Malosmadulu Atolls, Maldives
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.
This image originally appeared on the Earth Observatory. Click here to view the full, original record.