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Different Types of Corals and Coral Reefs

By Yona Williams    10/26/06

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Throughout the world, there are some well-known coral reefs to explore. The largest coral reef in the world can be found in Queensland, Australia. This reef is called the Great Barrier Reef. Within Central America, Honduras possess the second largest coral reef in the world. The coral reef is called the Barrier Reef of Roatan. Situated off of the Egyptian coast, you will be able to locate the Red Sea Coral Reef.

Different Types of Corals

When it comes to the different types of coral in the world, there are only two varieties: soft or hard coral. With hard coral, the foundation of this kind of coral reef is based upon the formation of hardened limestone skeletons. An example of this type of coral includes elkhorn coral and brain coral. Soft corals do not form reefs. Examples of this kind of coral include sea whips and sea fingers.

 

Different Types of Coral Reefs

 

When hard coral gathers together, it forms reefs. In this category of coral, there are different kinds of reefs that develop. When coral gathers about the coastline, it is referred to as a fringing reef. You will be able to find this type of reef about the continental shelf throughout shallow waters. Barrier reefs, which is the type of reef most referred to on television, books and magazines, develops parallel to the shorelines. They are situated farther out into the water. A deep lagoon creates a separation from the reef and land. They receive the name of barrier reef because it causes a block between the surrounding waters of the sea and of the lagoon. It is this obstruction that causes a lapse in nautical navigation.

 

There is also something called a coral atoll, which consists of many rings of coral, which grows about the top of ancient volcanoes that have been swallowed by the waters of the ocean. At first, they appear as a fringe reef about the volcano remains, but then as the structure begins to sink deeper into the waters, the reef starts to start more until the sight of the volcano is no more and all you will see is the reef.

 

When studying the various forms that coral reef undertake, you will find that there are many more references made. For starters, there is the apron reef, which is quite similar to a fringing reef, but has a more sloped appearance. The apron reef also extends farther out and grows in a downward fashion, which is also connected to some sort of peninsular shore. Next, there is a patch reef, which is often circular in appearance. It is usually an isolated reef that forms within a lagoon. A ribbon reef is long and narrow. Some examples showcase winding characteristics and is often connected to an atoll lagoon. Table reefs are isolated in the water and has some of the same characteristics as the atoll version of reef. These reef varieties do not have a lagoon attached to its existence.

 

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