It began with the boiling of waters, 22 miles from the island of fire
. In July 1861 there
developed a smell of sulphur in the air, and jets of hot water and
cinders were spat from the
ocean. Dead fish floated on the surface. Where? Just 50 km south of
Sicily in the Mediterranean Ocean.
That was the return of a long silent submarine volcano, which last
showed activity around the year 0.
Later in August the volcano had rised to above sea-level, although
still only some couple of
rock, but the British Navy though it was very suitable as a base to
control the traffic in the Mediterranean,
as it was closer to the European continent than the island of Malta.
They claimed the new island, and gave it the name of Graham Island.
But the King of Sicily thought just the same, and immideatley sent
his ships in 1870 to the rock
and named it Ferdinandea, removed the Union Jack and placed his own
France sent a geologist to the island and hoped they could find some
use for it, and Spain
could not sit still and wait to see what happened, so they also showed
For five months
conflict raged in newspapers and elsewhere as the different nations
over a 60 m high piece of basalt. Tourists travelled to the island
to see its two small lakes.
Sailors watched it when passing by, and nobles of the House of Bourbon
to set up a top-class holiday resort on its beaches. But it was no
Little by little, the island sank back beneath the waters, and by
17 December 1831,
officials reported no trace of it.
seamount of Graham/Ferdinandea has lived on in charts, its summit
– only eight metres
below the surface – a constant hazard for shipping. From time to time
it has sent up some gas
and had the water boiling around the summit, and in 1987, an American
pilot on the way to
bomb Libya thought the rock a submarine, and dropped his bombs on
Partly from a story from Independent, London / England | Rose George
- Sep 26.01
Scientists monitoring the Tyrrhenian seabed say there are significant
signs that the seamount,
lying 23 miles from Sciacca on the coast of Sicily, could make a spectacular
So to be sure there is no doubt to which nation the island belongs,
an italian diver was recently visiting the submarine volcano, and
planted the Italian flag 8 m below sealevel. The European Community
will no doubt invite is as it's next member....