Off the coast of Iceland islands have appeared during several of the volcanic eruptions which that remote dependency of Denmark has manifested, and at various periods in Iceland’s history the sea has been covered with pumice and other debris, which tell their own tale of what has been going on, without being in sufficient quantity to reach the surface in the form of an island mass. The sea off Reykjanes—Smoky Cape, as the name means—has been a frequent scene of these submarine eruptions. In 1240, during what the Icelandic historians describe as the eighth outburst, a number of islets were formed, though most of them subsequently disappeared, only to have their places occupied by others born at a later date. In 1422 high rocks of considerable circumference appeared. In 1783, about a month before the eruption of Skaptar Jokull, a volcanic island named Nyoe, from which fire and smoke issued, was built up. But in time it vanished under the waves, all that remains of it to-day being a reef from five to thirty-five fathoms below the sea-level. In 1830, after several long-continued eruptions of the usual character, another isle arose; while at the same time the skerries known as the Geirfuglaska disappeared, and with them vanished the great auks, or gare-fowls—birds now extinct—which up to that time had bred on them. At all events, though the auks could not well have been drowned, no traces of them were seen after the date mentioned. In July, 1884, an island again appeared about ten miles off Reykjanes; but it is already beginning to diminish in size, and may soon disappear.
Elsewhere in the region of the northern seas there are other instances of the influence of the submarine forces in raising up and lowering land. The coast of Alaska is a region of intense volcanic action. In 1795, during a period of volcanic activity in the craters of Makushina, on Unalaska, and in others on Umnak Island, a volume of smoke was seen to rise out of the sea about 42 miles to the north of Unalaska, and the next year it was followed by a heap of cindery material, from which arose flame and volcanic matter, the glow being visible over a radius of ten miles. In four years the island grew into a large cone, 3000 feet above the sea-level, and two or three miles in circumference. Two years later it was still so hot that when some hunters landed on it they found the soil too warm for walking. It was named Ionna Bogoslova (St. John the Theologian), by the Russians, Agashagok by the Aleuts, and is now known to the whites of that region as Bogosloff. Mr. Dall believes that it occupies the site of some rocks that existed there as long as tradition extends.