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Majuro Atoll

Position of center of photo (Lat/Long): [7.1/171.2]

Majuro Atoll

Map: Majuro AtollIn the Republic of the Marshall Islands, in the western Pacific Ocean, lie two atolls - coral islands encircling lagoons. NASA’s Landsat 7 satellite acquired this image of Majuro Atoll on May 16, 2000 (the other atoll, northeast of Majuro, is called Arno Atoll). Both atolls appear as meandering lines of delicate white against a darker ocean background. Areas of shallow water near the shore appear iridescent blue, especially in the southwest portion of the atoll. Overhead, tiny white clouds dot the sky.

Majuro Atoll is 40 kilometers in circumference, and it partially encloses a lagoon of nearly 300 square kilometers. The lagoon is far bigger than the atoll itself, whose land area is less than 10 square kilometers; walking from the lagoon side to the ocean side of the atoll takes only minutes.

Scientists have long understood that coral atolls develop around volcanic islands and remain there after those islands have eroded away. To what extent the final shape of an atoll is influenced by wind and ocean wave activity, however, remains a topic of debate. Landsat data helped researchers examine these questions in the Maldives in the Indian Ocean.

Source of material: NASA

Further information: WikiPedia article on Majuro Atoll

Last Update: 2011-03-30