Area of relatively shallow, quiet water with access to the sea but separated from it by sandbars, barrier islands, or coral reefs. Coastal lagoons have low to moderate tides and constitute about 13% of the world's coastline. Their water is colder than the sea in winter and warmer in summer. In warm regions, evaporation may more than balance any freshwater input and may result in hypersaline water and even the buildup of thick salt deposits. Coral-reef lagoons occur on marginal reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef, but the most spectacular examples, some more than 30 mi (50 km) across, are associated with Pacific atolls.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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