Reef

A reef is a ridge or shoal of rock, coral or similar relatively stable material, lying beneath the surface of a natural body of water.[1] Many reefs result from natural, abiotic processes—deposition of sand,[citation needed] wave erosion planing down rock outcrops, etc.—but there are also reefs such as the coral reefs of tropical waters formed by biotic processes dominated by corals and coralline algae, and artificial reefs such as shipwrecks and other anthropogenic underwater structures may occur intentionally or as the result of an accident, and sometimes have a designed role in enhancing the physical complexity of featureless sand bottoms, to attract a more diverse assemblage of organisms. Reefs are often quite near to the surface, but not all definitions require this.[1]

Coral reef at Nusa Lembongan, Bali, Indonesia
Pamalican island with surrounding reef, Sulu Sea, Philippines
A reef surrounding an islet

Earth's largest coral reef system is the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, at a length of over 2,300 kilometres (1,400 miles).


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