Albufera’s etymology takes us to the Greek language. The concept refers to a lagoon that is located on a coastline and that presents salty or brackish water. The lagoons are separated from the ocean by a more or less wide strip of sand, although it remains connected to the sea in certain sectors.
An lagoon is formed from a silting process, which implies that various sediments accumulate over the years. When silting is carried out in a bay, river or marine sediments can lead to the development of a lagoon.
The Albufera de Mallorca is an example of these lagoons. Located in the Balearic Islands, a series of dunes separate the lagoon from the sea. This lagoon is protected by a natural park of just over 1,700 hectares.
Also in Spain the Albufera of Valencia stands out, known simply as La Albufera. In this case, the natural park created around the lagoon covers 21,000 hectares.
There are lagoons that are known under another name, such as the Mar Chiquita lagoon in the Province of Buenos Aires (Argentina). The UNESCO declared this albufera World Biosphere Reserve.
Synonyms for lagoon and foreign terms
As with most technical terms, since this type of accident coastline geographical can be seen in many parts of the planet, it also receives different names depending on the country and language. Regarding the word Albufera, it is important to note that it is used almost exclusively on Spanish soil.
Some of the alternative names, set out below, have certain conceptual differences, so it is recommended to take them into account and not assume that all the terms are interchangeable. In fact, many of them have been incorporated into our language in order to describe accidents with their particularities.
The word ayre, for example, is used in Scotland and refers to a small lagoon that is not totally connected to the sea, but is separated from it by a sedimentary accident called a tombolo, which may be a bar that It produces a narrow tongue of land that is located between the mainland and a rock or island off the coast, between two rocks or in the middle of two islands.
On the other hand we have the term barachois, used in Canada to define a brackish body of water that is not connected to the sea, since between these there is a space of land, gravel pits or sand. Its resemblance to the lagoon is considerable.
In the sea Baltic talking about bodden to define certain estuarine brackish lagoons. The word estero, widely used in Latin America, refers to swampy lagoons; in Spain it refers to those lagoons that are used as salt flats.
Then we can find the French term étang, which is used on the Mediterranean coast as a synonym for lagoon or pond, although from a geomorphological point of view it is equivalent to lagoon.
In English-speaking countries the word lagoon is used for any type of lagoon that is separated from the ocean, regardless of whether it is divided by a coastal cord, a sandbar or a barrier island. The versatility of this term is remarkable, as it is also used to describe the lagoons found within atolls and coral reefs.
The list goes even further, and among the various synonyms are lagoon (used off the coast of Italy), liman (in Ukraine and Russia), and sabkha (in some Arab countries).