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India's only volcano on Barren Island active again

By
Andrew V. Pestano
The Barren Island volcano, India's only live volcano, is once again active, scientists working for the National Institute of Oceanography who witnessed the volcanic activity in January said. Photo courtesy of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography
The Barren Island volcano, India's only live volcano, is once again active, scientists working for the National Institute of Oceanography who witnessed the volcanic activity in January said. Photo courtesy of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography

Feb. 21 (UPI) -- India's National Institute of Oceanography said the volcano on the uninhabited Barren Island is once again active after scientists witnessed lava and rising smoke.

The scientists, led by Dr. Abhay V. Mudholkar from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Institute of Oceanography, or CSIR-NIO, saw the volcanic activity occur while they were collecting sea floor samples aboard a research ship in the Andaman Basin of India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory on Jan. 23.

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"India's only live volcano in the Andaman and Nicobar islands is erupting once again. The Barren Island volcano, located 140 km [about 87 miles] Northeast of Port Blair, dormant for more than 150 years started erupting in 1991 and has since then shown intermittent activity," CSIR-NIO said in a statement on Monday. "The volcano was erupting in small episodes lasting about 5 to 10 minutes. During the daytime only ash clouds were observed. However after sundown, the team observed red lava fountains spewing from the crater into the atmosphere and hot lava flows streaming down the slopes of the volcano."

The team of scientists revisited the site on Jan. 26 and saw the volcano was still active. The team took samples of sediments and water near the volcano, as well as "coal-like black pyroclastic material representing proximal volcanic ejecta," CSIR-NIO said.

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The scientists did not attempt to land on the volcanic islands because it was too dangerous due to the volcanic activity.

"The volcanic island is uninhabited and the northern part of the island is, as the name suggests, barren and devoid of vegetation," CSIR-NIO said.

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