The Physical Story
Maldives geography is all about extremes of numbers. A country of South Asia situated in the Indian Ocean south-southwest of India the Maldives consists of about 1,200 coral islands. These are roughly grouped into 27 atolls and spread over about 90,000 square kilometres of ocean.
This makes the Maldives one of the most distinct countries in the world. Composed of live coral reefs and sand bars, the atolls are situated atop a volcanic ridge 960 km long that rises from the depths of the Indian Ocean and traverses north to south.
They are not just any islands… The geography of the Maldives is like an onion. Stick with me as I intend to go somewhere with this…
Like an onion it has many layers…
Let me give you an example: The beaches in Maldives…
Yes they’re a
tourist attraction in the Maldives.
“Of course they are!” I hear you cry … “we sit on them it’s the reason we go!”
Physically, the first layer of the onion is sitting on those Maldives beaches.
The next layer is the whiteness of the sand and its texture.
The next layer is how the beaches and sand spits are never quite the same because of tidal influence; the next layer of this onion is that coral from the reefs make up part of the sand matrix…
... The following layer is the submerged volcanic island of rock you’re sitting on, the layer after that; the lagoons formed by parts of this submerged volcanic island breaking the surface, that’s called reefs to you and me.
… and the last layer is the tide within those reefs that cause the accumulation of the sands we sit on… and we’re back where we started on our Maldives beaches.
You see, it’s not just any sand… it’s Maldives sand.
This is the geography of the Maldives all over. As an environment fragile and beautiful, everything is dependant on everything else to survive. Guess it’s because of that fragility that we’re able to be there at all…
There are over a thousand islands at any one time. Some come and others go as these treasures of tropical vegetation and white sandy beaches are either built up or reclaimed by the surrounding sea... But worry not, the resorts are still there!
So when you arrive and wander to the beach on your first day (always get onto the beach on your first day!) think about how magical the Maldives islands are and how the amazing Maldives geography works…
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