What's the difference between an atoll and an island?

What's the difference between an atoll and an island?

With summer coming on, many Americans probably think atoll is simply what they pay to
cross the bridge to their favorite island.  But it's worth knowing the difference
between these two geological formations.

An island is a chunk of land surrounded by water.  Think of it as resembling the piece
of Danish you might drink with your coffee.  An atoll is more like a bagel.  It began
as a volcano in mid-ocean.  But then the volcano sinks below sea level, leaving just
the coral that forms on the rim of the crater.  Soil forms on top of the coral,
producing an island- like circular formation with a lagoon in the middle.  The
formation, or atoll, found most often in the Pacific, is also referred to as a coral

As I said, the distinction is worth knowing - unless you're a fish, to whom, I imagine,
it doesn't matter atoll.


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