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(1) A shallow natural water basin connected with the sea by a narrow strait (or straits) or separated from the sea by a bar, a strip of alluvial land. Because of its weak link with the open sea or its complete isolation from it, the lagoon has a salinity that is different from the sea’s (either higher or lower) and distinctive lagoon deposits and flora and fauna. Lagoons form as the result of the separation of a segment of the offshore waters of a sea or lake by a coastal bar or spit or other accumulative coastal formation. Lagoons that are separated by a bar extend parallel to the shore. Lagoon coasts may stretch for thousands of kilometers, for example, the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In the USSR lagoon coasts are common on the Black Sea north of the Danube, the eastern shore of the Caspian Sea, the Island of Sakhalin, and the Kamchatka and Chukchi peninsulas.
(2) A section of sea lying between coral reefs and the coast of a continent or island or within an atoll.