The wonders of nature never fail to impress mankind, and an atoll is one of them. An atoll refers to a ring-shaped coral reef, island, or series of islets. It surrounds a body of water known as a lagoon. Sometimes, both these bodies protect a central island.
Atolls develop with underwater volcanoes and seamounts. Firstly, the volcano erupts, piling up lava on the seafloor. As the volcano continues to erupt, the elevation of the seamount grows higher, thus breaking the surface of the water. The top of the volcano becomes an oceanic island. The next stage of this formation involves tiny sea animals or coral that begin to build a reef around the island. Such corals building reefs are called hermatypic corals which further create a hard exoskeleton of limestone. Eventually, billions of these limestones form a reef.
Atolls and the Human History
The rocky or sandy shores of atolls have been essential sites throughout human history. Their low-lying elevation is often touted as perilous. The water body is hidden by ocean waves. Thousands of ships, from ancient Polynesian canoes to sophisticated American warships were stranded and wrecked on the hidden atolls.
Are Atolls Inhibited by the Humans?
Island nations made of atolls are Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean and Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Tourism remains a vital factor in both these economies. Lately, many atolls have few tourists.
Some atolls are also equipped with a few natural resources. According to geologists, atolls have a few natural resources. The soil quality in these regions is poor, and erosion remains a constant threat. The native residents in such localities practice subsistence agriculture and fishing. The other necessities like fuel and food are important at a high cost. The support of the shipping industry and fisheries help all the communities on remote atolls.
What are the Most Captivating Atolls in the World?
Listed below are the most beautiful atolls worldwide.
Funafuti is the capital of Tuvalu, an island located in the Pacific Ocean. It remains the second-least populous sovereign state in the world. The width of this tiny coral atoll is only 20 meters at the narrowest parts and about 400 meters at the widest part of the island. The estimated population of this island is 4,500 only.
This atoll is famous for two things. The bikini swimsuit was named after this atoll in 1946. It was also the site of more than 20 nuclear weapons testing between 1946 and 1958. The islands located here are safe to visit. But it is said that the soil still contains dangerous levels of radioactive materials.
It is one of the Outer Islands of Seychelles, resting over 1,100 kilometers from Mane. Aldabra remains the second-largest atoll in the world. Since it is difficult to access, it remains virtually untouched by the human population.
Rangiro remains one of the largest atolls worldwide. It is a popular underwater diving destination. The water of the lagoon is clear blue. The famous diving sites here include Tiputa Pass and the Blue Lagoon.
Atolls of the Maldives
The primary activities enjoyed on this atoll include snorkeling and scuba diving. They rest hundreds of kilometers away from the landmass. They are also home to Manta rays and sharks.
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