Lonely Planet Writer

Delight at discovery of five new sea stacks at Australia's famous Twelve Apostles

One of Australia’s great water features – Victoria’s Twelve Apostles – may have to be renamed following the discovery of another five limestone columns beneath the ocean.

Scientists are delighted and slightly baffled at the discover of five 'drowned apostles' to go with the iconic Twelve Apostles' sea stacks off
Scientists are delighted and slightly baffled at the discover of five ‘drowned apostles’ to go with the iconic Twelve Apostles’ sea stacks off Victoria’s coast Image by Edwin Poon / CC BY 2.0

The iconic sea stacks, estimated to be nearly 60,000 years old, were located during sonar mapping of the state’s southern coast.

Situated four miles offshore from the Great Ocean Road and some 150 feet under water, the five new pillars have been dubbed ‘the Drowned Apostles’ by researchers who stumbled upon them, reported ABC News.

The School of Geography Associate Professor at University of Melbourne, David Kennedy, disclosed that the discovery was the first of its kind where limestone stacks were actually preserved in the sea.

Twelve Apostles, Australia, No12 in the Ultimate Travelist 2015.
Twelve Apostles, Australia, No12 in the Ultimate Travelist 2015. Image by Pete Seaward, Lonely Planet

He questioned scientifically how they even managed to exist as such stacks are “transient features” and constantly falling down.

He said it was surprising that they were preserved over so many millennia.

The results of the findings have been outlined in the United States based publication – Journal of Coastal Research – offering a new perspective of the complexity’s of the sea floor off Australia’s coastal floor.

The initial discover in the sonar date was made by Rhiannon Bezore, a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, who explained that the changes in sea level was responsible for the structures’ survival.

She pointed out that due to the fast pace that sea level risings had occurred, they were submerged before any erosion process could begin.

The discovery will in future five new insights and perspective into line on the ocean bed. According to Professor Kennedy, the availability of high-resolution data opened up the possibility of investigations into uncharted territories underwater.