Exceptional Coral Reef and Lagoon Geomorphology in French Polynesia

  • Samuel EtienneEmail author
Part of the World Geomorphological Landscapes book series (WGLC)


Tahiti and her islands were exemplified by C. Darwin to support his theory on coral reef evolution around oceanic islands. The Austral Isles, nearby Tahiti, offer an illustration of this theory – now explained by the plate tectonic theory – but also present singular deviation due to the presence of several hotspots leading to localized uplifting. Volcanic geomorphology and karst development on uplifted coral reef are then peculiar ingredients of the archipelago and deserve a close outlook. High-energy events, such as tropical cyclones, are an essential forcing agent of morphogenesis. Finally, reefal bioerosion adds its own flavour to offer a unique Polynesian landscape.


Oceanic islands Pacific Ocean Volcano-karstic landforms Coral reefs Tropical cyclone Biogeomorphology 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecole Pratique des Hautes-EtudesLabex CORAILParisFrance

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