lagoon

lagoon

[luh-goon]

Area of relatively shallow, quiet water with access to the sea but separated from it by sandbars, barrier islands, or coral reefs. Coastal lagoons have low to moderate tides and constitute about 13percnt of the world's coastline. Their water is colder than the sea in winter and warmer in summer. In warm regions, evaporation may more than balance any freshwater input and may result in hypersaline water and even the buildup of thick salt deposits. Coral-reef lagoons occur on marginal reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef, but the most spectacular examples, some more than 30 mi (50 km) across, are associated with Pacific atolls.

Learn more about lagoon with a free trial on Britannica.com.

also called Courland Lagoon Lithuanian Kurshacekiu Marios Russian Kursky Zaliv

Inlet of the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the Neman River. Its northern portion is in Lithuania and its southern portion lies in Kaliningrad province, Russia. With an area of 625 sq mi (1,619 sq km), it is connected to the Baltic by a navigable strait, on which is the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda.

Learn more about Curonian Lagoon with a free trial on Britannica.com.

A lagoon is a body of comparatively shallow salt or brackish water separated from the deeper sea by a shallow or exposed sandbank, coral reef, or similar feature. Thus, the enclosed body of water behind a barrier reef or barrier islands or enclosed by an atoll reef is called a lagoon. This application of lagoon in English dates from 1769. It adapted and extended the sense of the Venetian laguna (cf Latin lacuna, ‘empty space’), which specifically referred to Venice’s shallow, island-studded stretch of saltwater, protected from the Adriatic by the barrier beaches of the Lido (see Venetian Lagoon). Lagoon refers to both coastal lagoons formed by the build-up of sandbanks or reefs along shallow coastal waters, and the lagoons in atolls, formed by the growth of coral reefs on slowly sinking central islands. Lagoons that are fed by freshwater streams are also called estuaries.

Many lagoons do not include "lagoon" in their common names. Albemarle Sound in North Carolina, Great South Bay, between Long Island and the barrier beaches of Fire Island in New York; Isle of Wight Bay, which separates Ocean City, Maryland from the rest of Worcester County, Maryland; Banana River in Florida; and Lake Illawarra in New South Wales are all lagoons, despite their names. In the UK there are lagoons at Montrose, (Scotland) and Tywyn, (Wales), whilst the expanse of water inside Chesil Beach, England, known as The Fleet, could also be described as a lagoon. There is also one near the small town of Dingle in Western Ireland. Some of the famous lagoons in India are the Chilika Lake in Orissa, near Puri, and the Vembanad Lake in Kerala. Both are connected to the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea respectively through a narrow channel.

In Latin America often the use of “laguna”, which lagoon translates to, is used to describe a lake, such as Laguna Catemaco.

Images

See also

Search another word or see lagoonon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature