Atolls in the Maldives


Maldives Atolls.

An atoll - Just the mention of it brings to mind an image of a single coral island or a collection of coral islands with scenic lagoons at the centre. White sandy beaches and the colorful coral reefs in the waters surrounding the island complete the picture.

Unlike the barrier reefs found on the Australian shore side or the fringing reefs found along the coast of Florida, the atolls do not border anything. This fact sets them apart from the coral reefs.

Often rising up thousands of meters from the Ocean bed, atolls are said to be founded on a coral base. Many lush, tropical paradise islands are based on the larger, individual reefs. The living coral structures in these atolls attract all types of marine life, making Maldives a top diving destination in the process. Apart from being a diver's paradise, the different breaks and channels between the atolls make Maldives a top surfing destination.


Scientific View

Some of the most complex and vibrant structures found on the earth, Coral atolls are built meticulously over the decades by tiny, sea anemone-like coral polyps. These ring shaped structures can have diameters as large as 10 kms with individual reefs which are big and strong enough to support lush tropical islands and even cities.

In the case of Maldives, the coral atolls have been formed by the total disappearance of a volcanic mass beneath the sea. At one time, an enormous volcanic range by the name of 2000 kms Laccadives - Chagos ridge, stood in the same area as the islands of Maldives do today.

As their activity declined, the volcanic range began to sink gradually. Ultimately they submerged completely, but not before allowing the growth of corals at its rims. The continued growth of these coral reefs on this volcanic basement in the upward direction resulted in the formation of these coral atolls. The islands on these atolls are separated by lagoons.


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