25°37'32.38"N - latitude 36°44'27.66"E - longitude

This is between Umluj and Al Wajh on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. I can't find any kind of identification in English or Arabic.

So I am looking for the name and the category of this body of water and landform. To me, it seems to resemble a coral reef, but there are some islands.


2 Answers 2


The area you describe looks like the following (from Google Maps):

enter image description here

According to the World Atlas of Coral Reefs, a picture of this very reef appears on page 240. The caption for it describes the feature as being the Al Wadj Bank and consisting of fringe and barrier reefs.

There has been a relatively recent study of coral reefs along the Saudi Arabian Red Sea coast, of particular emphasis on reefs between the cities of Haql and Yanbu, published in the paper The Present Status of the Red Sea Coral Reefs between Haql and Yanbu, Saudi Arabia (Hariri, 2012). In the article, they describe that in terms of Red Sea reefs:

  • Island fringing reefs exist between the Al Wajh Bank to Umluj
  • Reticulate patch reefs, composed of interconnected networks of reef matrix separated by sand also are documented to occur in the area.

The literature seems to use both Al Wajh and Al Wadj for the spelling.


The semi-enclosed body of water can probably be called a reef lagoon.

A coral reef lagoon is that body of water that lies within an atoll (annular) reef or within a barrier reef. It is generally assumed that an appreciable depth of water is maintained within the lagoon, say 5-50 meters. Those reef platforms which have some shallow pools a few feet deep that show up especially at low tide have sometimes been called pseudoatolls or pseudatolls, and their pools thus “pseudolagoons” or “miniature lagoons,” but these terms are not recommended. The miniature lagoon of a faro (q.v.) is termed a “velu.” The terms “moat” or “lagoonlet” are often used for pools on platform reefs.

Coral lagoons are restricted to tropical open seas that provide the conditions necessary for coral growth. They are best exemplified by the roughly circular quiet waters that are surrounded by warm-water coral atoll reefs. Coral lagoons occur widely in the western Pacific, in parts of the Indian Ocean, and in isolated places in the Caribbean, mainly within 25° latitude of the Equator. Coral lagoons are of great importance to many island communities in the Pacific, particularly where they provide the only quiet water for use as harbours, although the passage through the reef into the lagoon is often perilous.

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    – uhoh
    May 2, 2021 at 2:08

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