Graham Island , or Isle of Julia, a volcanic island, which appeared in the Mediterranean in July, 1831, and disappeared toward the close of October. The locality was about midway between Sciacca in Sicily and the island of Pantellaria, lat. 37° 8' N., lon. 12° 42' E. The depth of water had been found, a few years before, to exceed 100 fathoms. An earthquake shock was felt over the spot three weeks before the appearance of the island; and on July 10, a few days before land was observed, a waterspout was seen by a Sicilian navigator, which was succeeded by an immense column of steam rising to the estimated height of 1,800 feet. Fire was seen on the 17th by the master of the brig Adelaide of London. On the 18th the Sicilian captain, repassing the spot, found, a small island, 12 ft. out of water, with a crater in its centre, ejecting volcanic matter and immense columns of vapor. About the same time Commander Swinburne, R. N., reported it to be 70 or 80 yards in external diameter, and its lip as thin as it could be consistent with its height, which might be 20 ft. above the sea at the highest point. On July 23, as reported and sketched by Mr. Russell of II. M. ship St. Vincent, the circumference of the island was three fourths of a mile, and its highest point 80 ft. above the water.
At that time columns of water were ejected to the height of 800 to 1,000 ft., and scoriae were thrown, it was supposed, twice as high. The first landing was effected on Aug. 3, by Capt. Senhouse of the St. Vincent, who hoisted the British flag, and called the island by the name which was afterward adopted by the royal and geographical societies. The island was then from 1 1/4 to l 1/3 m. in circumference, and its highest point was about 180 ft. above the surface. A deep circular crater lay between two longitudinal hills, by which it was entirely shut in except for about 250 yards on its S. E. side, where a bank only 3 ft. high separated it from the sea. The crater was filled with boiling salt water of a dingy red color, from which rose a nauseous and oppressive vapor. The only gas evolved in large quantity was carbonic acid. Some authorities have made it about this time to be 3 m. in circumference, with a maximum height exceeding 200 ft. On Aug. 25 it was reduced to 2 m., and on Sept. 3 to only 3/5 m., with a maximum height of 107 ft. The crater was then 780 yards in circumference. The materials which composed the island were scoria), pumice, and lapilli, arranged in regular strata which sloped steeply away from the crater.
The only substances found not of volcanic nature were fragments of dolomitic limestone. No lava was ever seen to flow, and no solid beds were formed which could resist the action of the waves. By these all the loose materials were washed away, so that at the close of October it may be said to have entirely disappeared. Two years afterward Capt. Swinburne found a dangerous reef at the spot, in the centre of which was a black rock of the diameter of 26 fathoms, from 9 to 11 ft. under water. Around it, extending GO fathoms to deep water, were banks of black volcanic stones and loose sand. The black rock in the centre was supposed by Lyell to be solid lava which rose in the crater and became solidified and formed a dike. Another shoal 450 ft. S. W. of the great reef marked the spot where another outbreak of boiling water and steam had been observed in the month of August, 1831. In July, 1863, the island reappeared, and in a few weeks rose to the height of 200 or 260 ft.; but it \vas soon demolished by the wash of the waves. The volcano had appeared once or twice previous to 1831. It is said that a smoking island existed in this spot about the year 1801, and the shoal is marked in old charts.
This island has been called by seven names, and is sometimes still known as Ferdinandea.