The islets on the reef are first formed between two hundred and three hundred yards from its outer edge, through the accumulation of a pile of fragments, thrown together by some unusually strong gale. Their ordinary width is under a quarter of a mile, and their length varies from a few yards to several miles
Several of the atolls in this Archipelago are so related to each other in form and position, that at the first glance one is led to suspect that they have originated in the disseverment of a single one
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An experiment, however, will presently be related in which some large masses of living coral increased rapidly in size, after having been secured by stakes on a sandbank.
In the vegetable kingdom every different station has its peculiar group of plants, and similar relations appear to prevail with corals. We have already described the great difference between the corals within the lagoon of an atoll and those on its outer margin.
Krusenstern speaks of some of the islands being mountainous; the reefs are distant from the shore, and there are spaces within them, and not opposite valleys, with from ten to fifteen fathoms.
At Port Lloyd there is a great deal of coral; and the inner harbour is entirely formed by coral-reefs, which extend outside the port along the coast.
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The rocky islands of primary formation, composing this group, rise from a very extensive and tolerably level bank, having a depth between twenty and forty fathoms.
The shores of IMMAUM, and of the promontory forming the southern headland of the Persian Gulf, seem to be without reefs.
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After having seen how frequently banks of sediment in the
West Indian Sea are fringed by reefs, we can readily conceive that bars of sediment might be greatly aided in their formation along a line of coast, by the growth of corals; and such bars would, in that case, have a deceptive resemblance with true barrier-reefs.
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