"One of the more interesting stories surfaced in 1948, when a former British intelligence agent named Dod Osborne told of being stranded on a vanishing island in the North Atlantic.... The sand banks were known to Africans as the Phantom Islands, Osborne learned. French scientists of the day believed the islands were formed by a great underground river flowing beneath the Sahara Desert. The river deposits sand from the desert between sixty and one hundred miles out to sea. When the outlet of the river clogs, pressure eventually builds up, causing the mounds of sand to belch out of the ocean."
—Brian Hicks, Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew (NY: Ballantine Books, 2004), 227, 228