The reef is located off Cape Desolation, or Cape Brill, a cape south of the city of Ivittuut in Greenland. It lies at a depth of about 900 m in a spot with very strong currents.
The discovery was made by accident by a team of marine scientists aboard a Canadian research vessel, called CCGS Henry Larsen, when a large fragment of a living coral colony was entangled in an oceanography instrument.
The reef is formed by a species of cold-water coral called the eye-coral (Lophelia pertusa). It harbors plenty of different marine creatures including sponges, hydroids, polychaetes, crustaceans, bryozoans, and echinoderms.
According to the scientists, the discovery of a reef near Greenland was not entirely unexpected.
“There are coral reefs in the countries around Greenland and the effect of the Gulf Stream, which reaches the west coast, means that the sea temperature get up to about 4 degrees Celsius, which is warm enough for corals to thrive,” explained Ms Jørgensbye, who is a co-author of the article published in the journal ICES Insight