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This NASA satellite image shows the lagoons and reefs of New Caledonia. This French-governed archipelago contains the world’s third-largest coral reef structure.


A lagoon is a body of water separated from larger bodies of water by a natural barrier.


Lagoons are separated from larger bodies of water by sandbars, barrier reefs, coral reefs, or other natural barriers. The word "lagoon" derives from the Italian word laguna, which means "pond" or "lake."

Although lagoons are well defined geographically, the word “lagoon” is sometimes used as a name for a larger region that contains one or more lagoons. For example, Laguna Madre on the Texas Gulf Coast is actually made up of smaller bays and lagoons, while Laguna Beach in Southern California is actually a beach and not a lagoon at all.

There are two types of lagoons: atoll and coastal. Atoll lagoons form when an island completely subsides beneath the water, leaving a ring of coral that continues to grow upwards. At the center of the ring is a body of water that is often deep. The combination of coral growth and water creates a lagoon. It may take as long as 300,000 years for an atoll formation to occur.

Coastal lagoons form along gently sloping coasts. They are generally shallower than atoll lagoons and tend to be separated from the ocean by an island, reef, or sand bank. Most of the time, coastal lagoons are connected to the ocean by an inlet.

Sea level rise, the amount of existing sediment, and tidal range all contribute to the formation of coastal lagoons. Younger and more dynamic than atoll lagoons, coastal lagoons may have shorter “lifespans” due to their exposed locations on the shore.


In July 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added 27 new areas to its list of World Heritage sites. One of those areas included the lagoons of New Caledonia. Some 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) east of Australia, this French-governed archipelago contains the world’s third-largest coral reef structure. The coral reefs enclose the waters near the islands in shallow lagoons of impressive biodiversity.

On May 10, 2001, the Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus on NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite captured this image of Île Balabio, off the northern tip of Grande Terra, New Caledonia’s main island. In this natural-color image, the islands appear in shades of green and brown—mixtures of vegetation and bare ground. The surrounding waters range in color from pale aquamarine to deep blue, and the color differences result from varying depths. Over coral reef ridges and sand bars, the water is shallowest and palest in color. Darker shades of blue characterize deeper waters. Reef-enclosed, shallow waters surround Île Balabio, and a larger, semi-enclosed lagoon appears immediately east of that island. Immediately north of Grande Terra, unenclosed, deeper waters predominate.

The coral reefs around New Caledonia support an unusual diversity of species, including large numbers of predators and big fish, turtles, and the world’s third-largest dugong population.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data provided by the United States Geological Survey. Caption by Michon Scott.


Lagoons are more than just scenic waterbodies; they are often important habitats for aquatic life.  



News Caledonia


Lagoon d'Ouvea


ATOLL (native name atollon in the Maldive Islands), a horse-shoe or ring shaped coral reef enclosing a lagoon. The usual shape is that of a partly submerged dish with a broken edge, forming the ring of islands, standing upon a conical pedestal. The dish is formed of coral rock and the shells of various reef-dwelling mollusca, covered, especially at the seaward edges, with a film of living coral polyps that continually extend the fringe, and enlarge the diameter of the atoll. The lagoon tends to deepen when the land is stationary by the death of the coral animals in the still water, and the patchy disintegration of the “hard” coral, while waves and storms tear off blocks of rock and pile them up at the margin, increasing the height of the islands, which become covered by vegetation. The lagoon entrance in the open part of the horse-shoe is always to leeward of prevailing winds, since the coral growth is there slower than where the waves constantly renew the polyps’ food supply. The conical pedestal rising from the depths is frequently a submarine volcanic cone or island, though any submerged peak may be crowned by an atoll. For the theory of atoll formation see Coral-reefs.

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica


Bora Bora Mont Pahia

Mont Pahia

  • Type:  mountain
  • Location:  , ,
  • Latitude:  16° 30' (16.5°) south
  • Longitude:  151° 45' (151.75°) west
  • Elevation:  38 metres (125 fe









Ningaloo Reef, along the shore of Western Australia, is Australia’s largest fringing coral reef. At roughly 300 kilometers (185 miles) long, it is also the world’s only large reef located so close to a landmass. At its point closest to the continent, the reef is just 100 meters (330 feet) from shore; at its farthest point, it is less than 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) away.

On July 25, 1999, NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite captured this photo-like image of Ningaloo Reef. Clear skies allow an unobstructed view of deep blue ocean water, and varied shades of brick red and beige in the coastal area of Western Australia. The reef is easily spotted in this image, thanks to the electric blue color of the water. The relatively shallow depths of these waters cause the lighter color. Along the shore, Point Cloates stretches seaward, surrounded by pale waters that overlie a reef.

Ningaloo Reef and the surrounding waters became Ningaloo Marine Park in 1987. The park is home to sharks, manta rays, dolphins, whales, more than 250 coral species, and numerous tropical fish species, including some of the world’s most colorful.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data provided by the United States Geological Survey. Caption by Michon Scott.


Lagos laggon

Lagos lagoon


  • Location:  , , ,
  • Population:  21,300,000
  • IATA airport code:  LOS
  • Latitude:  6° 27' 14.7" (6.4541°) north
  • Longitude:  3° 23' 40.8" (3.3947°) east
  • Elevation:  11 metres (36 feet)















 Drone view of a coastal sand lagoon crowded with people


image from

Coastal lagoon landscapes around the island of Hiddensee near Stralsund, Germany


Die Bilder wurden von mir während eines einstündigen Rundflugs ab Flugplatz Güttin am 21. Mai 2011 aufgenommen. Die Bildbeschreibung steht im Dateinamen. Aufgenommen mit einer Nikon D5000 durch das Seitenfenster des Flugzeugs.

Source Own work
Author Klugschnacker




  Kara Bogaz Gol





  • Location:  , ,
  • Latitude:  41° 2' 45.9" (41.0461°) north
  • Longitude:  52° 55' 33" (52.9258°) east
  • Elevation:  -25 metres (-82 feet)