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A lagoon is a body of comparatively shallow salt or brackish water separated from the deeper sea by a shallow or exposed barrier beach, sandbank of marine origin, coral reef, or similar feature. Thus, the enclosed body of water behind a barrier reef or barrier islands or enclosed by an atoll reef is called a lagoon. This application of lagoon in English dates from 1769. It adapted and extended the sense of the Venetian laguna (cf Latin lacuna, ‘empty space’), which specifically referred to Venicemarker’s shallow, island-studded stretch of saltwater, protected from the Adriaticmarker by the barrier beaches of the Lidomarker (see Venetian Lagoonmarker). Lagoon refers to both coastal lagoons formed by the build-up of sandbanks or reefs along shallow coastal waters, and the lagoons in atolls, formed by the growth of coral reefs on slowly sinking central islands. Lagoons that are fed by freshwater streams are also called estuaries.

Many lagoons do not include "lagoon" in their common names. Albemarle Sound in North Carolinamarker, Great South Baymarker, between Long Island and the barrier beaches of Fire Islandmarker in New Yorkmarker; Isle of Wight Bay, which separates Ocean City, Marylandmarker from the rest of Worcester County, Marylandmarker; Banana River in Floridamarker; and Lake Illawarramarker in New South Walesmarker are all lagoons, despite their names. In the UK there are lagoons at Montrose Basinmarker, (Scotland) and Broad Watermarker near Tywynmarker, (Wales), whilst the expanse of water inside Chesil Beachmarker, England, known as The Fleet, could also be described as a lagoon. There is also one near the small town of Dinglemarker in Western Ireland. Some of the famous lagoons in Indiamarker are the Chilika Lakemarker in Orissamarker, near Purimarker, and the Vembanad Lakemarker in Kerala. Both are connected to the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Seamarker respectively through a narrow channel.

In Latin America often the use of “laguna”, which lagoon translates to, is used to describe a lake, such as Laguna Catemacomarker.


Image:GlenrockLagoonFromLeichhardtLookout.JPG|Glenrock Lagoon in AustraliaImage:Lagoa dos Patos PIA03444 lrg.jpg|Lagoa dos Patosmarker lagoon in BrazilmarkerImage:Buada Lagoon.jpg|Buada Lagoonmarker in NauruImage:Flores hocheebene.jpg|Lagoa Comprida in the Azores.Image:Lagoon-of-venice-landsat-1 Names.jpg|Lagoon of Venicemarker as seen by Landsat 7Image:Zalewszczecinski.jpeg|Szczecin Lagoonmarker as seen by Landsat c. 2000.Image:Baltic spits.png|Vistulamarker and Curonianmarker lagoons on the Baltic Seamarker.Image:Kiritimati-EO.jpg|Nearly half the area of Kiritimatimarker is covered with lagoons, some freshwater and some seawater.Image:Blue lagoon.jpg|Blue lagoon, Oludenizmarker, Turkeymarker

See also


  1. Reid (1961) p.73


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