Other Reef Types

Other Reef Types

The fringing, barrier, atoll, bank and patch structures are the basic reef structures described in reef geomorphology. Many reef systems do not fit into this classification and sub-types, hybrids or new types have been described or still need to be described. For example, the San Blas (#3) (Panama) Archipelago is dotted by four types of coral reef structures. Only two (fringing and patch reefs) fit the general terminology. Others are intermediate reef complexes and outer reef complexes exposed to the higher energy oceanic environment. The structure and seascape of the San Blas Archipelago is unique in the Caribbean, but the parallel could be done with the Great Barrier Reef: it is a matrix of reefs along the shelf, exposed to different hydroclimate influences. Many reef tracks, archipelagos or reef matrices need to be re-described because existing descriptions come from few historical sites that do not represent the entire system.

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