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Coral atoll Tureia

Detailed Description

Coral atolls are normally long, thin bars of white sand that rise just a few meters above sea level. The island or island group surrounds a hollow center where a volcanic peak once was. The atoll shown in this photo-like satellite image is the island of Tureia, in French Polynesia, in the South Pacific Ocean. The beaches shown here get their light color from the calcium-rich skeletons of coral and other reef dwellers. The soil built on top of the reef supports limited vegetation including coconut palms, taro, and breadfruit trees, the strips of green shown here.


NASA images by Lawrence Ong and the EO-1 Science Team.