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How Maldives Atolls and Islands shaped. The story of an distinctive geography

The Maldives shaped hundreds of thousands of years in the past on the highest of sunken volcanoes. Scattered in the midst of the Indian Ocean, their formation is a surprise of nature. From sizzling rocks to excellent little gems, right here is the story of the Maldives islands creation.

Photo of Maldives - Aerial View of the Maldives Islands
Picture of Maldives – Aerial View of the Maldives Islands

Known as The Island Kingdom by Maldivians ( Dhivehi Raajjee ), the Maldives are one of the vital extraordinary instance of the lengthy course of it takes for Earth to supply the superb locations we are able to witness at this time.

satellite view Maldives
North and South Kaafu Atolls Satellite tv for pc view.

Positioned within the coronary heart of the Indian Ocean, on the South of India and West of Sri Lanka, the Maldives owe their magnificence to their distinctive geography and lengthy geological formation.

The Maldives. 26 Atolls, 1200 Islands.

All 823 km ( 512 miles ) of the Maldivian archipelago is solely composed of Atolls, about 26 in whole, defending of their hearts some marvellous 1200 small and completely drawn tropical islands and 1000’s of kilometres of coral reefs.

Maldives Atolls shaped on the the highest of sunken volcanoes

The Maldives Islands have been shaped throughout lots of of 1000’s of years on the sinking stays of a sequence of volcanoes that was present within the Indian Ocean.

On this Indian Ocean flooring map, we are able to simply see the area many ridges and underwater seamounts.

Indian Ocean floor map
Indian Ocean flooring map. Map Seen Earth Nasa

Indian Ocean and volcanoes

The Indian Ocean is filled with volcanoes now sunken or nonetheless energetic.
The area counts greater than 20 volcanoes above the ocean stage, energetic or extinct.

Many extra are actually sunken.Their numbers remains to be unknown. A number of research are nonetheless carried out within the area to map these as soon as energetic and large volcano chains.

This map of Earth reveals the completely different topography of the Indian and Pacific Ocean flooring.
Maldives are positioned proper beneath India, barely on its left. The archipelago clearly seems above a sequence of sunken mountains known as the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge.

Earth map from Nasa showing the different topography of the Indian Ocean floor.
Earth Map displaying Indian and Pacific Oceans ridges and seamounts. Credit score Wikipedia

The western half of the area nonetheless has a number of energetic volcanoes like in La Réunion ( Le Piton de la Fournaise ) and Mayotte ( made of two volcanic islands), each near Madagascar.

On the jap half, between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, lies the Ring of Hearth, the place roughly 75 % of the world’s energetic volcanoes nonetheless erupt.

the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge

The Maldivian Archipelago is positioned on the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, an unlimited submarine mountain vary within the Indian Ocean, that was as soon as a sequence of volcanoes, now completely extinct.
The Chagos-Laccadive Ridge comprises a substantial quantity of volcanic rock that slowly disappeared underwater.

the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge
the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge. Map

The Chagos-Laccadive Ridge is the results of an enormous eruption over western India throughout the Late Cretaceous.
Subsequent volcanism on the Indian plate is assumed to have led to the formation of the Laccadive Ridge, Maldives Ridge and Chagos Financial institution additional south. The presence of magmatic underplating beneath your entire hotspot monitor has been revealed by numerous research.

Maldives Atolls have shaped themselves on the tip of those sunken volcanoes created 60–45 million years in the past.
Thankfully there is no such thing as a extra volcanic exercise within the Maldives space. The area is taken into account aseismic.

The Maldives tsunami which occured again in 2004 originated from the huge Banda Aceh earthquake in Indonesia. The wave crossed your entire Indian Ocean up till the jap coasts of Africa.

Nevertheless, that doesn’t imply that exercise is completely shut down on the plateau the place Maldives stand. An uncommon, remoted swarm of earthquakes occurred on the southern a part of the Chagos‐Laccadive Ridge between 1965 and 1970. Thought of extinct, these sunken volcanoes are continuously studied.

Maldives Atolls.
How do they Type ?

The Maldives archipelago is manufactured from 26 pure atolls the place an estimated 1200 islands appeared alongside a number of 1000’s of years.

Maldives coral rings
Maldives coral rings. Aerial Picture Sakis Papadopoulos

What are Atolls ?

Atolls are rings of coral that create protected lagoons.
Atolls often kind when islands surrounded by fringing reefs sink into the ocean or the ocean stage rises round them (these islands are sometimes the tops of underwater volcanoes).

The fringing reefs proceed to develop and finally kind circles with lagoons inside. Sand and coral particles slowly accumulate on the volcano outer ridges and islands kind.

How Maldives Islands formed explained step by step process
How Maldives Islands shaped defined step-by-step course of

Maldives Islands. How do they kind ?

The Maldives islands kind first across the atoll edges after which inside their lagoon with the currents.

Sea currents shaping new islands in Maldives. Satellite tv for pc Picture. NOAA/NASA
How Maldives Islands formed. Sand and coral debris accumulate to slowly form a sandbank
Sand and coral particles accumulate to slowly kind a sandbank

The islands are fully of coralline origins, that is why their sand is so white and fantastic.

New island born every year in Maldives.

New land lots seem based on sea currents and kind first the extraordinary sandbanks all of us love.

Some new landmass will keep, get greater and turn into islands.
Others will disappear if their sand or coral is moved away.

A sandbank in Maldives.
A sandbank in Maldives. Picture Sakis Papadopoulos

Finally, if the climate will get very tough, massive coral particles will accumulate and kind rockbanks like not too long ago in Gan Atoll with the delivery of a brand new island noticed by locals.

It’s not possible to precisely rely the variety of sandbanks in Maldives as some disappear and new ones emerge.

The Maldives will at all times change. New islands will born, different will vanish and finally come again alongside the monsoons.

If Maldives will disappear in the future is one other story. As sea stage shortly continues to rise, coral reefs may not develop quick sufficient to maintain Maldives and different coral islands all over the world elevated sufficient to stay…

However one factor for certain, with the brand new development of creating synthetic islands, the Island Kingdom will carry on being the biggest nation of Islands on Earth for some time.

How did Maldives form ? A story
How did Maldives kind ? A narrative

pinterest-dreaming-maldivesPin The Dream

Learn extra about Maldives atmosphere
– A brand new Island is born in Maldives
– Synthetic Islands in Maldives

Scientific References
The Chagos-Laccadive Ridge Picture and scientific research.
An earthquake swarm on the Chagos—Laccadive Ridge and its tectonic implications.

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