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Atolls are ring-like coral islands that nearly or entirely enclose a lagoon. The atoll traces the perimeter of what was once the coastline of a volcanic island.

it can take an atoll as long as 30 million years to form. It may take 10,000 years for the reef to completely encircle the island and perhaps 100,000 years for a complete barrier reef to form. Over millions of years, the reef continues to build up, while the island itself erodes and sinks. Eventually, only the reef remains at the water’s surface; the rest of the island sinks beneath the waters of a central lagoon. At this point, the reef is considered an atoll.



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