Balos coastal lagoon of northwestern Crete. The shallow lagoon is separated from the Mediterranean sea by narrow shoals connecting to a small, rocky mountain.

A lagoon is a shallow body of water separated from a larger body of water by barrier islands or reefs. Lagoons are commonly divided into coastal lagoons and atoll lagoons. They have also been identified as occurring on mixed-sand and gravel coastlines. There is an overlap between bodies of water classified as coastal lagoons and bodies of water classified as estuaries. Lagoons are common coastal features around many parts of the world.


Lagoon vs. estuary

Lagoons are shallow, often elongated bodies of water separated from a larger body of water by a shallow or exposed shoal, coral reef, or similar feature. Some authorities include fresh water bodies in the definition of "lagoon", while others explicitly restrict "lagoon" to bodies of water with some degree of salinity. The distinction between "lagoon" and "estuary" also varies between authorities. Richard A. Davis Jr. restricts "lagoon" to bodies of water with little or no fresh water inflow, and little or no tidal flow, and calls any bay that receives a regular flow of fresh water an "estuary". Davis does state that the terms "lagoon" and "estuary" are "often loosely applied, even in scientific literature."[1] Timothy M. Kusky characterizes lagoons as normally being elongated parallel to the coast, while estuaries are usually drowned river valleys, elongated perpendicular to the coast.[1][2][3][4][5]

Coral reef related

When used within the context of a distinctive portion of coral reef ecosystems, the term "lagoon" is synonymous with the term "back reef" or "backreef", which is more commonly used by coral reef scientists to refer to the same area.[6] Coastal lagoons are classified as inland bodies of water.[7][8]


Many lagoons do not include "lagoon" in their common names. Albemarle and Pamlico sounds in North Carolina,[9] Great South Bay between Long Island and the barrier beaches of Fire Island in New York,[10] Isle of Wight Bay, which separates Ocean City, Maryland from the rest of Worcester County, Maryland,[11] Banana River in Florida,[12] Lake Illawarra in New South Wales,[13] Montrose Basin in Scotland,[14] and Broad Water in Wales have all been classified as lagoons, despite their names. In England, The Fleet at Chesil Beach has also been described as a lagoon.

Latin American laguna

In Latin America, the term laguna in Spanish, which lagoon translates to, may be used for a small fresh water lake in a similar way a creek is considered a small river. However, sometimes it is popularly used to describe a full-sized lake, such as Laguna Catemaco in Mexico, which is actually the third largest lake by area in the country. The brackish water lagoon may be thus explicitly identified as a "coastal lagoon" (laguna costera). In Portuguese the same usage is found: lagoa may be a body of shallow sea water, or a small freshwater lake not linked to the sea.

Other Languages
Acèh: Laguna
Адыгэбзэ: Лагунэ
Afrikaans: Strandmeer
العربية: بحيرة شاطئة
aragonés: Lacuna
asturianu: Llaguna costera
Avañe'ẽ: Ypanunga
azərbaycanca: Laqun
বাংলা: উপহ্রদ
Bân-lâm-gú: Lāi-hái
башҡортса: Лагуна
беларуская: Лагуна
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Лягуна
български: Лагуна
Boarisch: Lagune
bosanski: Laguna
català: Llacuna
Чӑвашла: Лагуна
čeština: Laguna
Cymraeg: Lagŵn
Deutsch: Lagune
eesti: Laguun
Ελληνικά: Λιμνοθάλασσα
español: Laguna costera
Esperanto: Laguno
français: Lagune
Gaeilge: Murlach
ગુજરાતી: અનૂપ તળાવ
한국어: 석호
հայերեն: Ծովալճակ
हिन्दी: अनूप झील
hrvatski: Laguna
Ido: Laguno
Bahasa Indonesia: Laguna
italiano: Laguna
עברית: לגונה
ქართული: ლაგუნა
қазақша: Лагуна
Kiswahili: Wangwa
Кыргызча: Лагуна
latviešu: Lagūna
lietuvių: Lagūna
magyar: Lagúna
македонски: Лагуна
മലയാളം: ലഗൂൺ
मराठी: खारकच्छ
მარგალური: ლაგუნა
Bahasa Melayu: Lagun
Nederlands: Lagune
日本語: ラグーン
Nordfriisk: Laguun
norsk: Lagune
norsk nynorsk: Lagune
Novial: Lagune
occitan: Lòna
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Laguna
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਤੱਟੀ ਝੀਲ
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ឡាហ្គូន
polski: Laguna
português: Laguna
română: Lagună
русиньскый: Лагуна
русский: Лагуна
Scots: Lagoon
shqip: Laguna
Simple English: Lagoon
slovenčina: Lagúna (voda)
slovenščina: Laguna
српски / srpski: Лагуна
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Laguna
suomi: Laguuni
svenska: Lagun
Tagalog: Danaw
татарча/tatarça: Лагуна
ไทย: ลากูน
Türkçe: Lagün
українська: Лагуна
vèneto: Łaguna
Tiếng Việt: Đầm phá
中文: 潟湖