Encyclopedia of the World's Coastal Landforms

2010 Edition
| Editors: Eric C. F. Bird

Society Islands

  • André Guilcher
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8639-7_248


As W. M. Davis (1928) wrote, “no other archipelago in the Pacific coral seas includes so systematic a sequence of island forms as those of the Society group. The sequence begins with a young and reefless volcanic island on the east and ends in several small atolls on the northwest.” This pattern is related to the increasing age of volcanoes from east to west and an associated development of reef growth. According to recent views on ocean floor evolution, such a pattern – which is by no means unique in the Central and South Pacific – may result, as in the case of the Galapagos rise from the migration of the oceanic plate over a hot spot, in the expression of a narrow plume of subsurface mantle material rising and spreading outward. As the plate moves, successive volcanoes come into existence and subsequently become extinct. Fringing reefs develop, and as the islands subside these become barrier reefs and eventually atolls, such as Tizpai, Mopelia (Guilcher et al. 1969),...


Fringe Reef Barrier Reef Society Island Central Island Large Volcano 
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  1. Davis WM (1928) Society Islands. In the coral reef problem, Vol 9. American Geographical Society Special Publication, New York, pp 254–270 and 283–307Google Scholar
  2. Guilcher A, Berthois L, Doumenge F, Michel A, Saint-Requier A, Arnold R (1969) The reefs and coral lagoons of Mopelia and Bora-Bora (Society Islands) compared with some other reefs and lagoons (Tahiti, Scilly, Western Tuamotus). (In French with English summary). ORSTOM Memoir 38, ParisGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • André Guilcher
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Brest France