Large coral boulders like this one North Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef, hundreds of kilometers off the North West of Western Australia, sit several metres above the surrounding reef platform and their tops stay dry during high tide.
The boulders vary in size but are generally less than five metres across and extend approximately one metre above high water.
This fact that the boulders are above high tide means that they belong to the state of Western Australia.
If they hadn’t been tall enough to stay dry at high tide, the area would just be another reef and be under Commonwealth jurisdiction.
And the boulders sit right in the middle of one of the world’s biggest natural gas fields.
And because of them Western Australia’s share of the gas increases from around 5% to as much a 65%, providing billions in royalties when the resource is developed.
Exactly how much is being worked out now. Read more at A Tiny Rock Sitting On A Remote Reef Is Now The Most Valuable Piece Of Real Estate In Australia
Geoscience Australia, the Australian agency for mapping, says a the boulders were confirmed during site visits as part of Geoscience Australia’s ongoing work to determine the coastline of Australia in areas that contribute to Australia’s maritime limits.
The reef platforms on which the boulders sit are dry at low water. It is the broad extent of the exposed reef platform that generates maritime jurisdiction.
North Scott Reef is 17 km long from North to South and 15 km wide from East to West. Seringapatam Reef is 9km in its longest dimension and 6km in its shortest dimension.
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