A 1,640-foot coral reef that’s taller than the Empire State Building was just discovered in the Great Barrier Reef — the first of its kind found in more than a century.

The skyscraper-sized coral was unearthed during underwater mapping on Oct. 20 by Australian scientists aboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor, which is on a year-long exploration of the ocean surrounding the land down under, the institute said.

Five days later, the team of researchers conducted a live-streamed dive with Schmidt’s underwater robot SuBastian, which showed the true breadth of the detached reef.

The base of the blade-like reef is just shy of a mile wide and its height ranges from 1,640 feet — 186 feet taller than the iconic Manhattan skyscraper — to just 131 feet.

The stunning discovery is in addition to seven other tall detached reefs in the same area, mapped since the late 1800s, including the reef at Raine Island, the “world’s most important green sea turtle nesting area,” Schmidt said on its website in announcing the stunning find.

“This unexpected discovery affirms that we continue to find unknown structures and new species in our Ocean,” said Wendy Schmidt, co-founder of Schmidt Ocean Institute.

Coral at Great Barrier Reef
Schmidt Ocean Institute / SWNS

“The state of our knowledge about what’s in the ocean has long been so limited. Thanks to new technologies that work as our eyes, ears and hands in the deep ocean, we have the capacity to explore like never before. New oceanscapes are opening to us, revealing the ecosystems and diverse life forms that share the planet with us.”

Schmidt Ocean Institute has made other surprise finds this year, including the longest recorded sea creature — a 147-foot siphonophore in Ningaloo Canyon that was discovered in April — and as many as 30 new species.

In August, the institute also uncovered five undescribed species of black coral and sponges and recorded Australia’s first observation of rare scorpionfish in the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef Marine Parks.

Deep sea coral gardens and graveyards were also found in Bremer Canyon Marine Park in February.

Schmidt’s voyage of the northern depths of the Great Barrier Reef continues until Nov. 17.

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