Barren Island Volcano-India’s Only Live Volcano Became Active Since January

The researchers at Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) have said that India’s only live volcano that had started showing activity in 1991 after lying dormant for over 150 years has now again started spewing ash. “The only live volcano in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was erupting once again. The Barren Island volcano which was located 140-km to the north-east of Port Blair, dormant for more than 150 years had started erupting in 1991 and had since then shown intermittent activity,” NIO said in a statement in Panaji on Friday.

A team of scientists led by Abhay Mudholkar, from CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (CSIR-NIO) in Goa, reported that the volcano was active now and spewing the smoke and lava once again. The NIO had said that on the afternoon on January 23, 2017, the scientific team on board CSIR-NIO’s research ship RV Sindhu Sankalp was busy collecting the seafloor samples in the Andaman Basin near the Barren volcano when it has suddenly started spewing the ash.”

Barren Island volcano

The only live volcano in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was erupting once again

“The team moved for about one mile from the volcano and began carefully observing it. It was exploding in little episodes lasting about five to ten minutes,” said the release. During the daytime, only the ash clouds were observed. However, after sundown, the team found red lava fountains spewing from the crater into the atmosphere, and the hot lava flows such that it streams down the slopes of the volcano, it said.

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The NIO has said that the volcano was revisited again during the second leg of the cruise on January 26, 2017, in the early hour which was led by B Nagender Nath, adding the team witnessed the continuation of spurts of smokes and blasts

“They have sampled the sediments and water in the vicinity of the volcano and recovered a coal-like black pyroclastic material which was representing a proximal volcanic ejecta. The researchers said that the clouds were seen at the crater mouth where the smoke was billowing out in an otherwise clear sky.” These samples would help in revealing the nature of the present and past volcanic activity in the region.

The CSIR-NIO researchers have been investigating the past volcanic effects in Andaman Basin-based on the ash layers in a sediment column. “The team has observed the activity for about four hours before continuing with their research cruise. The NIO has said that landing on the volcanic island was not attempted as it was too dangerous.

Barren Island volcano

A few of those submarine volcanoes have been dredged for the samples, and pumice type of light volcanic rock have been recovered

The release stated that the Andaman Basin was an active back-arc spreading basin and was known for its intense seismicity and many more submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal activity. The scientists from the CSIR-NIO have been surveying about the Andaman Basin, and they have identified several small submerged volcanoes in a linear chain called as a volcanic arc.

The release has also added that these volcanoes were formed due to the rising magma which was formed deep in the mantle due to the melting of the subducted Indian Ocean crust. A few of those submarine volcanoes have been dredged for the samples and pumice type of light volcanic rock have been recovered, it said

The volcanic island was uninhabited, and the northern part of the island was, as the name suggests, barren and devoid of the vegetation. Private citizens of India could visit the volcanic island by chartered boats after obtaining permission from the Forest Department in Port Blair.