fringing reef

noun
a coral reef close to and along the land.

Origin:
1835–45

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Collins
World English Dictionary
fringing reef
 
n
a coral reef close to the shore to which it is attached, having a steep seaward edge

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
fringing reef  [%PREMIUM_LINK%]     (frĭn'jĭng)  Pronunciation Key 
A coral reef formed close to the shoreline of an island or continent. Fringing reefs usually have a rough, tablelike surface that is exposed during low tide and a steep edge sloping toward the open water. Compare atoll, barrier reef.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
There are only a few houses in a single cluster, right on the beach, with a
  beautiful fringing reef.
If the reef extended from the shoreline, it would be a fringing reef.
As coral grows on this rocky wave-cut platform, it forms a fringing reef.
It is a sandy, coral island with a narrow fringing reef.
Images for fringing reef
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