TODAY -

Volcanoes of India

S Balakrishnan *

 2. Location map



Volcanoes in India! Yes, not just one but two - a sleeping (dormant) one and an active one. Both of them are isolated standalone volcanic islands situated in Andaman Sea (Bay of Bengal), falling within the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Volcanoes are classified as active, dormant and extinct. An extinct volcano is one that has no supply of magma (molten rock). Dormant volcanoes may remain sleepy even for thousands of years and then erupt suddenly. Don’t ‘under’estimate them!

To be on the safer side, let us first visit the dormant volcanic island ‘Narcondam’. The name is a derivative of Tamil ‘naraka’ (hell) ‘gundam’ (opening/hole/cauldron), obviously indicating the volcanic nature of the island. But whether the Tamils actually meant this island or the other one, the Barren Island, is not clear, but the name stuck to this volcanic island.

This small oceanic island of volcanic origin is 6.8 sq. km.; it is the easternmost island in the Andaman & Nicobar Group. The peak rises 710 meters above sea level. Narcondam is 240 km north-east of Port Blair, the capital town of the Union Territory, and is so isolated that it is 74 km (46 mi) to the east of the nearest North Andaman Island.

It is naturally cut off from any nearby landmass and thus stands majestically aloof and high. An unmanned lighthouse has been established on the slopes of Narcondam in 1983, powered by battery & solar panel. It is visited by the personnel of Lighthouse Department in their vessel which is anchored 4 kms off the shore; they then take a country boat (dinghy) to reach the shore and then walk to the lighthouse through dense forest and hilly terrain.

Narcondam is unique for the occurrence of the endemic Narcondam Hornbill (Aceros narcondami) which is found only in Narcondam Island, hence endemic. Population of the Narcondam hornbill is estimated to be around 50 to 250 individual birds. It feeds on berries and fruits in tall trees.

The species is recognised as endangered in the IUCN Red List and is protected under Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act of India granting it the highest level of protection in Indian Laws. The volcanic Narcondam island is a dormant inner arc volcano of the active Andaman–Java Subduction Complex in the Andaman Sea, and an outstanding example representing major stages of earth's history with significant geomorphic features.

 Aerial view of Barren erupting
Aerial view of Barren erupting



Besides, Narcondam is also an outstanding example of ongoing ecological and evolutionary processes. The lonely volcanic island is uninhabited except for a security post and, therefore, is naturally safeguarded.

The property has also been notified as Sanctuary under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, granting it further protection. For these unique features, Narcondam volcanic island has been proposed for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list. Narcondam last erupted in 1681.

Now let us boldly visit the only active volcano of India, the Barren Island. It is so called because its slope is so barren, devoid of any vegetation. This is also an isolated volcanic island which is related to subduction of Indian plate beneath the overriding South-East Asian plate.

About sixty such potentially active volcanoes lie along the S-E Asian volcanic rim -1. Barren Island volcano (120 17’ N: 930 51’ E), covering an area of approximately 10 sq km, is also located in Andaman Sea. It is 135 Km N-E of Port Blair, i.e., 100 kms closer to Port Blair compared to Narcondam Island. Its height is 354 meters.

The eruption of Barren Island has been grouped into three time periods – pre-1787 (pre-historic), 1787-1832, and 1991-2015. Again, 1991-2015 period is further sub-divided into three periods – 1991, 1994-95 and 2005-2015. It has ejected lava and pyroclastic materials, thus creating a cinder cone of 305 m height with a 60m diameter crater during 1787-1832 period. This crater became 400 m wide and 200m deep in 1991.

If you are rich enough to charter a ferry, you can as well visit Barren Island with prior permission of Forest Department of A&N Administration. Foreigners, however, are not allowed to land on Barren Island; they can view the volcanic island from onboard only.

For those who cannot afford to charter a ferry, mud volcanoes of Baratang Island in Middle Andaman Island Group and near Diglipur in North Andaman are the poor man’s choice. As these two volcanic islands are out of reach of ordinary citizens (aam aadmi), I never had a chance to visit them during my living there (1978-1980).

As a humble citizen I could only visit the humble mud volcano of Baratang Island in 2009, during my revisit to the Islands. Some consolation! However, I could buy a video cassette in Port Blair that showcases the splendid eruption of Barren Island in 2005. I hope the Narcondam - remember, it is only dormant, not extinct - also displays its pyrotechnics before I depart from this world.


* S Balakrishnan wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is from Chennai and can be reached at krishnanbala2004(AT)yahoo(DOT)co(DOT)in
This article was webcasted on November 22 2023.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #24: Download
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Shaheed Memorial Football Final : Gallery
  • O, Martyrs, Martyrs
  • Remembering the fire at Sainik School Imphal
  • Meephamlen & Life Time Achievement
  • Program: Youth Leadership & Development
  • 7 facts about ancient Goddess Panthoibi
  • Myanmar border fencing; arson in CCpur
  • Research Officer- Financial @ Amethyst
  • Exploring nutritional virtues of maternal milk
  • Fine dining with flavours of Northeast
  • ST categorisation : Not the job of judiciary
  • Growing demand for abrogating SoO pact
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #2 : Gallery
  • Agro forestry for sustainable agriculture
  • Relief materials & interaction at Kangpokpi
  • Exodus from Myanmar justify 'border fencing'
  • Earth Civilization :: Poem
  • Enhancing domestic fish consumption in India
  • Growing call to abrogate SoO pact
  • Acquitting the criminal, penalising the victim
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #7 :: Book
  • Recipe for a full fledged civil war
  • Health Camp at Santhong Relief Camp
  • Farming- loss-making but MSP is not practical
  • Magic ingredients for radiant & flawless skin
  • First Assam LitArt Festival concludes
  • Silence of the guns, for the moment
  • A brighter side of the conflict
  • Interview with Naorem Roshibina (Wushu)
  • Memo to Chief Minister : The Way Forward
  • Best wishes to all students of classes 10th
  • The Power of Poppy - 20 :: Poem
  • Boost student retention power for board exam
  • Claiming ancestral rights over Thangjing
  • Indeed, no comparison with Manipur violence
  • Radio E-pao :: Contemporary (350+ songs)
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs #4 : Gallery
  • Rising above adversity for excellence
  • 7 facts about Meitei Goddess Nganu Leima
  • 149 experts call to find all TB to stop TB
  • Resilient tourism for vibrant career
  • Non-stop assault on Sugnu : The pattern
  • Nearly 5mn candidates for 60k posts
  • Folktales of Manipur 2.0
  • Nothing to kill or die for
  • The Kutsapo Proclamation
  • Nagas oppose border fencing with Myanmar
  • Great game for peace and security
  • IIT Delhi at Abu Dhabi
  • Restraining armed forces vis- Kuki militants
  • Drawing the battle line for Moreh at last
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #23: Download
  • Aira Thoudam - coveted scholarship in Egypt
  • Condemns violence committed in CCpur
  • Last Smile of our Fallen Comrade : Poem
  • Sachinker ties knot with Raina Rajkumari
  • Complex challenges & calls for resolution
  • Save Manipur : Protest [Feb 15] #1 : Gallery
  • Sonia Nepram at 74th Berlinale, Germany
  • Manipur: Best AIFF Grassroots Award 2024
  • Children struggling tough competition
  • Reliance Foundation partners with NSDC
  • Bigger agenda behind CCpur protest
  • When Frankenstein acts as a law unto itself
  • A Cloud in Trousers : A translation #4
  • Manipur imbroglio and our lessons
  • The Living Song :: Poem
  • Entries : Mumbai International Film Festival
  • MG Motor India's new facility in Silchar
  • Self-funded Rail budget earns profits
  • Points Imphal should lay before Delhi
  • Dissenters not to go down without a fight
  • Art Exhibition @ RKCS Museum #5 : Gallery
  • Article 371 C aggravates ethnic divide
  • Into the lap of nature : Udupi #2
  • Delhi's dance with Meitei-Kuki conundrum
  • 'Vividhata ka Amrit Mahotsav' in Delhi
  • 2024 may pose challenges in 11 States
  • FMR scrapped, border fencing assured
  • Time to take a final call
  • Legacies of the Khamba-Thoibi classics
  • Transforming education in Manipur
  • The Power of Poppy - 19 :: Poem
  • Beauty tip to look awesome- Valentine's Day
  • Towards understanding of human journeys
  • If them then why not the Meiteis ?
  • Ensuring basic rights of conflict children
  • 75th Republic Day @ Kangla #2 : Gallery
  • Bambam Thounaojam - MMA World Champion
  • Distress Relief @ Sugnu [Jan] : Gallery
  • Manipur's struggle for peace amidst tension
  • Hold govts to account for ending tobacco
  • Meghalaya Cancer Conclave 2024
  • Not the time to take political mileage
  • Way off the mark
  • Abnormal population growth of Kuki from 1881
  • May 3 violence :: Poem
  • Bharat-Burma border barbed
  • Importance of STEM careers for girls
  • Development of mental health in school
  • Displaced children in relief camps
  • Is it the end of Kuki-AR honeymoon period ?
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #22: Download
  • Manipur Technology Innovation Hub Startup
  • As Time Ticks Away :: Poem
  • Architecture & design confluence - BAIC
  • UG Scholarships 2023-24 results announced
  • Occupational therapy role in erb's palsy
  • National Voters' Day @ Lamphel : Gallery
  • Into the lap of nature : Udupi #1
  • Stop disrespect for places of worship
  • IBSD & NBRC joined hand for research
  • MedTech Mitra : A facilitation highway uptake
  • First edition of Assam LitArt Festival
  • Weed out the illegal immigrants
  • Behind and beyond the rhetoric
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing #6 :: Book
  • Training on cultivation of mushroom at Tera
  • Workshop: Exploring genomic resources of NE
  • India-Australia Partnership in Education
  • Why a new dawn of development in NE
  • Healthy Hair : keep it healthy
  • Beyond scrapping FMR
  • The letter of WKZIC to ADB
  • A Northeasterner's Reflection on India
  • Feathers of different birds flock together
  • Manipur : 9 months into endless killings
  • Call to make Big Tobacco pay for health
  • Mahotsav : Richness of Northeast India
  • Noting the call from AMCO
  • Not enough to rest assured anyone
  • Resilience in adversity | Kumbi : Gallery
  • Why effective treatments for TB not out
  • Cease the strife :: Poem
  • Balancing mental well-being of students
  • FM Hi debt funds Rs 45 tr budget
  • Submission of admission, apology
  • Unveiling the mask of Kuki MLAs once again
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs [24 Jan] #3 : Gallery
  • Lessons from Manipur on vigilantism
  • Exposure to air pollution can lead to cancer
  • Interim budget: Need comprehensive reforms
  • From exam stress to success
  • Adding more teeth to the silence
  • Still, a far-off land for Mr Prime Minister
  • A Cloud in Trousers : A translation #3
  • Dissecting the strength of Kukis #2
  • Self Defence Training : for school girls
  • Bharat Ratna for the Mandir man
  • Desi remedy for farm sector
  • Noting the words of caution from UNC
  • The best way to settle Thangjing issue
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #21: Download
  • Maharaj Gambhir Singh #2: Gallery
  • To Our Fallen Village Volunteers :: Poem
  • "It's Not My Choice" triumphs in every aspect
  • Jamir congratulates Advani for Bharat Ratna
  • Climate change needs to be taught
  • 75th Republic Day @ Kangla #1 : Gallery
  • Management fest at Assam University
  • Transformation from adulthood to parenthood
  • NEP's vision is to make India competitive
  • 35th Road Safety Campaign in North East
  • Budget - Welfare with Fiscal Discipline
  • Understanding call against lifting FMR
  • Nine months and counting
  • Statue in front of Western Gate, Kangla ?
  • My memories of Imphal from 1941 : Review
  • Auditions: 20th Mega Miss North East
  • Face scrubs for glowing skin
  • Auditions: 13th Mega Mister North East
  • Seaweed: Sea of opportunities
  • Continuing clash: Dialogue the way forward
  • The truth behind the objection
  • Gaan-Ngai at Keishamthong #2 : Gallery
  • Dissecting the strength of Kukis #1
  • Gandhiji's Three Monkeys
  • 8th Northeast Fashion Week concludes
  • The Power of Poppy - 18 :: Poem
  • Career in clean energy for sustainability
  • State's response vis-a-vis Manipur crisis
  • The cries of crisis-hit farmers
  • February Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Parental support to manage children's stress
  • Stop construction of oil Depot in Kangchup
  • Ramji's consecration may calm us
  • JioAirFiber services to cover entire NE
  • State & war on civilians : Failures
  • Trying to stay relevant
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [18 Jan] #2: Gallery
  • Seeking solutions, not scapegoats: Response
  • Gaan-Ngai celebration at Delhi
  • Citizens Action for Manipur : Launch
  • Support & Distress Relief at Sugnu
  • Bijou Thaangjam announces Film with Yogesh
  • Redefining matrimony: Prioritizing character
  • Digital Dentistry launched in Guwahati
  • Demand for ST tag: Let authority decide
  • A 'silly' option to end crisis
  • Handloom- loom other than Powerloom #4
  • Support of 8 murdered civilians : Gallery
  • Rs 6.48 lakh to families of 8 murdered civilians
  • Hiring: Hostel Wardens at SAS Manipur
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Clarion call to Hon'ble CM
  • Blame on State forces: Propaganda warfare
  • The declarations of ITLF
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #20: Download
  • Release of Annual Calendar 2024 at Pune
  • Machihan Sasa honoured with Padma Shri
  • Painting : World Cervical Cancer Month
  • Where Do We Stand Now? :: Poem
  • Scope as Asst Enforcement Officer
  • Gaan-Ngai at Keishamthong #1 : Gallery
  • Relief Service @ 16 relief camps : Gallery
  • Lan Nangda Loiroba ! A musing
  • 75th Republic Day at Lamphel Court
  • Manipuri Dance at Republic Day at Chennai
  • Transforming education, building our future
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs [24 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Arambai Tengol & SFs [24 Jan] #1 : Gallery
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [17 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Final Photo Electoral Rolls for 2024
  • Protests attack @ Moreh [18 Jan] #1: Gallery
  • Guard of honor - W Somorjit : Gallery
  • 13 martyrs brought to JNIMS : Gallery
  • Mangani Leihul of 13 martyrs #2 : Gallery
  • Oinam Chaoba Devi: Sepak Takraw : Gallery
  • Ayekpam Maipak (Sepak Takraw) : Gallery
  • Shanglakpam Nilakanta (Hockey) : Gallery
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD