Most would think that the Oldest Coral Reef may be the Great Barrier Reef or the Belize Barrier Reef, but you would be wrong. The Oldest Coral Reef is actually the Chazy Reef on Isle La Motta in Vermont. I don’t think anyone would have guessed it was in Vermont.
The Chazy Reef is found at the Northern end of Lake Champlain. It is 450 million-year-old reef that is made up of 71 acres of rock and coral that create the oldest coral reef. The Chazy Reef has been reserved and is open to tourists so that they can see this amazing wonder that once stretched 1000 miles long.
There has been much speculation concerning the Chazy Reef as the oldest reef. To make it clear, scientists say, “The Chazy Reef is the world’s oldest fossil reef, which still contains coral.” Scientists have found much older fossil reefs, but they were no longer Coral Reef communities.
Where Was the Reef Formed?
About a half-billion years ago, The Chazy Reef began to form in warm and shallow seas right below the equator. Over millions and millions of years, The reef began to drift north to its location on the northern end of Lake Champlain.
How Was the Reef Formed?
From fossil remains, reef-building organisms have been photosynthesizing cyanobacteria living billions of years ago. Many organisms such as bivalves, bryozoans, and sponges have all contributed to the construction of the oldest coral reef. Not sure what bivalves and bryozoans are? Bivalves are creatures like oysters and clams, while bryozoans are small coral-like organisms.
Reef Over Time
The oldest coral reef, Chazy Reef, once stretched 1000 miles from Newfoundland to Tennessee. There is something very interesting and different about the Chazy Reef. Over time, the organisms that built the youngest layers of the reef are different from the middle layer, and also different from the older layers. This is a prime example of biological succession. Intriguing facts like this and others represent the amazement and wonder found in the oldest coral reef.