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The remoteness of the Maldives seems generally to have deterred visits by scientists concerned with coral reef phenomena. The little geology that is known about the Maldives has been provided chiefly by the early work of Gardiner (1903-1906) and Sewell (1936), and the more recent studies of Stod- dart (1966) and Davies et al. (1971). The early work is characterized by an emphasis on zoological studies; the later, by emphasis of marine geomorphology and reef zonation. Considerations of the origin of Maldives atolls have been made by visitors and non-visitors alike, but these have been little more than guesses because of the absence of pre-Holocene outcrops and subsurface information. All these considerations had as their starting point the plan-view reef configurations and bathymetric soundings provided by British Admiralty Charts 66a, b and c. These have been updated a number of times since they were first published in 1839 and constitute the descriptive base for the hypotheses of Darwin (1842), Gardiner (1903), Daly (1915), and Davis (1928), among others, to explain the unusual attributes of Maldives atolls within the framework of a general theory of atoll evolution. The purpose of the present volume is to present the subsurface information provided by a single exploration well and seismic reflection profiles, respectively.

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