 89 percent decrease in new corals following mass bleaching — when unusually hot water destroyed much of its colorful algae, a source of food — in 2016 and 2017.

Sailors had first discovered the giant sheet of volcanic rock produced by an underwater volcano near the Pacific Island of Tonga on August 9, according to the NASA Earth Observatory.

It measured nearly 58 square miles.

One week later, Australian couple Michael Hoult and Larissa Brill said they came across the pumice first-hand while sailing to Fiji, when volcanic rocks between the rudder and hull jammed the boat’s steering.

“We entered a total rock rubble slick made up of pumice stones from marble to basketball size,” the couple said. “It was a bit of a mystery, we didn’t know how deep it was [or] if we were sailing over a volcano that was active at that moment. It looked almost like there was more coming up, bubbling up from underneath,” the couple wrote on Facebook.

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Michelle has been a part of the journey ever since Fox Statement started. As a strong learner and passionate writer, she contributes her editing skills for the news agency. She also jots down intellectual pieces from Environment category.

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