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ISS002-E-5677
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Spacecraft nadir point: 19.2° S, 139.8° W

Photo center point: 19.5° S, 139.0° W

Nadir to Photo Center: East

Spacecraft Altitude: 205 nautical miles (380km)
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3060 pixels 2092 pixels NASA's Earth Observatory web site Download Image
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400 pixels 273 pixels No No Photographic Highlights Download Image
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Image Caption: This image of the Tuamotu Archipelago, French Polynesia, illustrates diversity in the morphology of atolls, one of the major types of coral reef formations. A typical atoll structure is a lagoon surrounded by a closed rim of cays and shallow spillways that control the exchange of water between the ocean and the lagoon. However, like human beings, this general scheme may vary according to the history of each individual atoll, resulting in a high diversity of morphology, especially for small atolls. On Nukutavake (138deg48' W 19deg17' S, 6.2 km2), what was a lagoon on is now dry and completely covered by vegetation. Images such as these are useful to classify and study the atolls according to their spatial structure.

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