Letter | Published:

The Cocos-Keeling Atoll

Nature volume 85, page 41 (10 November 1910) | Download Citation



DURING a very short visit to these islands some years ago I was taken across the lagoon in a light canoe, and when wading to land, about a quarter of a mile distant, over the rough surface of fresh coral branches, I suddenly crashed downwards for about 2 feet into a mass of rotten coral which spread over an irregular area some 20 or 30 yards across. I did not investigate this further, as a shark's fin appeared above the water off shore, but Mr. Ross informed me that a good deal of the coral in the lagoon had been “killed” at various times by sulphurous exhalations from below, and had become black and rotten in consequence. Mr. Ross (the owner of the island group) supposed that the wide and deep well-like holes and broad irregular patches of varying depth in the lagoon were due to this cause, which he compared to the sulphurous steam constantly roaring from the crater of the Gedeh and other mountains in Java.

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  1. Waterstock, Oxon, October 31.

    • E. C. SPICER


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