North and South Malosmadulu Atolls are in the Maldives, an island republic in the northern Indian Ocean, southwest of India. The Maldives are made up of a chain of 1,192 small coral islands, which are grouped into clusters of atolls. It has a total area of 298 square kilometers and a population of about 330,000. The capital and largest city is Male, with a population of about 80,000. Arguably the lowest-lying country in the world, the average elevation is just 1 meter above sea level.
Waves triggered by the great tsunami of December 2004 spilled over sea walls to flood Male with sand-clouded water and then swept out just as suddenly. Residents fear this was a foreboding of disasters to come from sea-level rise due to global warming.
The natural-color ASTER image of the Malosmadulu Atolls was acquired on December 22, 2002, and is centered near 5.3 degrees North latitude, 73.9 degrees West longitude.
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This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.