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39. Pearl and Hermes Reef, Hawaiian Islands
While slide #38 illustrated the evolution of coral atolls, slides #39 and #40 show how they are ultimately reclaimed by the ocean. Only two tiny islets of coral sand remain above water level (toward the upper right of the frame) on this atoll in the Pearl and Hermes Reef off Hawaii. The island platform is tilting as it subsides, and the atoll rim has been breached at several points. The webbed pattern made by sand flow channels reveals contrasting areas of shallow and deeper water in the lagoon.
STS-51D, April 1985. Picture #23-40-058