Atolls and coral reefs are barely hidden hazards, and have been for centuries. Atolls are low-lying islands, and reefs are rocky structures just beneath the ocean waves. Ships from ancient Polynesian canoes to modern American warships have crashed into atolls. This fishing vessel sunk as the atolls of Palau were hit by a severe storm.

Photograph by Ethan Daniels, MyShot
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atoll Encyclopedic Entry

Best For
4 - 12 and up

Earth science, Geography, Social Studies

Appropriate For

  • Educators
  • Families
  • Students

Encyclopedic entry. An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef, island, or series of islets. The atoll surrounds a body of water called a lagoon.