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much as ten miles from it; coloured pale blue. A little distance northward we have the LAUGHLAN Islands, the reefs round which are engraved in the “Atlas of the Voyage of the ‘Astrolabe’,” in the same manner as in the encircled islands of the Caroline Archipelago, the reef is, in parts, a mile and a half from the shore, to which it does not appear to be attached; coloured blue. At some little distance from the extremity of the Louisiade lies the WELLS reef, described in G. Hamilton’s “Voyage in H.M.S. ‘Pandora'” (page 100): it is said, “We found we had got embayed in a double reef, which will soon be an island.” As this statement is only intelligible on the supposition of the reef being crescent or horse-shoe formed, like so many other submerged annular reefs, I have ventured to colour it blue.


The chart in Krusenstern’s “Atlas” shows that these islands are not encircled, and as coral appears from the works of Surville, Bougainville, and Labillardiere, to grow on their shores, this circumstance, as in the case of the New Hebrides, is a presumption that they are fringed. I cannot find out anything from D’Entrecasteaux’s “Voyage,” regarding the southern islands of the group, so have left them uncoloured.–MALAYTA Island in a rough MS. chart in the Admiralty has its northern shore fringed.–YSABEL Island, the N.E. part of this island, in the same chart, is also fringed: Mendana, speaking (Burney, volume i., page 280) of an islet adjoining the northern coast, says it is surrounded by reefs; the shores, also of Port Praslin appear regularly fringed.–CHOISEUL Island. In Bougainville’s “Chart of Choiseul Bay,” parts of the shores are fringed by coral-reefs.– BOUGAINVILLE Island. According to D’Entrecasteaux the western shore abounds with coral-reefs, and the smaller islands are said to be attached to the larger ones by reefs; all the before-mentioned islands have been coloured red.–BOUKA Islands. Captain Duperrey has kindly informed me in a letter that he passed close round the northern side of this island (of which a plan is given in his “Atlas of the ‘Coquille’s’ Voyage”), and that it was “garnie d’une bande de recifs a fleur d’eau adherentes au rivage;” and he infers, from the abundance of coral on the islands north and south of Bouka, that the reef probably is of coral; coloured red.

Off the north coast of the Solomon Archipelago there are several small groups which are little known; they appear to be low, and of coral-formation; and some of them probably have an atoll-like structure; the Chevallier Dillon, however, informs me that this is not the case with the B. de CANDELARIA.–OUTONG JAVA, according to the Spanish navigator, Maurelle, is thus characterised; but this is the only one which I have ventured to colour blue.


The shores of the S.W. point of this island and some adjoining islets, are fringed by reefs, as may be seen in the “Atlases of the Voyages of the ‘Coquille’ and ‘Astrolabe’.” M. Lesson observes that the reefs are open in front of each streamlet. The DUKE OF YORK’S Island is also fringed; but with regard to the other parts of NEW IRELAND, NEW HANOVER, and the small islands lying northward, I have been unable to obtain any information. I will only add that no part of New Ireland appears to be fronted by distant reefs. I have coloured red only the above specified portions.


From the charts in the “Voyage of the ‘Astrolabe’,” and from the “Hydrog. Memoir,” it appears that these coasts are entirely without reefs, as are the SCHOUTEN Islands, lying close to the northern shore of New Guinea. The western and south-western parts of New Guinea, will be treated of when we come to the islands of the East Indian Archipelago.


From the accounts by Bougainville, Maurelle, D’Entrecasteaux, and the scattered notices collected by Horsburgh, it appears, that some of the many islands composing it, are high, with a bold outline; and others are very low, small and interlaced with reefs. All the high islands appear to be fronted by distant reefs rising abruptly from the sea, and within some of which there is reason to believe that the water is deep. I have therefore little doubt they are of the barrier class.–In the southern part of the group we have ELIZABETH Island, which is surrounded by a reef at the distance of a mile; and two miles eastward of it (Krusenstern, “Append.” 1835, page 42) there is a little island containing a lagoon.–Near here, also lies CIRCULAR-REEF (Horsburgh, “Direct.” volume i., page 691, 4th edition), “three or four miles in diameter having deep water inside with an opening at the N.N.W. part, and on the outside steep to.” I have from these data, coloured the group pale blue, and CIRCULAR-REEF dark blue.–the ANACHORITES, ECHEQUIER, and HERMITES, consist of innumerable low islands of coral-formation, which probably have atoll-like forms; but not being able to ascertain this, I have not coloured them, nor DUROUR Island, which is described by Carteret as low.

The CAROLINE ARCHIPELAGO is now well-known, chiefly from the hydrographical labours of Lutke; it contains about forty groups of atolls, and three encircled islands, two of which are engraved in Figures 2 and 7, Plate I. Commencing with the eastern part; the encircling reef round UALEN appears to be only about half a mile from the shore; but as the land is low and covered with mangroves (“Voyage autour du Monde,” par F. Lutke, volume i., page 339), the real margin has not probably been ascertained. The extreme depth in one of the harbours within the reef is thirty-three fathoms (see charts in “Atlas of ‘Coquille’s’ Voyage”), and outside at half a mile distant from the reef, no bottom was obtained with two hundred and fifty fathoms. The reef is surmounted by many islets, and the lagoon-like channel within is mostly shallow, and appears to have been much encroached on by the low land surrounding the central mountains; these facts show that time has allowed much detritus to accumulate; coloured pale blue.– POUYNIPETE, or Seniavine. In the greater part of the circumference of this island, the reef is about one mile and three quarters distant; on the north side it is five miles off the included high islets. The reef is broken in several places; and just within it, the depth in one place is thirty fathoms, and in another, twenty-eight, beyond which, to all appearance, there was “un porte vaste et sur” (Lutke, volume ii., page 4); coloured pale blue.–HOGOLEU or ROUG. This wonderful group contains at least sixty-two islands, and its reef is one hundred and thirty-five miles in circuit. Of the islands, only a few, about six or eight (see “Hydrog. Descrip.” page 428, of the “Voyage of the ‘Astrolabe’,” and the large accompanying chart taken chiefly from that given by Duperrey) are high, and the rest are all small, low, and formed on the reef. The depth of the great interior lake has not been ascertained; but Captain D’Urville appears to have entertained no doubt about the possibility of taking in a frigate. The reef lies no less than fourteen miles distant from the northern coasts of the interior high islands, seven from their western sides, and twenty from the southern; the sea is deep outside. This island is a likeness on a grand scale to the Gambier group in the Low Archipelago. Of the groups of low (In D’Urville and Lottin’s chart, Peserare is written with capital letters; but this evidently is an error, for it is one of the low islets on the reef of Namonouyto (see Lutke’s charts)–a regular atoll.) islands forming the chief part of the Caroline Archipelago, all those of larger size, have the true atoll-structure (as may be seen in the “Atlas” by Captain Lutke), and some even of the very small ones, as MACASKILL and DUPERREY, of which plans are given in the “Atlas of the ‘Coquille’s’ Voyage.” There are, however, some low small islands of coral-formation, namely OLLAP, TAMATAM, BIGALI, SATAHOUAL, which do not contain lagoons; but it is probable that lagoons originally existed, but have since filled up: Lutke (volume ii., page 304) seems to have thought that all the low islands, with only one exception, contained lagoons. From the sketches, and from the manner in which the margins of these islands are engraved in the “Atlas of the Voyage of the ‘Coquille’,” it might have been thought that they were not low; but by a comparison with the remarks of Lutke (volume ii., page 107, regarding Bigali) and of Freycinet (“Hydrog. Memoir ‘L’Uranie’ Voyage,” page 188, regarding Tamatam, Ollap, etc.), it will be seen that the artist must have represented the land incorrectly. The most southern island in the group, namely PIGUIRAM, is not coloured, because I have found no account of it. NOUGOUOR, or MONTE VERDISON, which was not visited by Lutke, is described and figured by Mr. Bennett (“United Service Journal,” January 1832) as an atoll. All the above-mentioned islands have been coloured blue.


FAIS Island is ninety feet high, and is surrounded, as I have been informed by Admiral Lutke, by a narrow reef of living coral, of which the broadest part, as represented in the charts, is only 150 yards; coloured red.– PHILIP Island., I believe, is low; but Hunter, in his “Historical Journal,” gives no clear account of it; uncoloured.–ELIVI; from the manner in which the islets on the reefs are engraved, in the “Atlas of the ‘Astrolabe’s’ Voyage,” I should have thought they were above the ordinary height, but Admiral Lutke assures me this is not the case: they form a regular atoll; coloured blue.–GOUAP (EAP of Chamisso), is a high island with a reef (see chart in “Voyage of the ‘Astrolabe'”), more than a mile distant in most parts from the shore, and two miles in one part. Captain D’Urville thinks that there would be anchorage (“Hydrog. Descript. ‘Astrolabe’ Voyage,” page 436) for ships within the reef, if a passage could be found; coloured pale blue.–GOULOU, from the chart in the “‘Astrolabe’s’ Atlas,” appears to be an atoll. D’Urville (“Hydrog. Descript.” page 437) speaks of the low islets on the reef; coloured dark blue.


Krusenstern speaks of some of the islands being mountainous; the reefs are distant from the shore, and there are spaces within them, and not opposite valleys, with from ten to fifteen fathoms. According to a MS. chart of the group by Lieutenant Elmer in the Admiralty, there is a large space within the reef with deepish water; although the high land does not hold a central position with respect to the reefs, as is generally the case, I have little doubt that the reefs of the Pelew Islands ought to be ranked with the barrier class, and I have coloured them pale blue. In Lieutenant Elmer’s chart there is a horseshoe-formed shoal, laid down thirteen miles N.W. of Pelew, with fifteen fathoms within the reef, and some dry banks on it; coloured dark blue.–SPANISH, MARTIRES, SANSEROT, PULO ANNA and MARIERE Islands are not coloured, because I know nothing about them, excepting that according to Krusenstern, the second, third, and fourth mentioned, are low, placed on coral-reefs, and therefore, perhaps, contain lagoons; but Pulo Mariere is a little higher.


GUAHAN. Almost the whole of this island is fringed by reefs, which extend in most parts about a third of a mile from the land. Even where the reefs are most extensive, the water within them is shallow. In several parts there is a navigable channel for boats and canoes within the reefs. In Freycinet’s “Hydrog. Mem.” there is an account of these reefs, and in the “Atlas,” a map on a large scale; coloured red.–ROTA. “L’ile est presque entierement entouree des recifs” (page 212, Freycinet’s “Hydrog. Mem.”). These reefs project about a quarter of a mile from the shore; coloured red.–TINIAN. THE EASTERN coast is precipitous, and is without reefs; but the western side is fringed like the last island; coloured red.–SAYPAN. The N.E. coast, and likewise the western shores appear to be fringed; but there is a great, irregular, horn-like reef projecting far from this side; coloured red.–FARALLON DE MEDINILLA, appears so regularly and closely fringed in Freycinet’s charts, that I have ventured to colour it red, although nothing is said about reefs in the “Hydrographical Memoir.” The several islands which form the northern part of the group are volcanic (with the exception perhaps of Torres, which resembles in form the madreporitic island of Medinilla), and appear to be without reefs.–MANGS, however, is described (by Freycinet, page 219, “Hydrog.”) from some Spanish charts, as formed of small islands placed “au milieu des nombreux recifs;” and as these reefs in the general chart of the group do not project so much as a mile; and as there is no appearance from a double line, of the existence of deep water within, I have ventured, although with much hesitation, to colour them red. Respecting FOLGER and MARSHALL Islands which lie some way east of the Marianas, I can find out nothing, excepting that they are probably low. Krusenstern says this of Marshall Island; and Folger Island is written with small letters in D’Urville’s chart; uncoloured.


PEEL Island has been examined by Captain Beechey, to whose kindness I am much indebted for giving me information regarding it: “At Port Lloyd there is a great deal of coral; and the inner harbour is entirely formed by coral-reefs, which extend outside the port along the coast.” Captain Beechey, in another part of his letter to me, alludes to the reefs fringing the island in all directions; but at the same time it must be observed that the surf washes the volcanic rocks of the coast in the greater part of its circumference. I do not know whether the other islands of the Archipelago are fringed; I have coloured Peel Island red.–GRAMPUS Island to the eastward, does not appear (Meare’s “Voyage,” page 95) to have any reefs, nor does ROSARIO Island (from Lutke’s chart), which lies to the westward. Respecting the few other islands in this part of the sea, namely the SULPHUR Islands, with an active volcano, and those lying between Bonin and Japan (which are situated near the extreme limit in latitude, at which reefs are formed), I have not been able to find any clear account.


PORT DORY. From the charts in the “Voyage of the ‘Coquille’,” it would appear that the coast in this part is fringed by coral-reefs; M. Lesson, however, remarks that the coral is sickly; coloured red.–WAIGIOU. A considerable portion of the northern shores of these islands is seen in the charts (on a large scale) in Freycinet’s “Atlas” to be fringed by coral-reefs. Forrest (page 21, “Voyage to New Guinea”) alludes to the coral-reefs lining the heads of Piapis Bay; and Horsburgh (volume ii., page 599, 4th edition), speaking of the islands in Dampier Strait, says “sharp coral-rocks line their shores;” coloured red.–In the sea north of these islands, we have GUEDES (or FREEWILL, or ST. DAVID’S), which from the chart given in the 4to edition of Carteret’s “Voyage,” must be an atoll. Krusenstern says the islets are very low; coloured blue.–CARTERET’S SHOALS, in 2 deg 53′ N., are described as circular, with stony points showing all round, with deeper water in the middle; coloured blue.–AIOU; the plan of this group, given in the “Atlas of the Voyage of the ‘Astrolabe’,” shows that it is an atoll; and, from a chart in Forrest’s “Voyage,” it appears that there is twelve fathoms within the circular reef; coloured blue.–The S.W. coast of New Guinea appears to be low, muddy, and devoid of reefs. The ARRU, TIMOR-LAUT, and TENIMBER groups have lately been examined by Captain Kolff, the MS. translation of which, by Mr. W. Earl, I have been permitted to read, through the kindness of Captain Washington, R.N. These islands are mostly rather low, and are surrounded by distant reefs (the Ki Islands, however, are lofty, and, from Mr. Stanley’s survey, appear without reefs); the sea in some parts is shallow, in others profoundly deep (as near Larrat). From the imperfection of the published charts, I have been unable to decide to which class these reefs belong. From the distance to which they extend from the land, where the sea is very deep, I am strongly inclined to believe they ought to come within the barrier class, and be coloured blue; but I have been forced to leave them uncoloured.–The last-mentioned groups are connected with the east end of Ceram by a chain of small islands, of which the small groups of CERAM-LAUT, GORAM and KEFFING are surrounded by very extensive reefs, projecting into deep water, which, as in the last case, I strongly suspect belong to the barrier class; but I have not coloured them. From the south side of Keffing, the reefs project five miles (Windsor Earl’s “Sailing Direct. for the Arafura Sea,” page 9).


In various charts which I have examined, several parts of the coast are represented as fringed by reefs.–MANIPA Island, between Ceram and Bourou, in an old MS. chart in the Admiralty, is fringed by a very irregular reef, partly dry at low water, which I do not doubt is of coral-formation; both islands coloured red.–BOUROU; parts of this island appear fringed by coral-reefs, namely, the eastern coast, as seen in Freycinet’s chart; and CAJELI BAY, which is said by Horsburgh (volume ii., page 630) to be lined by coral-reefs, that stretch out a little way, and have only a few feet water on them. In several charts, portions of the islands forming the AMBOINA GROUP are fringed by reefs; for instance, NOESSA, HARENCA, and UCASTER, in Freycinet’s charts. The above-mentioned islands have been coloured red, although the evidence is not very satisfactory.–North of Bourou the parallel line of the XULLA Isles extends: I have not been able to find out anything about them, excepting that Horsburgh (volume ii., page 543) says that the northern shore is surrounded by a reef at the distance of two or three miles; uncoloured.–MYSOL GROUP; the Kanary Islands are said by Forrest (“Voyage,” page 130) to be divided from each other by deep straits, and are lined with coral-rocks; coloured red.–GUEBE, lying between Waigiou and Gilolo, is engraved as if fringed; and it is said by Freycinet, that all the soundings under five fathoms were on coral; coloured red.–GILOLO. In a chart published by Dalrymple, the numerous islands on the western, southern (BATCHIAN and the STRAIT OF PATIENTIA), and eastern sides appear fringed by narrow reefs; these reefs, I suppose, are of coral, for it is said in “Malte Brun” (volume xii., page 156), “Sur les cotes (of Batchian) comme DANS LES PLUPART des iles de cet archipel, il y a de rocs de medrepores d’une beaute et d’une variete infimies.” Forrest, also (page 50), says Seland, near Batchian, is a little island with reefs of coral; coloured red.–MORTY Island (north of Gilolo). Horsburgh (volume ii., page 506) says the northern coast is lined by reefs, projecting one or two miles, and having no soundings close to them; I have left it uncoloured, although, as in some former cases, it ought probably to be pale blue.–CELEBES. The western and northern coasts appear in the charts to be bold and without reefs. Near the extreme northern point, however, an islet in the STRAITS OF LIMBE, and parts of the adjoining shore, appear to be fringed: the east side of the bay of MANADO, has deep water, and is fringed by sand and coral (“‘Astrol.’ Voyage,” Hydrog. Part, pages 453-4); this extreme point, therefore, I have coloured red.–Of the islands leading from this point to Magindanao, I have not been able to find any account, except of SERANGANI, which appears surrounded by narrow reefs; and Forrest (“Voyage,” page 164) speaks of coral on its shores; I have, therefore, coloured this island red. To the eastward of this chain lie several islands; of which I cannot find any account, except of KARKALANG, which is said by Horsburgh (volume ii., page 504) to be lined by a dangerous reef, projecting several miles from the northern shore; not coloured.


The account of the following islands is taken from Captain D. Kolff’s “Voyage,” in 1825, translated by Mr. W. Earl, from the Dutch.–LETTE has “reefs extending along shore at the distance of half a mile from the land.”–MOA has reefs on the S.W. part.–LAKOR has a reef lining its shore; these islands are coloured red.–Still more eastward, LUAN has, differently from the last-mentioned islands, an extensive reef; it is steep outside, and within there is a depth of twelve feet; from these facts, it is impossible to decide to which class this island belongs.–KISSA, off the point of Timor, has its “shore fronted by a reef, steep too on the outer side, over which small proahs can go at the time of high water;” coloured red.–TIMOR; most of the points, and some considerable spaces of the northern shore, are seen in Freycinet’s chart to be fringed by coral-reefs; and mention is made of them in the accompanying “Hydrog. Memoir;” coloured red.–SAVU, S.E. of Timor, appears in Flinders’ chart to be fringed; but I have not coloured it, as I do not know that the reefs are of coral.– SANDALWOOD Island has, according to Horsburgh (volume ii., page 607), a reef on its southern shore, four miles distant from the land; as the neighbouring sea is deep, and generally bold, this probably is a barrier- reef, but I have not ventured to colour it.


It appears, in Captain King’s Sailing Directions (“Narrative of Survey,” volume ii, pages 325-369), that there are many extensive coral-reefs skirting, often at considerable distances, the N.W. shores, and encompassing the small adjoining islets. Deep water, in no instance, is represented in the charts between these reefs and the land; and, therefore, they probably belong to the fringing class. But as they extend far into the sea, which is generally shallow, even in places where the land seems to be somewhat precipitous; I have not coloured them. Houtman’s Abrolhos (latitude 28 deg S. on west coast) have lately been surveyed by Captain Wickham (as described in “Naut. Mag.” 1841, page 511): they lie on the edge of a steeply shelving bank, which extends about thirty miles seaward, along the whole line of coast. The two southern reefs, or islands, enclose a lagoon-like space of water, varying in depth from five to fifteen fathoms, and in one spot with twenty-three fathoms. The greater part of the island has been formed on their inland sides, by the accumulation of fragments of coral; the seaward face consisting of nearly bare ledges of rock. Some of the specimens, brought home by Captain Wickham, contained fragments of marine shells, but others did not; and these closely resembled a formation at King George’s Sound, principally due to the action of the wind on calcareous dust, which I shall describe in a forthcoming part. From the extreme irregularity of these reefs with their lagoons, and from their position on a bank, the usual depth of which is only thirty fathoms, I have not ventured to class them with atolls, and hence have left them uncoloured.–ROWLEY SHOALS. These lie some way from the N.W. coast of Australia: according to Captain King (“Narrative of Survey,” volume i., page 60), they are of coral-formation. They rise abruptly from the sea, and Captain King had no bottom with 170 fathoms close to them. Three of them are crescent-shaped; they are mentioned by Mr. Lyell, on the authority of Captain King, with reference to the direction of their open sides. “A third oval reef of the same group is entirely submerged” (“Principles of Geology,” book iii. chapter xviii.); coloured blue.–SCOTT’S REEFS, lying north of Rowley Shoals, are briefly described by Captain Wickham (“Naut. Mag.” 1841, page 440): they appear to be of great size, of a circular form, and “with smooth water within, forming probably a lagoon of great extent.” There is a break on the western side, where there probably is an entrance: the water is very deep off these reefs; coloured blue.

Proceeding westward along the great volcanic chain of the East Indian Archipelago, SOLOR STRAIT is represented in a chart published by Dalrymple from a Dutch MS., as fringed; as are parts of FLORES, of ADENARA, and of SOLOR. Horsburgh speaks of coral growing on these shores; and therefore I have no doubt that the reefs are of coral, and accordingly have coloured them red. We hear from Horsburgh (volume ii., page 602) that a coral-flat bounds the shores of SAPY Bay. From the same authority it appears (page 610) that reefs fringe the island of TIMOR-YOUNG, on the N. shore of Sumbawa; and, likewise (page 600), that BALLY town in LOMBOCK, is fronted by a reef, stretching along the shore at a distance of a hundred fathoms, with channels through it for boats; these places, therefore, have been coloured red.–BALLY Island. In a Dutch MS. chart on a large scale of Java, which was brought from that island by Dr. Horsfield, who had the kindness to show it me at the India House, its western, northern, and southern shores appear very regularly fringed by a reef (see also Horsburgh, volume ii., page 593); and as coral is found abundantly there, I have not the least doubt that the reef is of coral, and therefore have coloured it red.


My information regarding the reefs of this great island is derived from the chart just mentioned. The greater part of MADUARA is represented in it as regularly fringed, and likewise portions of the coast of Java immediately south of it. Dr. Horsfield informs me that coral is very abundant near SOURABAYA. The islets and parts of the N. coast of Java, west of POINT BUANG, or JAPARA, are fringed by reefs, said to be of coral. LUBECK, or BAVIAN Islands, lying at some distance from the shore of Java, are regularly fringed by coral-reefs. CARIMON JAVA appears equally so, though it is not directly said that the reefs are of coral; there is a depth between thirty and forty fathoms round these islands. Parts of the shores of SUNDA STRAIT, where the water is from forty to eighty fathoms deep, and the islets near BATAVIA appear in several charts to be fringed. In the Dutch chart the southern shore, in the narrowest part of the island, is in two places fringed by reefs of coral. West of SEGORROWODEE Bay, and the extreme S.E. and E. portions are likewise fringed by coral-reefs; all the above-mentioned places coloured red.


The EAST COAST OF Borneo appears, in most parts, free from reefs, and where they occur, as on the east coast of PAMAROONG, the sea is very shallow; hence no part is coloured. In MACASSAR Strait itself, in about latitude 2 deg S., there are many small islands with coral-shoals projecting far from them. There are also (old charts by Dalrymple) numerous little flats of coral, not rising to the surface of the water, and shelving suddenly from five fathoms to no bottom with fifty fathoms; they do not appear to have a lagoon-like structure. There are similar coral-shoals a little farther south; and in latitude 4 deg 55′ there are two, which are engraved from modern surveys, in a manner which might represent an annular reef with deep water inside: Captain Moresby, however, who was formerly in this sea, doubts this fact, so that I have left them uncoloured: at the same time I may remark, that these two shoals make a nearer approach to the atoll-like structure than any other within the E. Indian Archipelago. Southward of these shoals there are other low islands and irregular coral-reefs; and in the space of sea, north of the great volcanic chain, from Timor to Java, we have also other islands, such as the POSTILLIONS, KALATOA, TOKAN-BESSEES, etc., which are chiefly low, and are surrounded by very irregular and distant reefs. From the imperfect charts I have seen, I have not been able to decide whether they belong to the atoll or barrier-classes, or whether they merely fringe submarine banks, and gently sloping land. In the Bay of BONIN, between the two southern arms of Celebes, there are numerous coral- reefs; but none of them seem to have an atoll-like structure. I have, therefore, not coloured any of the islands in this part of the sea; I think it, however, exceedingly probable that some of them ought to be blue. I may add that there is a harbour on the S.E. coast of BOUTON which, according to an old chart, is formed by a reef, parallel to the shore, with deep water within; and in the “Voyage of the ‘Coquille’,” some neighbouring islands are represented with reefs a good way distant, but I do not know whether with deep water within. I have not thought the evidence sufficient to permit me to colour them.


Commencing with the west coast and outlying islands, ENGANO Island is represented in the published chart as surrounded by a narrow reef, and Napier, in his “Sailing Directions,” speaks of the reef being of coral (also Horsburgh, volume ii., page 115); coloured red.–RAT Island (3 deg 51′ S.) is surrounded by reefs of coral, partly dry at low water, (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 96).–TRIESTE Island (4 deg 2′ S.). The shore is represented in a chart which I saw at the India House, as fringed in such a manner, that I feel sure the fringe consists of coral; but as the island is so low, that the sea sometimes flows quite over it (Dampier, “Voyage,” volume i., page 474), I have not coloured it.–PULO DOOA (latitude 3 deg). In an old chart it is said there are chasms in the reefs round the island, admitting boats to the watering-place, and that the southern islet consists of a mass of sand and coral.–PULO PISANG; Horsburgh (volume ii., page 86) says that the rocky coral-bank, which stretches about forty yards from the shore, is steep to all round: in a chart, also, which I have seen, the island is represented as regularly fringed.–PULO MINTAO is lined with reefs on its west side (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 107).–PULO BANIAK; the same authority (volume ii., page 105), speaking of a part, says it is faced with coral-rocks.–MINGUIN (3 deg 36′ N.). A coral-reef fronts this place, and projects into the sea nearly a quarter of a mile (“Notices of the Indian Arch.” published at Singapore, page 105).–PULO BRASSA (5 deg 46′ N.). A reef surrounds it at a cable’s length (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 60). I have coloured all the above-specified points red. I may here add, that both Horsburgh and Mr. Moor (in the “Notices” just alluded to) frequently speak of the numerous reefs and banks of coral on the west coast of Sumatra; but these nowhere have the structure of a barrier-reef, and Marsden (“History of Sumatra”) states, that where the coast is flat, the fringing-reefs extend furthest from it. The northern and southern points, and the greater part of the east coast, are low, and faced with mud banks, and therefore without coral.


The chart represents the islands of this group as fringed by reefs. With regard to GREAT NICOBAR, Captain Moresby informs me, that it is fringed by reefs of coral, extending between two and three hundred yards from the shore. The NORTHERN NICOBARS appear so regularly fringed in the published charts, that I have no doubt the reefs are of coral. This group, therefore, is coloured red.


From an examination of the MS. chart, on a large scale, of this island, by Captain Arch. Blair, in the Admiralty, several portions of the coast appear fringed; and as Horsburgh speaks of coral-reefs being numerous in the vicinity of these islands, I should have coloured them red, had not some expressions in a paper in the “Asiatic Researches” (volume iv., page 402) led me to doubt the existence of reefs; uncoloured.

The coast of MALACCA, TENASSERIM and the coasts northward, appear in the greater part to be low and muddy: where reefs occur, as in parts of MALACCA STRAITS, and near SINGAPORE, they are of the fringing kind; but the water is so shoal, that I have not coloured them. In the sea, however, between Malacca and the west coast of Borneo, where there is a greater depth from forty to fifty fathoms, I have coloured red some of the groups, which are regularly fringed. The northern NATUNAS and the ANAMBAS Islands are represented in the charts on a large scale, published in the “Atlas of the Voyage of the ‘Favourite’,” as fringed by reefs of coral, with very shoal water within them.–TUMBELAN and BUNOA Islands (1 deg N.) are represented in the English charts as surrounded by a very regular fringe.– ST. BARBES (0 deg 15′ N.) is said by Horsburgh (volume ii., page 279) to be fronted by a reef, over which boats can land only at high water.–The shore of BORNEO at TUNJONG APEE is also fronted by a reef, extending not far from the land (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 468). These places I have coloured red; although with some hesitation, as the water is shallow. I might perhaps have added PULO LEAT, in Gaspar Strait, LUCEPARA, and CARIMATA; but as the sea is confined and shallow, and the reefs not very regular, I have left them uncoloured.

The water shoals gradually towards the whole west coast of BORNEO: I cannot make out that it has any reefs of coral. The islands, however, off the northern extremity, and near the S.W. end of PALAWAN, are fringed by very distant coral-reefs; thus the reefs in the case of BALABAC are no less than five miles from the land; but the sea, in the whole of this district, is so shallow, that the reefs might be expected to extend very far from the land. I have not, therefore, thought myself authorised to colour them. The N.E. point of Borneo, where the water is very shoal, is connected with Magindanao by a chain of islands called the SOOLOO ARCHIPELAGO, about which I have been able to obtain very little information; PANGOOTARAN, although ten miles long, entirely consists of a bed of coral-rock (“Notices of E. Indian Arch.” page 58): I believe from Horsburgh that the island is low; not coloured.–TAHOW BANK, in some old charts, appears like a submerged atoll; not coloured. Forrest (“Voyage,” page 21) states that one of the islands near Sooloo is surrounded by coral-rocks; but there is no distant reef. Near the S. end of BASSELAN, some of the islets in the chart accompanying Forrest’s “Voyage,” appear fringed with reefs; hence I have coloured, though unwillingly, parts of the Sooloo group red. The sea between Sooloo and Palawan, near the shoal coast of Borneo, is interspersed with irregular reefs and shoal patches; not coloured: but in the northern part of this sea, there are two low islets, CAGAYANES and CAVILLI, surrounded by extensive coral-reefs; the breakers round the latter (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 513) extend five or six miles from a sandbank, which forms the only dry part; these breakers are steep to outside; there appears to be an opening through them on one side, with four or five fathoms within: from this description, I strongly suspect that Cavilli ought to be considered an atoll; but, as I have not seen any chart of it, on even a moderately large scale, I have not coloured it. The islets off the northern end of PALAWAN, are in the same case as those off the southern end, namely they are fringed by reefs, some way distant from the shore, but the water is exceedingly shallow; uncoloured. The western shore of Palawan will be treated of under the head of China Sea.


A chart on a large scale of APPOO SHOAL, which lies near the S.E. coast of Mindoro, has been executed by Captain D. Ross: it appears atoll-formed, but with rather an irregular outline; its diameter is about ten miles; there are two well-defined passages leading into the interior lagoon, which appears open; close outside the reef all round, there is no bottom with seventy fathoms; coloured blue.–MINDORO: the N.W. coast is represented in several charts, as fringed by a reef, and LUBAN Island is said, by Horsburgh (volume ii., page 436), to be “lined by a reef.”–LUZON: Mr. Cuming, who has lately investigated with so much success the Natural History of the Philippines, informs me, that about three miles of the shore north of Point St. Jago, is fringed by a reef; as are (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 437) the Three Friars off Silanguin Bay. Between Point Capones and Playa Honda, the coast is “lined by a coral-reef, stretching out nearly a mile in some places,” (Horsburgh); and Mr. Cuming visited some fringing- reefs on parts of this coast, namely, near Puebla, Iba, and Mansinglor. In the neighbourhood of Solon-solon Bay, the shore is lined (Horsburgh ii., page 439) by coral-reefs, stretching out a great way: there are also reefs about the islets off Solamague; and as I am informed by Mr. Cuming, near St. Catalina, and a little north of it. The same gentleman informs me there are reefs on the S.E. point of this island in front of Samar, extending from Malalabon to Bulusan. These appear to be the principal fringing-reefs on the coasts of Luzon; and they have all been coloured red. Mr. Cuming informs me that none of them have deep water within; although it appears from Horsburgh that some few extend to a considerable distance from the shore. Within the Philippine Archipelago, the shores of the islands do not appear to be commonly fringed, with the exception of the S. shore of MASBATE, and nearly the whole of BOHOL; which are both coloured red. On the S. shore of MAGINDANAO, Bunwoot Island is surrounded (according to Forrest, “Voyage,” page 253), by a coral-reef, which in the chart appears one of the fringing class. With respect to the eastern coasts of the whole Archipelago, I have not been able to obtain any account.


Horsburgh says (volume ii., page 442), coral-reefs line the shores of the harbour in Fuga; and the charts show there are other reefs about these islands. Camiguin has its shore in parts lined by coral-rock (Horsburgh, page 443); about a mile off shore there is between thirty and thirty-five fathoms. The plan of Port San Pio Quinto shows that its shores are fringed with coral; coloured red.–BASHEE Islands: Horsburgh, speaking of the southern part of the group (volume ii., page 445) says the shores of both islands are fortified by a reef, and through some of the gaps in it, the natives can pass in their boats in fine weather; the bottom near the land is coral-rock. From the published charts, it is evident that several of these islands are most regularly fringed; coloured red. The northern islands are left uncoloured, as I have been unable to find any account of them.–FORMOSA. The shores, especially the western one, seem chiefly composed of mud and sand, and I cannot make out that they are anywhere lined by reefs; except in a harbour (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 449) at the extreme northern point: hence, of course, the whole of this island is left uncoloured. The small adjoining islands are in the same case.– PATCHOW, or MADJIKO-SIMA GROUPS. PATCHUSON has been described by Captain Broughton (“Voy. to the N. Pacific,” page 191); he says, the boats, with some difficulty, found a passage through the coral-reefs, which extend along the coast, nearly half a mile off it. The boats were well sheltered within the reef; but it does not appear that the water is deep there. Outside the reef the depth is very irregular, varying from five to fifty fathoms; the form of the land is not very abrupt; coloured red.–TAYPIN- SAN; from the description given (page 195) by the same author, it appears that a very irregular reef extends, to the distance of several miles, from the southern island; but whether it encircles a space of deep water is not evident; nor, indeed, whether these outlying reefs are connected with those more immediately adjoining the land; left uncoloured. I may here just add that the shore of KUMI (lying west of Patchow), has a narrow reef attached to it in the plan of it, in La Peyrouse’s “Atlas;” but it does not appear in the account of the voyage that it is of coral; uncoloured.–LOO CHOO. The greater part of the coast of this moderately hilly island, is skirted by reefs, which do not extend far from the shore, and which do not leave a channel of deep water within them, as may be seen in the charts accompanying Captain B. Hall’s voyage to Loo Choo (see also remarks in Appendix, pages xxi. and xxv.). There are, however, some ports with deep water, formed by reefs in front of valleys, in the same manner as happens at Mauritius. Captain Beechey, in a letter to me, compares these reefs with those encircling the Society Islands; but there appears to me a marked difference between them, in the less distance at which the Loo Choo reefs lie from the land with relation to the probable submarine inclination, and in the absence of an interior deep water-moat or channel, parallel to the land. Hence, I have classed these reefs with fringing-reefs, and coloured them red.–PESCADORES (west of Formosa). Dampier (volume i., page 416), has compared the appearance of the land to the southern parts of England. The islands are interlaced with coral-reefs; but as the water is very shoal, and as spits of sand and gravel (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 450) extend far out from them, it is impossible to draw any inferences regarding the nature of the reefs.

CHINA SEA.–Proceeding from north to south, we first meet the PRATAS SHOAL (latitude 20 deg N.) which, according to Horsburgh (volume ii., page 335), is composed of coral, is of a circular form, and has a low islet on it. The reef is on a level with the water’s edge, and when the sea runs high, there are breakers mostly all round, “but the water within seems pretty deep in some places; although steep-to in most parts outside, there appear to be several parts where a ship might find anchorage outside the breakers;” coloured blue.–The PARACELLS have been accurately surveyed by Captain D. Ross, and charts on a large scale published: but few low islets have been formed on these shoals, and this seems to be a general circumstance in the China Sea; the sea close outside the reefs is very deep; several of them have a lagoon-like structure; or separate islets (PRATTLE, ROBERT, DRUMMOND, etc.) are so arranged round a moderately shallow space, as to appear as if they had once formed one large atoll.– BOMBAY SHOAL (one of the Paracells) has the form of an annular reef, and is “apparently deep within;” it seems to have an entrance (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 332) on its west side; it is very steep outside.–DISCOVERY SHOAL, also is of an oval form, with a lagoon-like space within, and three openings leading into it, in which there is a depth from two to twenty fathoms. Outside, at the distance (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 333) of only twenty yards from the reef, soundings could not be obtained. The Paracells are coloured blue.–MACCLESFIELD BANK: this is a coral-bank of great size, lying east of the Paracells; some parts of the bank are level, with a sandy bottom, but, generally, the depth is very irregular. It is intersected by deep cuts or channels. I am not able to perceive in the published charts (its limits, however, are not very accurately known) whether the central part is deeper, which I suspect is the case, as in the Great Chagos Bank, in the Indian Ocean; not coloured.–SCARBOROUGH SHOAL: this coral-shoal is engraved with a double row of crosses, forming a circle, as if there was deep water within the reef: close outside there was no bottom, with a hundred fathoms; coloured blue.–The sea off the west coast of Palawan and the northern part of Borneo is strewed with shoals: SWALLOW SHOAL, according to Horsburgh (volume ii., page 431) “is formed, LIKE MOST of the shoals hereabouts, of a belt of coral-rocks, “with a basin of deep water within.”–HALF-MOON SHOAL has a similar structure; Captain D. Ross describes it, as a narrow belt of coral-rock, “with a basin of deep water in the centre,” and deep sea close outside.–BOMBAY SHOAL appears (Horsburgh, volume ii., page 432) “to be a basin of smooth water surrounded by breakers.” These three shoals I have coloured blue.–The PARAQUAS SHOALS are of a circular form, with deep gaps running through them; not coloured.–A bank gradually shoaling to the depth of thirty fathoms, extends to a distance of about twenty miles from the northern part of BORNEO, and to thirty miles from the northern part of PALAWAN. Near the land this bank appears tolerably free from danger, but a little further out it is thickly studded with coral-shoals, which do not generally rise quite to the surface; some of them are very steep-to, and others have a fringe of shoal-water round them. I should have thought that these shoals had level surfaces, had it not been for the statement made by Horsburgh “that most of the shoals hereabouts are formed of a belt of coral.” But, perhaps that expression was more particularly applied to the shoals further in the offing. If these reefs of coral have a lagoon-like structure, they should have been coloured blue, and they would have formed an imperfect barrier in front of Palawan and the northern part of Borneo. But, as the water is not very deep, these reefs may have grown up from inequalities on the bank: I have not coloured them.–The coast of CHINA, TONQUIN, and COCHIN-CHINA, forming the western boundary of the China Sea, appear to be without reefs: with regard to the two last-mentioned coasts, I speak after examining the charts on a large scale in the “Atlas of the Voyage of the ‘Favourite’.”


SOUTH KEELING atoll has been specially described. Nine miles north of it lies North Keeling, a very small atoll, surveyed by the “Beagle,” the lagoon of which is dry at low water.–CHRISTMAS Island, lying to the east, is a high island, without, as I have been informed by a person who passed it, any reefs at all.–CEYLON: a space about eighty miles in length of the south-western and southern shores of these islands has been described by Mr. Twynam (“Naut. Mag.” 1836, pages 365 and 518); parts of this space appear to be very regularly fringed by coral-reefs, which extend from a quarter to half a mile from the shore. These reefs are in places breached, and afford safe anchorage for the small trading craft. Outside, the sea gradually deepens; there is forty fathoms about six miles off shore: this part I have coloured red. In the published charts of Ceylon there appear to be fringing-reefs in several parts of the south-eastern shores, which I have also coloured red.–At Venloos Bay the shore is likewise fringed. North of Trincomalee there are also reefs of the same kind. The sea off the northern part of Ceylon is exceedingly shallow; and therefore I have not coloured the reefs which fringe portions of its shores, and the adjoining islets, as well as the Indian promontory of MADURA.


These three great groups which have already been often noticed, are now well-known from the admirable surveys of Captain Moresby and Lieutenant Powell. The published charts, which are worthy of the most attentive examination, at once show that the CHAGOS and MALDIVA groups are entirely formed of great atolls, or lagoon-formed reefs, surmounted by islets. In the LACCADIVE group, this structure is less evident; the islets are low, not exceeding the usual height of coral-formations (see Lieutenant Wood’s account, “Geographical Journal”, volume vi., page 29), and most of the reefs are circular, as may be seen in the published charts; and within several of them, as I am informed by Captain Moresby, there is deepish water; these, therefore, have been coloured blue. Directly north, and almost forming part of this group, there is a long, narrow, slightly curved bank, rising out of the depths of the ocean, composed of sand, shells, and decayed coral, with from twenty-three to thirty fathoms on it. I have no doubt that it has had the same origin with the other Laccadive banks; but as it does not deepen towards the centre I have not coloured it. I might have referred to other authorities regarding these three archipelagoes; but after the publication of the charts by Captain Moresby, to whose personal kindness in giving me much information I am exceedingly indebted, it would have been superfluous.

SAHIA DE MALHA bank consists of a series of narrow banks, with from eight to sixteen fathoms on them; they are arranged in a semicircular manner, round a space about forty fathoms deep, which slopes on the S.E. quarter to unfathomable depths; they are steep-to on both sides, but more especially on the ocean-side. Hence this bank closely resembles in structure, and I may add from Captain Moresby’s information in composition, the Pitt’s Bank in the Chagos group; and the Pitt’s Bank, must, after what has been shown of the Great Chagos Bank, be considered as a sunken, half-destroyed atoll; hence coloured blue.–CARGADOS CARAJOS BANK. Its southern portion consists of a large, curved, coral-shoal, with some low islets on its eastern edge, and likewise some on the western side, between which there is a depth of about twelve fathoms. Northward, a great bank extends. I cannot (probably owing to the want of perfect charts) refer this reef and bank to any class;–therefore not coloured.–ILE DE SABLE is a little island, lying west of C. Carajos, only some toises in height (“Voyage of the ‘Favourite’,” volume i., page 130); it is surrounded by reefs; but its structure is unintelligible to me. There are some small banks north of it, of which I can find no clear account.–MAURITIUS. The reefs round this island have been described in the chapter on fringing-reefs; coloured red. –RODRIGUEZ. The coral-reefs here are exceedingly extensive; in one part they project even five miles from the shore. As far as I can make out, there is no deep-water moat within them; and the sea outside does not deepen very suddenly. The outline, however, of the land appears to be (“Life of Sir J. Makintosh,” volume ii., page 165) hilly and rugged. I am unable to decide whether these reefs belong to the barrier class; as seems probable from their great extension, or to the fringing class; uncoloured. –BOURBON. The greater part of the shores of this island are without reefs; but Captain Carmichael (Hooker’s “Bot. Misc.”) states that a portion, fifteen miles in length, on the S.E. side, is imperfectly fringed with coral reefs: I have not thought this sufficient to colour the island.


The rocky islands of primary formation, composing this group, rise from a very extensive and tolerably level bank, having a depth between twenty and forty fathoms. In Captain Owen’s chart, and in that in the “Atlas of the Voyage of the ‘Favourite’,” it appears that the east side of MAHE and the adjoining islands of ST. ANNE and CERF, are regularly fringed by coral-reefs. A portion of the S.E. part of CURIEUSE Island, the N., and part of the S.W. shore of PRASLIN Island, and the whole west side of DIGUE Island, appear fringed. From a MS. account of these islands by Captain F. Moresby, in the Admiralty, it appears that SILHOUETTE is also fringed; he states that all these islands are formed of granite and quartz, that they rise abruptly from the sea, and that “coral-reefs have grown round them, and project for some distance.” Dr. Allan, of Forres, who visited these islands, informs me that there is no deep water between the reefs and the shore. The above specified points have been coloured red. AMIRANTES Islands: The small islands of this neighbouring group, according to the MS. account of them by Captain F. Moresby, are situated on an extensive bank; they consist of the debris of corals and shells; are only about twenty feet in height, and are environed by reefs, some attached to the shore, and some rather distant from it.–I have taken great pains to procure plans and information regarding the several islands lying between S.E. and S.W. of the Amirantes, and the Seychelles; relying chiefly on Captain F. Moresby and Dr. Allan, it appears that the greater number, namely–PLATTE, ALPHONSE, COETIVI, GALEGA, PROVIDENCE, ST. PIERRE, ASTOVA, ASSOMPTION, and GLORIOSO, are low, formed of sand or coral-rock, and irregularly shaped; they are situated on very extensive banks, and are connected with great coral-reefs. Galega is said by Dr. Allan, to be rather higher than the other islands; and St. Pierre is described by Captain F. Moresby, as being cavernous throughout, and as not consisting of either limestone or granite. These islands, as well as the Amirantes, certainly are not atoll-formed, and they differ as a group from every other group with which I am acquainted; I have not coloured them; but probably the reefs belong to the fringing class. Their formation is attributed, both by Dr. Allan and Captain F. Moresby, to the action of the currents, here exceedingly violent, on banks, which no doubt have had an independent geological origin. They resemble in many respects some islands and banks in the West Indies, which owe their origin to a similar agency, in conjunction with an elevation of the entire area. In close vicinity to the several islands, there are three others of an apparently different nature: first, JUAN DE NOVA, which appears from some plans and accounts to be an atoll; but from others does not appear to be so; not coloured. Secondly COSMOLEDO; “this group consists of a ring of coral, ten leagues in circumference, and a quarter of a mile broad in some places, enclosing a magnificent lagoon, into which there did not appear a single opening” (Horsburgh, volume i., page 151); coloured blue. Thirdly, ALDABRA; it consists of three islets, about twenty-five feet in height, with red cliffs (Horsburgh, volume i., page 176) surrounding a very shallow basin or lagoon. The sea is profoundly deep close to the shore. Viewing this island in a chart, it would be thought an atoll; but the foregoing description shows that there is something different in its nature; Dr. Allan also states that it is cavernous, and that the coral-rock has a vitrified appearance. Is it an upheaved atoll, or the crater of a volcano?–uncoloured.


MAYOTTA, according to Horsburgh (volume i., page 216, 4th edition), is completely surrounded by a reef, which runs at the distance of three, four, and in some places even five miles from the land; in an old chart, published by Dalrymple, a depth in many places of thirty-six and thirty-eight fathoms is laid down within the reef. In the same chart, the space of open water within the reef in some parts is even more than three miles wide: the land is bold and peaked; this island, therefore, is encircled by a well-characterised barrier-reef, and is coloured pale blue.–JOHANNA; Horsburgh says (volume I. page 217) this island from the N.W. to the S.W. point, is bounded by a reef, at the distance of two miles from the shore; in some parts, however, the reef must be attached, since Lieutenant Boteler (“Narr.” volume i., page 161) describes a passage through it, within which there is room only for a few boats. Its height, as I am informed by Dr. Allan, is about 3,500 feet; it is very precipitous, and is composed of granite, greenstone, and quartz; coloured blue.–MOHILLA; on the S. side of this island there is anchorage, in from thirty to forty-five fathoms, between a reef and the shore (Horsburgh, volume i., page 214); in Captain Owen’s chart of Madagascar, this island is represented as encircled; coloured blue.–GREAT COMORO Island is, as I am informed by Dr. Allan, about 8,000 feet high, and apparently volcanic; it is not regularly encircled; but reefs of various shapes and dimensions, jut out from every headland on the W., S., and S.E. coasts, inside of which reefs there are channels, often parallel with the shore, with deep water. On the north-western coasts the reefs appear attached to the shores. The land near the coast is in some places bold, but generally speaking it is flat; Horsburgh says (volume i., page 214) the water is profoundly deep close to the SHORE, from which expression I presume some parts are without reefs. From this description I apprehend the reef belongs to the barrier class; but I have not coloured it, as most of the charts which I have seen, represent the reefs round it as very much less extensive than round the other islands in the group.


My information is chiefly derived from the published charts by Captain Owen, and the accounts given by him and by Lieutenant Boteler. Commencing at the S.W. extremity of the island; towards the northern part of the STAR BANK (in latitude 25 deg S.) the coast for ten miles is fringed by a reef; coloured red. The shore immediately S. of ST. AUGUSTINE’S BAY appears fringed; but TULLEAR Harbour, directly N. of it, is formed by a narrow reef ten miles long, extending parallel to the shore, with from four to ten fathoms within it. If this reef had been more extensive, it must have been classed as a barrier-reef; but as the line of coast falls inwards here, a submarine bank perhaps extends parallel to the shore, which has offered a foundation for the growth of the coral; I have left this part uncoloured. From latitude 22 deg 16′ to 21 deg 37′, the shore is fringed by coral-reefs (see Lieutenant Boteler’s “Narrative,” volume ii., page 106), less than a mile in width, and with shallow water within. There are outlying coral-shoals in several parts of the offing, with about ten fathoms between them and the shore, and the depth of the sea one mile and a half seaward, is about thirty fathoms. The part above specified is engraved on a large scale; and as in the charts on rather a smaller scale the same fringe of reef extends as far as latitude 33 deg 15′; I have coloured the whole of this part of the coast red. The islands of JUAN DE NOVA (in latitude 17 deg S.) appear in the charts on a large scale to be fringed, but I have not been able to ascertain whether the reefs are of coral; uncoloured. The main part of the west coast appears to be low, with outlying sandbanks, which, Lieutenant Boteler (volume ii., page 106) says, “are faced on the edge of deep water by a line of sharp-pointed coral-rocks.” Nevertheless I have not coloured this part, as I cannot make out by the charts that the coast itself is fringed. The headlands of NARRENDA and PASSANDAVA Bays (14 deg 40′) and the islands in front of RADAMA HARBOUR are represented in the plans as regularly fringed, and have accordingly been coloured red. With respect to the EAST COAST OF MADAGASCAR, Dr. Allan informs me in a letter, that the whole line of coast, from TAMATAVE, in 18 deg 12′, to C. AMBER, at the extreme northern point of the island, is bordered by coral-reefs. The land is low, uneven, and gradually rising from the coast. From Captain Owen’s charts, also, the existence of these reefs, which evidently belong to the fringing class, on some parts, namely N. of BRITISH SOUND, and near NGONCY, of the above line of coast might have been inferred. Lieutenant Boteler (volume i., page 155) speaks of “the reef surrounding the island of ST. MARY’S at a small distance from the shore.” In a previous chapter I have described, from the information of Dr. Allan, the manner in which the reefs extend in N.E. lines from the headlands on this coast, thus sometimes forming rather deep channels within them, this seems caused by the action of the currents, and the reefs spring up from the submarine prolongations of the sandy headlands. The above specified portion of the coast is coloured red. The remaining S.E. portions do not appear in any published chart to possess reefs of any kind; and the Rev. W. Ellis, whose means of information regarding this side of Madagascar have been extensive, informs me he believes there are none.


Proceeding from the northern part, the coast appears, for a considerable space, without reefs. My information, I may here observe, is derived from the survey by Captain Owen, together with his narrative; and that by Lieutenant Boteler. At MUKDEESHA (10 deg 1′ N.) there is a coral-reef extending four or five miles along the shore (Owen’s “Narr.” volume i, page 357) which in the chart lies at the distance of a quarter of a mile from the shore, and has within it from six to ten feet water: this then is a fringing-reef, and is coloured red. From JUBA, a little S. of the equator, to LAMOO (in 2 deg 20′ S.) “the coast and islands are formed of madrepore” (Owen’s “Narrative,” volume i., page 363). The chart of this part (entitled DUNDAS Islands), presents an extraordinary appearance; the coast of the mainland is quite straight and it is fronted at the average distance of two miles, by exceedingly narrow, straight islets, fringed with reefs. Within the chain of islets, there are extensive tidal flats and muddy bays, into which many rivers enter; the depths of these spaces varies from one to four fathoms–the latter depth not being common, and about twelve feet the average. Outside the chain of islets, the sea, at the distance of a mile, varies in depth from eight to fifteen fathoms. Lieutenant Boteler (“Narr.” volume i., page 369) describes the muddy bay of PATTA, which seems to resemble other parts of this coast, as fronted by small, narrow, level islets formed of decomposing coral, the margin of which is seldom of greater height than twelve feet, overhanging the rocky surface from which the islets rise. Knowing that the islets are formed of coral, it is, I think, scarcely possible to view the coast, and not at once conclude that we here see a fringing-reef, which has been upraised a few feet: the unusual depth of from two to four fathoms within some of these islets, is probably due to muddy rivers having prevented the growth of coral near the shore. There is, however, one difficulty on this view, namely, that before the elevation took place, which converted the reef into a chain of islets, the water must apparently have been still deeper; on the other hand it may be supposed that the formation of a nearly perfect barrier in front, of so large an extent of coast, would cause the currents (especially in front of the rivers), to deepen their muddy beds. When describing in the chapter on fringing-reefs, those of Mauritius, I have given my reasons for believing that the shoal spaces within reefs of this kind, must, in many instances, have been deepened. However this may be, as several parts of this line of coast are undoubtedly fringed by living reefs, I have coloured it red.– MALEENDA (3 deg 20′ S.). In the plan of the harbour, the south headland appears fringed; and in Owen’s chart on a larger scale, the reefs are seen to extend nearly thirty miles southward; coloured red.–MOMBAS (4 deg 5′ S.). The island which forms the harbour, “is surrounded by cliffs of madrepore, capable of being rendered almost impregnable” (Owen’s “Narr.” volume i., page 412). The shore of the mainland N. and S. of the harbour, is most regularly fringed by a coral-reef at a distance from half a mile to one mile and a quarter from the land; within the reef the depth is from nine to fifteen feet; outside the reef the depth at rather less than half a mile is thirty fathoms. From the charts it appears that a space about thirty-six miles in length, is here fringed; coloured red.–PEMBA (5 deg S.) is an island of coral-formation, level, and about two hundred feet in height (Owen’s “Narr.” volume i., page 425); it is thirty-five miles long, and is separated from the mainland by a deep sea. The outer coast is represented in the chart as regularly fringed; coloured red. The mainland in front of Pemba is likewise fringed; but there also appear to be some outlying reefs with deep water between them and the shore. I do not understand their structure, either from the charts or the description, therefore have not coloured them.–ZANZIBAR resembles Pemba in most respects; its southern half on the western side and the neighbouring islets are fringed; coloured red. On the mainland, a little S. of Zanzibar, there are some banks parallel to the coast, which I should have thought had been formed of coral, had it not been said (Boteler’s “Narr.” volume ii., page 39) that they were composed of sand; not coloured.–LATHAM’S BANK is a small island, fringed by coral-reefs; but being only ten feet high, it has not been coloured.–MONFEEA is an island of the same character as Pemba; its outer shore is fringed, and its southern extremity is connected with Keelwa Point on the mainland by a chain of islands fringed by reefs; coloured red. The four last-mentioned islands resemble in many respects some of the islands in the Red Sea, which will presently be described.– KEELWA. In a plan of the shore, a space of twenty miles N. and S. of this place is fringed by reefs, apparently of coral: these reefs are prolonged still further southward in Owen’s general chart. The coast in the plans of the rivers LINDY and MONGHOW (9 deg 59′ and 10 deg 7′ S.) has the same structure; coloured red.–QUERIMBA Islands (from 10 deg 40′ to 13 deg S.). A chart on a large scale is given of these islands; they are low, and of coral-formation (Boteler’s “Narr.” volume ii., page 54); and generally have extensive reefs projecting from them which are dry at low water, and which on the outside rise abruptly from a deep sea: on their insides they are separated from the continent by a channel, or rather a succession of bays, with an average depth of ten fathoms. The small headlands on the continent also have coral-banks attached to them; and the Querimba islands and banks are placed on the lines of prolongation of these headlands, and are separated from them by very shallow channels. It is evident that whatever cause, whether the drifting of sediment or subterranean movements, produced the headlands, likewise produced, as might have been expected, submarine prolongations to them; and these towards their outer extremities, have since afforded a favourable basis for the growth of coral-reefs, and subsequently for the formation of islets. As these reefs clearly belong to the fringing class, the Querimba islands have been coloured red.–MONABILA (13 deg 32′ S.). In the plan of this harbour, the headlands outside are fringed by reefs apparently of coral; coloured red.–MOZAMBIQUE (150 deg S.) The outer part of the island on which the city is built, and the neighbouring islands, are fringed by coral-reefs; coloured red. From the description given in Owen’s “Narr.” (volume i., page 162), the shore from MOZAMBIQUE to DELAGOA BAY appears to be low and sandy; many of the shoals and islets off this line of coast are of coral-formation; but from their small size and lowness, it is not possible, from the charts, to know whether they are truly fringed. Hence this portion of coast is left uncoloured, as are likewise those parts more northward, of which no mention has been made in the foregoing pages from the want of information.


From the charts lately published on a large scale by the East India Company, it appears that several parts, especially the southern shores of this gulf, are fringed by coral-reefs; but as the water is very shallow, and as there are numerous sandbanks, which are difficult to distinguish on the chart from reefs, I have not coloured the upper part red. Towards the mouth, however, where the water is rather deeper, the islands of ORMUZ and LARRACK, appear so regularly fringed, that I have coloured them red. There are certainly no atolls in the Persian Gulf. The shores of IMMAUM, and of the promontory forming the southern headland of the Persian Gulf, seem to be without reefs. The whole S.W. part (except one or two small patches) of ARABIA FELIX, and the shores of SOCOTRA appear from the charts and memoir of Captain Haines (“Geographical Journal,” 1839, page 125) to be without any reefs. I believe there are no extensive coral-reefs on any part of the coasts of INDIA, except on the low promontory of MADURA (as already mentioned) in front of Ceylon.


My information is chiefly derived from the admirable charts published by the East India Company in 1836, from personal communication with Captain Moresby, one of the surveyors, and from the excellent memoir, “Uber die Natur der Corallen-Banken des Rothen Meeres,” by Ehrenberg. The plains immediately bordering the Red Sea seem chiefly to consist of a sedimentary formation of the newer tertiary period. The shore is, with the exception of a few parts, fringed by coral-reefs. The water is generally profoundly deep close to the shore; but this fact, which has attracted the attention of most voyagers, seems to have no necessary connection with the presence of reefs; for Captain Moresby particularly observed to me, that, in latitude 24 deg 10′ on the eastern side, there is a piece of coast, with very deep water close to it, without any reefs, but not differing in other respects from the usual nature of the coast-line. The most remarkable feature in the Red Sea is the chain of submerged banks, reefs, and islands, lying some way from the shore, chiefly on the eastern side; the space within being deep enough to admit a safe navigation in small vessels. The banks are generally of an oval form, and some miles in width; but some of them are very long in proportion to their width. Captain Moresby informs me that any one, who had not made actual plans of them, would be apt to think that they were much more elongated than they really are. Many of them rise to the surface, but the greater number lie from five to thirty fathoms beneath it, with irregular soundings on them. They consist of sand and living coral; coral on most of them, according to Captain Moresby, covering the greater part of their surface. They extend parallel to the shore, and they are not unfrequently connected in their middle parts by short transverse banks with the mainland. The sea is generally profoundly deep quite close to them, as it is near most parts of the coast of the mainland; but this is not universally the case, for between latitude 15 deg and 17 deg the water deepens quite gradually from the banks, both on the eastern and western shores, towards the middle of the sea. Islands in many parts arise from these banks; they are low, flat-topped, and consist of the same horizontally stratified formation with that forming the plain-like margin of the mainland. Some of the smaller and lower islands consist of mere sand. Captain Moresby informs me, that small masses of rock, the remnants of islands, are left on many banks where there is now no dry land. Ehrenberg also asserts that most of the islets, even the lowest, have a flat abraded basis, composed of the same tertiary formation: he believes that as soon as the surf wears down the protuberant parts of a bank, just beneath the level of the sea, the surface becomes protected from further abrasion by the growth of coral, and he thus accounts for the existence of so many banks standing on a level with the surface of this sea. It appears that most of the islands are certainly decreasing in size.

The form of the banks and islands is most singular in the part just referred to, namely, from latitude 15 deg to 17 deg, where the sea deepens quite gradually: the DHALAC group, on the western coast, is surrounded by an intricate archipelago of islets and shoals; the main island is very irregularly shaped, and it includes a bay seven miles long, by four across, in which no bottom was found with 252 feet: there is only one entrance into this bay, half a mile wide, and with an island in front of it. The submerged banks on the eastern coast, within the same latitudes, round FARSAN Island, are, likewise, penetrated by many narrow creeks of deep water; one is twelve miles long, in the form of a hatchet, in which, close to its broad upper end, soundings were not struck with 360 feet, and its entrance is only half a mile wide: in another creek of the same nature, but even with a more irregular outline, there was no bottom with 480 feet. The island of Farsan, itself, has as singular a form as any of its surrounding banks. The bottom of the sea round the Dhalac and Farsan Islands consists chiefly of sand and agglutinated fragments, but, in the deep and narrow creeks, it consists of mud; the islands themselves consist of thin, horizontally stratified, modern tertiary beds, containing but little broken coral (Ruppell, “Reise in Abyssinie,” Band. i., S. 247.), their shores are fringed by living coral-reefs.

From the account given by Ruppell (Ibid., S. 245.) of the manner in which Dhalac has been rent by fissures, the opposite sides of which have been unequally elevated (in one instance to the amount of fifty feet), it seems probable that its irregular form, as well as probably that of Farsan, may have been partly caused by unequal elevations; but, considering the general form of the banks, and of the deep-water creeks, together with the composition of the land, I think their configuration is more probably due in great part to strong currents having drifted sediment over an uneven bottom: it is almost certain that their form cannot be attributed to the growth of coral. Whatever may have been the precise origin of the Dhalac and Farsan Archipelagoes, the greater number of the banks on the eastern side of the Red Sea seem to have originated through nearly similar means. I judge of this from their similarity in configuration (in proof of which I may instance a bank on the east coast in latitude 22 deg; and although it is true that the northern banks generally have a less complicated outline), and from their similarity in composition, as may be observed in their upraised portions. The depth within the banks northward of latitude 17 deg, is usually greater, and their outer sides shelve more abruptly (circumstances which seem to go together) than in the Dhalac and Farsan Archipelagoes; but this might easily have been caused by a difference in the action of the currents during their formation: moreover, the greater quantity of living coral, which, according to Captain Moresby, exists on the northern banks, would tend to give them steeper margins.

From this account, brief and imperfect as it is, we can see that the great chain of banks on the eastern coast, and on the western side in the southern portion, differ greatly from true barrier-reefs wholly formed by the growth of coral. It is indeed the direct conclusion of Ehrenberg (“Uber die,” etc., pages 45 and 51), that they are connected in their origin quite secondarily with the growth of coral; and he remarks that the islands off the coast of Norway, if worn down level with the sea, and merely coated with living coral, would present a nearly similar appearance. I cannot, however, avoid suspecting, from information given me by Dr. Malcolmson and Captain Moresby, that Ehrenberg has rather under-rated the influence of corals, in some places at least, on the formation of the tertiary deposits of the Red Sea.


There are, in this space, reefs, which, if I had known nothing of those in other parts of the Red Sea, I should unhesitatingly have considered as barrier-reefs; and, after deliberation, I have come to the same conclusion. One of these reefs, in 20 deg 15′, is twenty miles long, less than a mile in width (but expanding at the northern end into a disc), slightly sinuous, and extending parallel to the mainland at the distance of five miles from it, with very deep water within; in one spot soundings were not obtained with 205 fathoms. Some leagues further south, there is another linear reef, very narrow, ten miles long, with other small portions of reef, north and south, almost connected with it; and within this line of reefs (as well as outside) the water is profoundly deep. There are also some small linear and sickle-formed reefs, lying a little way out at sea. All these reefs are covered, as I am informed by Captain Moresby, by living corals. Here, then, we have all the characters of reefs of the barrier class; and in some outlying reefs we have an approach to the structure of atolls. The source of my doubts about the classification of these reefs, arises from having observed in the Dhalac and Farsan groups the narrowness and straightness of several spits of sand and rock: one of these spits in the Dhalac group is nearly fifteen miles long, only two broad, and it is bordered on each side with deep water; so that, if worn down by the surf, and coated with living corals, it would form a reef nearly similar to those within the space under consideration. There is, also, in this space (latitude 21 deg) a peninsula, bordered by cliffs, with its extremity worn down to the level of the sea, and its basis fringed with reefs: in the line of prolongation of this peninsula, there lies the island of MACOWA (formed, according to Captain Moresby, of the usual tertiary deposit), and some smaller islands, large parts of which likewise appear to have been worn down, and are now coated with living corals. If the removal of the strata in these several cases had been more complete, the reefs thus formed would have nearly resembled those barrier-like ones now under discussion. Notwithstanding these facts, I cannot persuade myself that the many very small, isolated, and sickle-formed reefs and others, long, nearly straight, and very narrow, with the water unfathomably deep close round them, could possibly have been formed by corals merely coating banks of sediment, or the abraded surfaces of irregularly shaped islands. I feel compelled to believe that the foundations of these reefs have subsided, and that the corals, during their upward growth, have given to these reefs their present forms: I may remark that the subsidence of narrow and irregularly-shaped peninsulas and islands, such as those existing on the coasts of the Red Sea, would afford the requisite foundations for the reefs in question.


This part of the coast (north of the space coloured blue on the map) is fronted by an irregularly shelving bank, from about ten to thirty fathoms deep; numerous little reefs, some of which have the most singular shapes, rise from this bank. It may be observed, respecting one of them, in latitude 23 deg 10′, that if the promontory in latitude 24 deg were worn down to the level of the sea, and coated with corals, a very similar and grotesquely formed reef would be produced. Many of the reefs on this part of the coast may thus have originated; but there are some sickle, and almost atoll-formed reefs lying in deep water off the promontory in latitude 24 deg, which lead me to suppose that all these reefs are more probably allied to the barrier or atoll classes. I have not, however, ventured to colour this portion of coast. ON THE WEST COAST FROM LATITUDE 19 DEG TO 17 DEG (south of space coloured blue on the map), there are many low islets of very small dimensions, not much elongated, and rising out of great depths at a distance from the coast; these cannot be classed either with atolls, or barrier- or fringing-reefs. I may here remark that the outlying reefs on the west coast, between latitude 19 deg and 24 deg, are the only ones in the Red Sea, which approach in structure to the true atolls of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but they present only imperfect miniature likenesses of them.


I have felt the greatest doubt about colouring any portion of this coast, north of the fringing-reefs round the Farsan Islands in 16 deg 10′. There are many small outlying coral-reefs along the whole line of coast; but as the greater number rise from banks not very deeply submerged (the formation of which has been shown to be only secondarily connected with the growth of coral), their origin may be due simply to the growth of knolls of corals, from an irregular foundation situated within a limited depth. But between latitude 18 deg and 20 deg, there are so many linear, elliptic, and extremely small reefs, rising abruptly out of profound depths, that the same reasons, which led me to colour blue a portion of the west coast, have induced me to do the same in this part. There exist some small outlying reefs rising from deep water, north of latitude 20 deg (the northern limit coloured blue), on the east coast; but as they are not very numerous and scarcely any of them linear, I have thought it right to leave them uncoloured.

In the SOUTHERN PARTS of the Red Sea, considerable spaces of the mainland, and of some of the Dhalac islands, are skirted by reefs, which, as I am informed by Captain Moresby, are of living coral, and have all the characters of the fringing class. As in these latitudes, there are no outlying linear or sickle-formed reefs, rising out of unfathomable depths, I have coloured these parts of the coast red. On similar grounds, I have coloured red the NORTHERN PARTS OF THE WESTERN COAST (north of latitude 24 deg 30′), and likewise the shores of the chief part of the GULF OF SUEZ. In the GULF OF ACABA, as I am informed by Captain Moresby there are no coral-reefs, and the water is profoundly deep.


My information regarding the reefs of this area, is derived from various sources, and from an examination of numerous charts; especially of those lately executed during the survey under Captain Owen, R.N. I lay under particular obligation to Captain Bird Allen, R.N., one of the members of the late survey, for many personal communications on this subject. As in the case of the Red Sea, it is necessary to make some preliminary remarks on the submerged banks of the West Indies, which are in some degree connected with coral-reefs, and cause considerable doubts in their classification. That large accumulations of sediment are in progress on the West Indian shores, will be evident to any one who examines the charts of that sea, especially of the portion north of a line joining Yucutan and Florida. The area of deposition seems less intimately connected with the debouchement of the great rivers, than with the course of the sea-currents; as is evident from the vast extension of the banks from the promontories of Yucutan and Mosquito.

Besides the coast-banks, there are many of various dimensions which stand quite isolated; these closely resemble each other, they lie from two or three to twenty or thirty fathoms under water, and are composed of sand, sometimes firmly agglutinated, with little or no coral; their surfaces are smooth and nearly level, shelving only to the amount of a few fathoms, very gradually all round towards their edges, where they plunge abruptly into the unfathomable sea. This steep inclination of their sides, which is likewise characteristic of the coast-banks, is very remarkable: I may give as an instance, the Misteriosa Bank, on the edges of which the soundings change in 250 fathoms horizontal distance, from 11 to 210 fathoms; off the northern point of the bank of Old Providence, in 200 fathoms horizontal distance, the change is from 19 to 152 fathoms; off the Great Bahama Bank, in 160 fathoms horizontal distance, the inclination is in many places from 10 fathoms to no bottom with 190 fathoms. On coasts in all parts of the world, where sediment is accumulating, something of this kind may be observed; the banks shelve very gently far out to sea, and then terminate abruptly. The form and composition of the banks standing in the middle parts of the W. Indian Sea, clearly show that their origin must be chiefly attributed to the accumulation of sediment; and the only obvious explanation of their isolated position is the presence of a nucleus, round which the currents have collected fine drift matter. Any one who will compare the character of the bank surrounding the hilly island of Old Providence, with those banks in its neighbourhood which stand isolated, will scarcely doubt that they surround submerged mountains. We are led to the same conclusion by examining the bank called Thunder Knoll, which is separated from the Great Mosquito Bank by a channel only seven miles wide, and 145 fathoms deep. There cannot be any doubt that the Mosquito Bank has been formed by the accumulation of sediment round the promontory of the same name; and Thunder Knoll resembles the Mosquito Bank, in the state of its surface submerged twenty fathoms, in the inclinations of its sides, in composition, and in every other respect. I may observe, although the remark is here irrelevant, that geologists should be cautious in concluding that all the outlyers of any formation have once been connected together, for we here see that deposits, doubtless of exactly the same nature, may be deposited with large valley-like spaces between them.

Linear strips of coral-reefs and small knolls project from many of the isolated, as well as coast-banks; sometimes they occur quite irregularly placed, as on the Mosquito Bank, but more generally they form crescents on the windward side, situated some little distance within the outer edge of the banks:–thus on the Serranilla Bank they form an interrupted chain which ranges between two and three miles within the windward margin: generally they occur, as on Roncador, Courtown, and Anegada Banks, nearer the line of deep water. Their occurrence on the windward side is conformable to the general rule, of the efficient kinds of corals flourishing best where most exposed; but their position some way within the line of deep water I cannot explain, without it be, that a depth somewhat less than that close to the outer margin of the banks, is most favourable to their growth. Where the corals have formed a nearly continuous rim, close to the windward edge of a bank some fathoms submerged, the reef closely resembles an atoll; but if the bank surrounds an island (as in the case of Old Providence), the reef resembles an encircling barrier-reef. I should undoubtedly have classed some of these fringed banks as imperfect atolls, or barrier-reefs, if the sedimentary nature of their foundations had not been evident from the presence of other neighbouring banks, of similar forms and of similar composition, but without the crescent-like marginal reef: in the third chapter, I observed that probably some atoll-like reefs did exist, which had originated in the manner here supposed.

Proofs of elevation within recent tertiary periods abound, as referred to in the sixth chapter, over nearly the whole area of the West Indies. Hence it is easy to understand the origin of the low land on the coasts, where sediment is now accumulating; for instance on the northern part of Yucutan, and on the N.E. part of Mosquito, where the land is low, and where extensive banks appear to be in progressive formation. Hence, also, the origin of the Great Bahama Banks, which are bordered on their western and southern edges by very narrow, long, singularly shaped islands, formed of sand, shells, and coral-rock, and some of them about a hundred feet in height, is easily explained by the elevation of banks fringed on their windward (western and southern) sides by coral-reefs. On this view, however, we must suppose either that the chief part of the surfaces of the great Bahama sandbanks were all originally deeply submerged, and were brought up to their present level by the same elevatory action, which formed the linear islands; or that during the elevation of the banks, the superficial currents and swell of the waves continued wearing them down and keeping them at a nearly uniform level: the level is not quite uniform; for, in proceeding from the N.W. end of the Bahama group towards the S.E. end, the depth of the banks increases, and the area of land decreases, in a very gradual and remarkable manner. The latter view, namely, that these banks have been worn down by the currents and swell during their elevation, seems to me the most probable one. It is, also, I believe, applicable to many banks, situated in widely distant parts of the West Indian Sea, which are wholly submerged; for, on any other view, we must suppose, that the elevatory forces have acted with astonishing uniformity.

The shores of the Gulf of Mexico, for the space of many hundred miles, is formed by a chain of lagoons, from one to twenty miles in breadth (“Columbian Navigator,” page 178, etc.), containing either fresh or salt water, and separated from the sea by linear strips of sand. Great spaces of the shores of Southern Brazil (In the “London and Edinburgh Philosophical Journal,” 1841, page 257, I have described a singular bar of sandstone lying parallel to the coast off Pernambuco in Brazil, which probably is an analogous formation.), and of the United States from Long Island (as observed by Professor Rogers) to Florida have the same character. Professor Rogers, in his “Report to the British Association” (volume iii., page 13), speculates on the origin of these low, sandy, linear islets; he states that the layers of which they are composed are too homogeneous, and contain too large a proportion of shells, to permit the common supposition of their formation being simply due to matter thrown up, where it now lies, by the surf: he considers these islands as upheaved bars or shoals, which were deposited in lines where opposed currents met. It is evident that these islands and spits of sand parallel to the coast, and separated from it by shallow lagoons, have no necessary connection with coral-formations. But in Southern Florida, from the accounts I have received from persons who have resided there, the upraised islands seem to be formed of strata, containing a good deal of coral, and they are extensively fringed by living reefs; the channels within these islands are in some places between two and three miles wide, and five or six fathoms deep, though generally (In the ordinary sea-charts, no lagoons appear on the coast of Florida, north of 26 deg; but Major Whiting (“Silliman’s Journal,” volume xxxv., page 54) says that many are formed by sand thrown up along the whole line of coast from St. Augustine’s to Jupiter Inlet.) they are less in depth than width. After having seen how frequently banks of sediment in the West Indian Sea are fringed by reefs, we can readily conceive that bars of sediment might be greatly aided in their formation along a line of coast, by the growth of corals; and such bars would, in that case, have a deceptive resemblance with true barrier-reefs.

Having now endeavoured to remove some sources of doubt in classifying the reefs of the West Indies, I will give my authorities for colouring such portions of the coast as I have thought myself warranted in doing. Captain Bird Allen informs me, that most of the islands on the BAHAMA BANKS are fringed, especially on their windward sides, with living reefs; and hence I have coloured those, which are thus represented in Captain Owen’s late chart, red. The same officer informs me, that the islands along the southern part of FLORIDA are similarly fringed; coloured red. CUBA: Proceeding along the northern coast, at the distance of forty miles from the extreme S.E. point, the shores are fringed by reefs, which extend westward for a space of 160 miles, with only a few breaks. Parts of these reefs are represented in the plans of the harbours on this coast by Captain Owen; and an excellent description is given of them by Mr. Taylor (Loudon’s “Mag. of Nat. Hist.” volume ix., page 449); he states that they enclosed a space called the “baxo,” from half to three-quarters of a mile in width, with a sandy bottom, and a little coral. In most parts people can wade, at low water, to the reef; but in some parts the depth is between two and three fathoms. Close outside the reef, the depth is between six and seven fathoms; these well-characterised fringing-reefs are coloured red. Westward of longitude 77 deg 30′, on the northern side of Cuba, a great bank commences, which extends along the coast for nearly four degrees of longitude. In the place of its commencement, in its structure, and in the “CAYS,” or low islands on its edge, there is a marked correspondence (as observed by Humboldt, “Pers. Narr.” volume vii., page 88) between it and the Great Bahama and Sal Banks, which lie directly in front. Hence one is led to attribute the same origin to both these sets of banks; namely, the accumulation of sediment, conjoined with an elevatory movement, and the growth of coral on their outward edges; those parts which appear fringed by living reefs are coloured red. Westward of these banks, there is a portion of coast apparently without reefs, except in the harbours, the shores of which seem in the published plans to be fringed. The COLORADO SHOALS (see Captain Owen’s charts), and the low land at the western end of Cuba, correspond as closely in relative position and structure to the banks at the extreme point of Florida, as the banks above described on the north side of Cuba, do to the Bahamas, the depth within the islets and reefs on the outer edge of the COLORADOS, is generally between two and three fathoms, increasing to twelve fathoms in the southern part, where the bank becomes nearly open, without islets or coral-reefs; the portions which are fringed are coloured red. The southern shore of Cuba is deeply concave, and the included space is filled up with mud and sandbanks, low islands and coral-reefs. Between the mountainous ISLE OF PINES and the southern shore of Cuba, the general depth is only between two and three fathoms; and in this part small islands, formed of fragmentary rock and broken madrepores (Humboldt, “Pers. Narr.” volume vii. pages 51, 86 to 90, 291, 309, 320), rise abruptly, and just reach the surface of the sea. From some expressions used in the “Columbian Navigator” (volume i., part ii., page 94), it appears that considerable spaces along the outer coast of Southern Cuba are bounded by cliffs of coral-rock, formed probably by the upheaval of coral-reefs and sandbanks. The charts represent the southern part of the Isle of Pines as fringed by reefs, which the “Columb. Navig.” says extend some way from the coast, but have only from nine to twelve feet water on them; these are coloured red.–I have not been able to procure any detailed description of the large groups of banks and “cays” further eastward on the southern side of Cuba; within them there is a large expanse, with a muddy bottom, from eight to twelve fathoms deep; although some parts of this line of coast are represented in the general charts of the West Indies, as fringed, I have not thought it prudent to colour them. The remaining portion of the south coast of Cuba appears to be without coral-reefs.


The N.E. part of the promontory appears in Captain Owen’s charts to be fringed; coloured red. The eastern coast, from 20 deg to 18 deg is fringed. South of latitude 18 deg, there commences the most remarkable reef in the West Indies: it is about one hundred and thirty miles in length, ranging in a N. and S. line, at an average distance of fifteen miles from the coast. The islets on it are all low, as I have been informed by Captain B. Allen; the water deepens suddenly on the outside of the reef, but not more abruptly than off many of the sedimentary banks: within its southern extremity (off HONDURAS) the depth is twenty-five fathoms; but in the more northern parts, the depth soon increases to ten fathoms, and within the northernmost part, for a space of twenty miles, the depth is only from one to two fathoms. In most of these respects we have the characteristics of a barrier-reef; nevertheless, from observing, first, that the channel within the reef is a continuation of a great irregular bay, which penetrates the mainland to the depth of fifty miles; and secondly, that considerable spaces of this barrier-like reef are described in the charts (for instance, in latitude 16 deg 45′ and 16 deg 12′) as formed of pure sand; and thirdly, from knowing that sediment is accumulating in many parts of the West Indies in banks parallel to the shore; I have not ventured to colour this reef as a barrier, without further evidence that it has really been formed by the growth of corals, and that it is not merely in parts a spit of sand, and in other parts a worn down promontory, partially coated and fringed by reefs; I lean, however, to the probability of its being a barrier-reef, produced by subsidence. To add to my doubts, immediately on the outside of this barrier-like reef, TURNEFFE, LIGHTHOUSE, and GLOVER reefs are situated, and these reefs have so completely the form of atolls, that if they had occurred in the Pacific, I should not have hesitated about colouring them blue. TURNEFFE REEF seems almost entirely filled up with low mud islets; and the depth within the other two reefs is only from one to three fathoms. From this circumstance and from their similarity in form, structure, and relative position, both to the bank called NORTHERN TRIANGLES, on which there is an islet between seventy and eighty feet, and to COZUMEL Island, the level surface of which is likewise between seventy and eighty feet in height, I consider it more probable that the three foregoing banks are the worn down bases of upheaved shoals, fringed with corals, than that they are true atolls, wholly produced by the growth of coral during subsidence; left uncoloured.

In front of the eastern MOSQUITO coast, there are between latitude 12 deg and 16 deg some extensive banks (already mentioned, page 148), with high islands rising from their centres; and there are other banks wholly submerged, both of which kinds of banks are bordered, near their windward margins, by crescent-shaped coral-reefs. But it can hardly be doubted, as was observed in the preliminary remarks, that these banks owe their origin, like the great bank extending from the Mosquito promontory, almost entirely to the accumulation of sediment, and not to the growth of corals; hence I have not coloured them.

CAYMAN ISLAND: this island appears in the charts to be fringed; and Captain B. Allen informs me that the reefs extend about a mile from the shore, and have only from five to twelve feet water within them; coloured red.–JAMAICA: judging from the charts, about fifteen miles of the S.E. extremity, and about twice that length on the S.W. extremity, and some portions on the S. side near Kingston and Port Royal, are regularly fringed, and therefore are coloured red. From the plans of some harbours on the N. side of Jamaica, parts of the coast appear to be fringed; but as these are not represented in the charts of the whole island, I have not coloured them.–ST. DOMINGO: I have not been able to obtain sufficient information, either from plans of the harbours, or from general charts, to enable me to colour any part of the coast, except sixty miles from Port de Plata westward, which seems very regularly fringed; many other parts, however, of the coast are probably fringed, especially towards the eastern end of the island.–PUERTO RICO: considerable portions of the southern, western, and eastern coasts, and some parts of the northern coast, appear in the charts to be fringed; coloured red.–Some miles in length of the southern side of the Island of ST. THOMAS is fringed; most of the VIRGIN GORDA Islands, as I am informed by Mr. Schomburgk, are fringed; the shores of ANEGADA, as well as the bank on which it stands, are likewise fringed; these islands have been coloured red. The greater part of the southern side of SANTA CRUZ appears in the Danish survey to be fringed (see also Prof. Hovey’s account of this island, in “Silliman’s Journal,” volume xxxv., page 74); the reefs extend along the shore for a considerable space, and project rather more than a mile; the depth within the reef is three fathoms; coloured red.–The ANTILLES, as remarked by Von Buch (“Descrip. Iles Canaries,” page 494), may be divided into two linear groups, the western row being volcanic, and the eastern of modern calcareous origin; my information is very defective on the whole group. Of the eastern islands, BARBUDA and the western coasts of ANTIGUA and MARIAGALANTE appear to be fringed: this is also the case with BARBADOES, as I have been informed by a resident; these islands are coloured red. On the shores of the Western Antilles, of volcanic origin, very few coral-reefs appear to exist. The island of MARTINIQUE, of which there are beautifully executed French charts, on a very large scale, alone presents any appearance worthy of special notice. The south-western, southern, and eastern coasts, together forming about half the circumference of the island, are skirted by very irregular banks, projecting generally rather less than a mile from the shore, and lying from two to five fathoms submerged. In front of almost every valley, they are breached by narrow, crooked, steep-sided passages. The French engineers ascertained by boring, that these submerged banks consisted of madreporitic rocks, which were covered in many parts by thin layers of mud or sand. From this fact, and especially from the structure of the narrow breaches, I think there can be little doubt that these banks once formed living reefs, which fringed the shores of the island, and like other reefs probably reached the surface. From some of these submerged banks reefs of living coral rise abruptly, either in small detached patches, or in lines parallel to, but some way within the outer edges of the banks on which they are based. Besides the above banks which skirt the shores of the island, there is on the eastern side a range of linear banks, similarly constituted, twenty miles in length, extending parallel to the coast line, and separated from it by a space between two and four miles in width, and from five to fifteen fathoms in depth. From this range of detached banks, some linear reefs of living coral likewise rise abruptly; and if they had been of greater length (for they do not front more than a sixth part of the circumference of the island), they would necessarily from their position have been coloured as barrier-reefs; as the case stands they are left uncoloured. I suspect that after a small amount of subsidence, the corals were killed by sand and mud being deposited on them, and the reefs being thus prevented from growing upwards, the banks of madreporitic rock were left in their present submerged condition.

THE BERMUDA Islands have been carefully described by Lieutenant Nelson, in an excellent Memoir in the “Geological Transactions” (volume v., part i., page 103). In the form of the bank or reef, on one side of which the islands stand, there is a close general resemblance to an atoll; but in the following respects there is a considerable difference,–first, in the margin of the reef not forming (as I have been informed by Mr. Chaffers, R.N.) a flat, solid surface, laid bare at low water, and regularly bounding the internal space of shallow water or lagoon; secondly, in the border of gradually shoaling water, nearly a mile and a half in width, which surrounds the entire outside of the reef (as is laid down in Captain Hurd’s chart); and thirdly, in the size, height, and extraordinary form of the islands, which present little resemblance to the long, narrow, simple islets, seldom exceeding half a mile in breadth, which surmount the annular reefs of almost all the atolls in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Moreover, there are evident proofs (Nelson, Ibid., page 118), that islands similar to the existing ones, formerly extended over other parts of the reef. It would, I believe, be difficult to find a true atoll with land exceeding thirty feet in height; whereas, Mr. Nelson estimates the highest point of the Bermuda Islands to be 260 feet; if, however, Mr. Nelson’s view, that the whole of the land consists of sand drifted by the winds, and agglutinated together, were proved correct, this difference would be immaterial; but, from his own account (page 118), there occur in one place, five or six layers of red earth, interstratified with the ordinary calcareous rock, and including stones too heavy for the wind to have moved, without having at the same time utterly dispersed every grain of the accompanying drifted matter. Mr. Nelson attributes the origin of these several layers, with their embedded stones, to as many violent catastrophes; but further investigation in such cases has generally succeeded in explaining phenomena of this kind by ordinary and simpler means. Finally, I may remark, that these islands have a considerable resemblance in shape to Barbuda in the West Indies, and to Pemba on the eastern coast of Africa, which latter island is about two hundred feet in height, and consists of coral-rock. I believe that the Bermuda Islands, from being fringed by living reefs, ought to have been coloured red; but I have left them uncoloured, on account of their general resemblance in external form to a lagoon-island or atoll.


The names not in capitals are all names of places, and refer exclusively to the Appendix: in well-defined archipelagoes, or groups of islands, the name of each separate island is not given.

ABROLHOS, Brazil, coated by corals.

Abrolhos (Australia).

ABSENCE of coral-reefs from certain coasts.

Acaba, gulf of.

Admiralty group.

AFRICA, east coast, fringing-reef of. Madreporitic rock of.

Africa, east coast.

AGE of individual corals.




Alert reef.

Alexander, Grand Duke, island.

ALLAN, Dr., on Holuthuriae feeding on corals. On quick growth of corals at Madagascar. On reefs affected by currents.



Amargoura. (Amargura.)


America, west coast.




ANAMOUKA, description of.


Anadaman islands.


Appoo reef.

Arabia Felix.

AREAS, great extent of, interspersed with low islands. Of subsidence and of elevation.
Of subsidence appear to be elongated. Of subsidence alternating with areas of elevation.

Arru group.


ASCIDIA, depth at which found.



Atlantic islands.

ATOLLS, breaches in their reefs.
Dimensions of.
Dimensions of groups of.
Not based on craters or on banks of sediment, or of rock. Of irregular forms.
Steepness of their flanks.
Width of their reef and islets.
Their lowness.
General range.
With part of their reef submerged, and theory of.

Augustine, St.

AURORA island, an upraised atoll.


AUSTRAL islands, recently elevated.

Austral islands.

Australia, N.W. coast.

AUSTRALIAN barrier-reef.

Australian barrier.

Babuyan group.

Bahama banks.




BARRIER-REEF of Australia.
Of New Caledonia.

BARRIER-REEFS, breaches through.
Not based on worn down margin of rock. On banks of sediment.
On submarine craters.
Steepness of their flanks.
Their probable vertical thickness.
Theory of their formation.

Bampton shoal.

Banks islands.

Banks in the West Indies.

Bashee islands.

Bass island.


Beaupre reef.

BEECHEY, Captain, obligations of the author to. On submerged reefs.
Account of Matilda island.

BELCHER, Captain, on boring through coral-reef.

Belize reef, off.


Bermuda islands.

Beveridge reef.


BOLABOLA, view of.

Bombay shoal.

Bonin Bay.

Bonin group.

BORINGS through coral-reefs.

BORNEO, W. coast, recently elevated.

Borneo, E. coast.
S.W. and W. coast
N. coast.
Western bank.







BRAZIL, fringing-reefs on coast of.

BREACHES through barrier-reefs.







Cargados Carajos.

Caroline archipelago.

Caroline island.

Carteret shoal.

CARYOPHYLLIA, depth at which it lives.


Cayman island.



CEYLON, recently elevated.


CHAGOS Great Bank, description and theory of.

CHAGOS group.

Chagos group.

CHAMA-SHELLS embedded in coral-rock.

CHAMISSO, on corals preferring the surf.

CHANGES in the state of Keeling atoll. Of atolls.

CHANNELS leading into the lagoons of atolls. Into the Maldiva atolls.
Through barrier-reefs.


China sea.


Christmas atoll.

Christmas island (Indian Ocean).


Clipperton rock.

COCOS, or Keeling atoll.

Cocos (or Keeling).

Cocos island (Pacific).

COCHIN China, encroachments of the sea on the coast.

Cochin China.


Comoro group.

COMPOSITION of coral-formations.

CONGLOMERATE coral-rock on Keeling atoll. On other atolls.

COOK islands, recently elevated.

Cook islands.

CORAL-BLOCKS bored by vermiform animals.

CORAL-REEFS, their distribution and absence from certain areas. Destroyed by loose sediment.

CORAL-ROCK at Keeling atoll.
Organic remains of.

CORALS dead but upright in Keeling lagoon. Depths at which they live.
Off Keeling atoll.
Killed by a short exposure.
Living in the lagoon of Keeling atoll. Quick growth of, in Keeling lagoon.
Merely coating the bottom of the sea. Standing exposed in the Low archipelago.


Corallian sea.



COUTHOUY, Mr., alleged proofs of recent elevation of the Low archipelago. On coral-rock at Mangaia and Aurora islands. On external ledges round coral-islands.
Remarks confirmatory of the author’s theory.



CUMING, Mr., on the recent elevation of the Philippines.

Dangerous, or Low archipelago.

Danger islands.

DEPTHS at which reef-building corals live. At Mauritius, the Red Sea, and in the Maldiva archipelago. At which other corals and corallines can live.

Dhalac group.

DIEGO GARCIA, slow growth of reef.

DIMENSIONS of the larger groups of atolls.

DISSEVERMENT of the Maldiva atolls, and theory of.

DISTRIBUTION of coral-reefs.

Domingo, St.

DORY, Port, recently elevated.

Dory, Port.

Duff islands.



EARTHQUAKES at Keeling atoll.
In groups of atolls.
In Navigator archipelago.

EAST INDIAN ARCHIPELAGO, recently elevated.



EHRENBERG, on the banks of the Red Sea. On depths at which corals live in the Red Sea. On corals preferring the surf.
On the antiquity of certain corals.


ELEVATED reef of Mauritius.

ELEVATIONS, recent proofs of.
Immense areas of.


Recently elevated.

Elizabeth island.

Ellice group.

ENCIRCLED ISLANDS, their height.
Geological composition.

EOUA, description of.


ERUPTED MATTER probably not associated with thick masses of coral-rock.

FAIS, recently elevated.



Farallon de Medinilla.

Farson group.


FIJI archipelago.

FISH, feeding on corals.
Killed in Keeling lagoon by heavy rain.

FISSURES across coral-islands.

FITZROY, Captain, on a submerged shed at Keeling atoll. On an inundation in the Low archipelago.






FORSTER, theory of coral-formations.

Frederick reef.