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A coral cay (also key or quay) is a small island made from a coral base. They are found only in the tropics because coral reefs exist in warm seas. The coral which was created underwater is uplifted or the seal level declines leading to the coral to be above sea level. Soil deposited over a period of time and birds deposit seeds which gives rise to vegetation followed by other animals. Due to wave action, the sea erodes the coral coastline and grinds it into white sand usually giving these cays great beaches.
Most of the islands in the Tongatapu Group are coral cays and most of the smaller ones are uninhabited.