underwater tornado
© Twitter/Schmidt Ocean
A team of ocean researchers stumbled across what appeared to be some type of 'underwater tornado' (pictured) while conducting a study near Moore Reef, off the coast of Cairns
A team of researchers conducting a study near an Australian reef stumbled across an amazing sight when their cameras picked up an 'underwater tornado'.

Schmidt Ocean Institute researchers were performing a remote expedition on Moore Reef, off the coast of Cairns in Queensland, when they made the discovery on May 22.

'That's amazing. It's like it's created an underwater tornado, I've never seen that before,' one of the researchers is heard saying.

Australian marine geologist Dr Robin Beaman watched the live feed and explained how unusual the sighting was.

'There is such a thing called benthic storms, this is kind of at a broader level, this is like a benthic tornado,' the researcher said.

'It is actually leaving a trail on the sea floor, that was so strange.'

The Australian researcher then goes on to compare the underwater tornado to land based 'devil winds' or 'dust devils'.

'Whatever you want to call them, they're even created in fire with huge amounts of air just lifting up and they can really tear up the land,' he said.

'I have never seen this on the ocean.'