What Is a Lagoon?

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A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water, such as an ocean or a lake, by a barrier, such as a sandbar or a barrier reef. Lagoons are typically found along coastal areas and can vary in size and shape. They are often characterized by calm and clear waters, making them popular for activities such as swimming, snorkeling, and boating. Lagoons also provide important habitats for a variety of plant and animal species. They are valuable ecosystems that play a role in filtering pollutants, protecting coastlines from erosion, and providing recreational opportunities for humans.

Have you ever found yourself marooned on a deserted tropical island? Most likely not! However, if you ever do, we hope that the island has a lagoon!

If you have ever watched a movie or TV show set in a tropical paradise, you might have seen people swimming in a shallow pool of water that is separated from the larger ocean by coral reefs or small islands. That is what we call a lagoon!

Of course, lagoons are not only found in tropical areas. They are common features along coastlines all over the world. Wherever there is a shallow body of water that is separated from a larger body of water by a reef or an island, it is considered a lagoon. Interestingly, the word “lagoon” originates from the Italian term “laguna,” which describes the waters around Venice.

While some people include bodies of fresh water in the definition of lagoons, others only use the term “lagoon” for bodies of salt water. If a body of water that could be classified as a lagoon receives an inflow of fresh water, it is more likely to be called an estuary.

Just because a body of water meets the definition of a lagoon does not mean that it will have “lagoon” in its name. Pamlico Sound in North Carolina, Great South Bay in New York, Banana River in Florida, and Lake Illawarra in New South Wales are all technically lagoons despite their names.

Lagoons tend to form along coastlines with a gradual slope. This often results in most lagoons being shallow and susceptible to changes in sea level. If the sea level decreases, the lagoon may dry up. Conversely, if the sea level rises, the reefs or islands may become submerged.

Some of the most breathtaking lagoons are found in tropical areas near coral reefs. When these lagoons are particularly deep and surrounded by circular coral reefs, scientists refer to them as atolls.

Try It Out

Have you ever visited a lagoon? If not, you can take a virtual tour of one through a series of online videos provided by the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. Take some time to watch these amazing videos showcasing the beauty of this area!

If you have ever read books or watched movies about the creature from the black lagoon, you might be inspired to create your own lagoon creatures. Visit the internet to learn how to make your very own homemade Creepy Lagoon Creatures!

Once you are finished, make sure to share a photo of your lagoon creature on Facebook. We are excited to see what you create!

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