GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Atoll. Survey of the South Keeling or Cocos Islands drawn by the crew of HMS Beagle, which included Charles Darwin, during 2-12 April 1836. The atoll consists of several small islands surr- ounding a central lagoon. The elevation section (lower frame) shows that the lagoon is shallow whilst the islands barely rise above sea level. Darwin (1809-82) was an unpaid naturalist aboard the Beagle during its voyage of 1831-36. In Distribution of Coral Reefs (1842) and Geolog- ical Observations on Volcanic Islands (1844), he argued that atolls provided evidence that the surface of the Earth changed gradually and not through a series of catastrophes.
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