The atolls and islands of the Maldives are amongst the world’s most beautiful and here’s a look at how they have formed many millions of years ago.
The Maldives Today
Did you know there are 26 atolls in the Maldives? Villas at private resorts such as Kuramathi Maldives give you a chance to stay at islands in one of these atolls set amidst pristine natural beauty and rich marine biodiversity. What’s also interesting is that this nation has around 1,200 islands, most of them uninhabited.
The origin story of the atolls in Maldives goes back approximately 60 million years in the past! The country is located on what is known as the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, which at that time had a chain of active volcanoes; over many millennia and centuries, these volcanoes began to sink, while sea levels began to rise.
The Birth of Atolls
Around these volcanoes were coral colonies which formed a fringing coral reef over time; as the volcanoes gradually sunk into the ocean, the fringing coral reef grew and formed natural circles that had lagoons within them. This was how nature created the first atoll ring in the country.
The Forming of Islands
Coral debris began to accumulate at the outer edges of the volcano as it sank while erosion led to the rocks being gradually turned into sand. Islands thus began to form first at an atoll’s outer edge and later due to the currents, inside the lagoons. It’s because these islands are of coralline origin that the beaches have such fine white sand!