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Nolan Reed
Nolan Reed

Atoll 281 Crack

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Atoll 281 Crack

Limestone is permeable, meaning that the surface landscapes of limestone islands are comparatively slow to evolve and may continue to represent the form of the island when it emerged above the ocean surface long after this event occurred. An example is the island of Niue (South Pacific), a coral atoll before it began emerging about 600,000 years ago. Niue now lies 70 m above the ocean surface; yet, the former lagoon and the former ring reef (named the Mutalau Reef) are clearly visible in the modern landscape (Nunn and Britton 2004). The fringes of emerging limestone islands in warmer ocean-surface waters are often marked by staircases of fossil coral reefs; those on the island of Choiseul (Solomon Islands) extend 800 m above sea level (Stoddart 1969), while those on Halmahera (Indonesia) extend to 1,000 m (Hall et al. 1988).

The history of Pukapuka Atoll (Cook Islands), passed down orally through generations, is dominated by one event named in the vernacular te mate wolo (the Great Death) that marks the time when a huge wave swept across the atoll, carrying away most of its inhabitants (Beaglehole and Beaglehole 1938). Such waves can obliterate entire islands, and can strip them to their unweathered sedimentary foundations. Yet, paradoxically it might seem, they can also create and enlarge such islands by driving reef detritus onshore. Much of the variation is attributable to the morphology of the ocean floor over which the wave approaches the island, and the amount of sediment it is carrying when it reaches the island coast.

Typically as a result of unsustainable demands being made on them, the environments of most inhabited islands have deteriorated over the past few decades, something that is likely to continue on many as population densities increase and climate change has an increasingly significant effect on livelihoods (Nunn 2013). While this is likely to one day lead to radical responses from island leaders, particularly around resource conservation and stewardship, it will inevitably also lead to island abandonment. Nowhere is this more apparent than on inhabited atoll islands (such as those in the island nations of Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Maldives and Tuvalu) where rising sea level is often causing both freshwater lenses and habitable land to decrease in size (Connell 2016).

Judy didn't have a lot of concrete expectations about her move, other than she would be practicing dental hygiene and living dormitory style in one room. In July 2001, she moved to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. For those of you who don't remember your grade school geography that well, an atoll is a coral reef surrounding a lagoon. The Kwajalein Atoll is home to an Army installation that does missile testing and is made up of 98 small islands encircling the world's largest lagoon. Judy, along with some 2,000 residents, lives on the largest island, approximately two miles wide and half a mile long. Most residents are contract workers or military families. 350c69d7ab


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