atoll

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atoll Ring-shaped reef of coral enclosing a shallow lagoon. An atoll begins as a reef surrounding a slowly subsiding island, usually volcanic. As the island sinks, the coral continues to grow upwards until eventually the island is below sea level and only a ring of coral is left at the surface.

http://nasa.gov/Study/Maldives/maldives.html

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atoll Ring-shaped organic reef that encloses or almost encloses a lagoon, and which is surrounded by the open sea. The reef may be built of coral and/or calcareous algae. An atoll is built on an existing structure such as an extinct, submerged volcano.

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atoll A ring-shaped organic reef that encloses or almost encloses a lagoon and which is surrounded by the open sea. The reef may be built of coral and/or calcareous algae. An atoll is built on an existing structure such as an extinct, submerged volcano.

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at·oll / ˈatˌôl; ˈatˌäl; ˈāˌtôl; ˈāˌtäl/ • n. a ring-shaped reef, island, or chain of islands formed of coral.

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atoll: see coral reefs.

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atoll ring-shaped coral reef enclosing a lagoon. XIX (in XVII as atollon). — Maldive atoḷu.