Every time you think there couldn’t be anything more to the Andaman and Nicobar islands and i drop a bomb!! 😉 Yes!! The more you ask the more you have to explore various wonders of nature in these islands.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands are home to not just one but TWO VOLCANOES – BARREN Island and NARCONDAM Island also only ones in India which makes it important considering there are only about 500 volcanoes on earth.
Barren Island houses the only active volcano in India. The volcanic islands like only about 195 km east of the capital city Port Blair. About 135 km north east of Barren Island lies the other volcano Narcondam Island with no such activity in history. After lying dormant for 150 years, Barren Island volcano erupted in 1991 and has been showing sporadic activity since then, scientists of Goa based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) said.
Barren Island is roughly circular with a diameter of ~3 km and represents the topmost part of a submarine volcano rising more than 2 km above the sea floor. The highest point of the Barren Island volcano is ~200 meters from sea level. Barren Island is well known for its unique fauna and flora, including feral goats, as well as bats, parrots and large number of rats.
There were past reports about the Barren Island that there are no fresh water source in Barren Island and the animals in the Island have adapted themselves to drink sea water is incorrect. At least 2 fresh water streams have been discovered in the Island and there is probability of more.
Volcano Eruptions : 1787–1832, 1991, 1994–95 and 2005–06. 2008-2009. During January and February 1995, a thick column consisting of pale brownish gas, dark ash particles, and white steam was rising ~200 m
from the crater area at intervals of 30 seconds, accompanied by continuous rumbling and intermittent “cracking” sounds.
The most recent activity of the volcano was this year March . The Coast Guard has presented footage of steam, smoke and some red lava that spewed from the volcano at Barren Island, some 140 kilometers north east of Port Blair. You can click the link below to watch the video. Night view of the Volcanic activity
How to go there:
It is a uninhabited Island and no one is allowed to land on Barren Island unless special permission(s) are granted by Indian Navy and Govt. of India. Though it is possible to observe the Island from on-board boats/ships for which no permission is required. Some travel agents organised fishing trips to Barren Island from Havelock. The nearest inhabited island is Havelock and Neil Island and the distance from there to barren is about 83 kilometers.
The Andaman Administration started ship trips to Barren Island for tourists (They were not allowed to set foot on Barren Island though) but discontinued the arrangement within few months probably because of operational costs.
Narcondam Island is a 6.8 km² oceanic island of volcanic origin located about 240 km northeast of Port Blair. The Island has been declared as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Center.
Narcondam is unique for the occurrence of the endemic Narcondam Hornbill (Aceros narcondami), which is found only in Narcondam. This Narcondam hornbill has the smallest range among the 31 species of Asian hornbills (Kinnaird and O’Brien 2007). The species is recognized 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.It has a strong evolutionary significance and has even been compared with the Galapagos Islands.
The waters surrounding Narcondam Island are legendary for being a “diver’s paradise” considering the North Bay islands are close to this island which is famous for water sports activities. An extinct volcano, Narcondam was put on the diving map by diving pioneer Jacque Cousteau who was the first to dive in these waters, describing “a wondrous realm of stunning marine life and coral reefs”. The diving here features magnificent coral formations, spectacular rocky drop offs and presence of pelagic and majestic creatures such as Manta Rays; plus gas bubbles rising from fissures in the ocean floor.
Narcondam has a check post of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police which is supported in precisely this fashion, with some 20-odd members posted on duty for a few months by rotation. Of course, though Narcondam is a taller, larger island, mostly forest-covered and with very difficult terrain, the police check post there benefits from a never-drying cold freshwater spring.
Mud Volcano : As mentioned in my previous posts, the Baratang Island has the mud volcano which is the only one in Asia. You can see mud instead of lava being erupted of the volcano hole.If beaches were the only reasons for you to plan your trip to Andaman now you can add Volcanoes too 🙂 Do you have a Volcano in your place or country? Let me know!!
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