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This south-looking, low-oblique photograph shows (from north to south) the Ari, Male, Felidu, Nilande, Mulaku, and Kolumadulu Atolls of the Maldives. The 26 atolls of the Maldives are composed of 1,190 small coral islands. The island chain extends north-south for approximately 880 km (550 mi). The Maldives are the exposed top of a long, narrow submarine ridge whose average height is 1 to 2 m (3 to 6 ft) above sea level. Most of the atolls have spacious, deep-water lagoons suitable for ship anchorage. Image courtesy of NASA.