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The massive explosion vaporized everything on three islands in the atoll, raised water temperatures to 55,000 degrees and left a crater that was 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) wide and 240 feet (73 meters) deep.
A team of scientists recently led a diving expedition into Bravo Crater and found an unexpectedly thriving coral community.
"I didn't know what to expect — some kind of moonscape perhaps. But it was incredible, huge matrices of branching Porites coral (up to 8 meters [25 feet] high) had established, creating a thriving coral reef habitat," said study team member Zoe Richards of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University.
"Throughout other parts of the lagoon it was awesome to see coral cover as high as 80 percent and large tree-like branching coral formations with trunks 30 centimeters