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List of active and dormant volcanoes in India

Introduction

Volcanoes have great scenic value on wallpaper, landscape portraits, or charts with a love of orange, red, and yellow hues with bright and impactful sights. But what is a volcano is nature’s spectacle exploding into the other side of nature’s calmness. The volatile and high pressure with intensity gives rise to a breathtaking eruption.

What is a volcano?

Volcanoes exhibit a wide range of explosive nature, from a peaceful atmosphere to a most fatal landscape. These are formed due to the Earth’s internal forces like molten rock, ash, and certain gases escaping from the deep crust. So, the volatile combination of intense heat and grass-filled sectors produces a high-pressure phenomenon ready to impact. This leads to a huge eruption or explosion with thick molten lava effusing out of a blasting outlet. 

Volcanoes are primarily one of the fiery sides of nature and earth, often displaying the dynamic aspects. The ashes and lava spew in different directions for each distinct type of volcano and geography. The other aspect of the volcano is, that it can help in creating new landscapes by forming new crusts, and the deep-seated pure soil and geothermal fossils are spewed out that can help certain walks of life. 

Causes of Eruptions:

Any explosion or an eruption is ignited through triggering factors. Here are some of the diverse causes of how these vary based on the research by scientists that can help in predicting the next eruption.

  • Volcanic ‘Hot spots’ are the areas from where the magma rises from the mantle that is deep within that area.
  • In areas like ‘Mid-Ocean Ridges’, along the underwater mountain ranges, the tectonic plates are pulled apart allowing the magma to reach such surfaces and form new crust.
  • Magma is formed at places where the Earth’s crust is stretched and pulled apart to fill such causes ‘Rifting‘ and gives an eruption.
  • Earth’s ‘lithosphere plates movements’ like forcing beneath each cause subduction zones and create conditions to form magma generation. The pressure builds up and causes an eruption.
  • ‘Submarine Volcanism’ is a kind of eruption that happens in deep ocean belts and forms underwater mountains and islands.
  • ‘Human-induced Activities’ like mining, drilling, and reservoir-related activities cause fatal side effects that trigger Volcanic eruptions.
  • ‘Water Interactions’ like its interaction with magma create a high pressure that leads to steam-driven eruptions. 
  • ‘Magma viscosity’ mixed with other gases can influence a fatal explosion. 
  • Certain earth spaces with ‘Geothermal hot springs’ can influence possible eruptions. 
  • The movements of tectonic plates and seismic activities lead to earthquakes that can shake up the existing magma, mixing it with various gases. So ‘Earthquakes’ too do cause an eruption. 

Different types of volcanoes

Though volcanoes are known to erupt lava and leave ashes later is common, the activity, viscosity, and moments differ and are categorized into different types.

Shield Volcano  

These volcanoes are gentle, and known for their broad sloping profiles resembling a warrior’s shield. They are of low-viscosity basaltic lava flows. This factor allows these volcanoes’ lava to flow for a longer distance gently before solidifying. These are non-explosive, with the lava steadily flowing and covering long distances. The effusive nature of these volcanoes forms extensive plateau ranges. 

Notable examples are:

Mauna Loa (Hawaii) – It is one of the largest shield volcanoes dominating the landscape of Hawaii. Because of its massive size and numerous eruptions, it gradually contributed to the island’s landscape. 

Example- 

Mauna Kea (Hawaii) is known to be the best observatory location. The gentle slopes of the lava and the significant height make it the best feature of the Big Island. 

Stratovolcanoes 

These are also called Composite volcanoes. These are characterized by their conical and steep-sided profiles. The magma is often dacitic or andesitic. The magma is more dangerous than the basaltic magma found in the shield volcanoes. These have higher viscosity leading to more explosive eruptions, creating ash clouds. They have eruption types from explosive to effusive. The explosives types are due to the release of highly trapped gases and high-pressure magma leaving pyroclastic flows and ash clouds, whereas the effusive ones form a steady and slow lava dome.

Examples –

Mount St. Helens in the United States is well-known for its catastrophic eruption in 1980.

Mount Fuji is another example of a stratovolcano for its frequent eruptions in Japan. 

Cinder Cone Volcanoes 

These are simple and smallest types of volcanoes mostly formed by the formation and accumulation of volcanic materials like ash, cinders, and rocks around the central vent. The eruptions are less when compared to other types. These are often short-lived and localized. The slopes are often steep resembling upside-down cones. These are often found around the flanks of larger volcanoes or fissures. The size and height of these cinder volcanoes are less when compared to others. These eject a mixture of ash, cinders, and volcanic rocks during eruptions. 

Example – Paricutin in Mexico is a well-known cinder cone, during eruption demonstrated a dynamic nature of cider cone formation. 

Lava Domes 

These are distinct and fascinating types of volcanic structures. These domes are formed by the slow extrusion of highly viscous lava with dire results as the aftermath. The lava out of these domes has a high silica content that is thick and resistant to flow. As the viscosity of the lava is high, struggles to easily flow at the vent and forms a huge mound in later years. The slow extrusion can create instability, leading to the collapse and release of pyroclastic flows and gases. 

Examples – Novarupta in Alaska, and Mount Unzen in Japan gained attention for their catastrophic eruption in 1980.

List of Active volcanoes in India

Barren Island

This is located in the Andaman Sea, and is the only active volcano in India currently. This is at a distance of 138 kilometers away from Port Blair. Its first outbreak was witnessed in 1787 and it has been spewing out some smoke and heat waves for more than 10 times till recently in 2020. The eruption from this is harmful to the island’s fauna. During the day only ash clouds were observed, but when the sun goes down, the red lava can be seen spewing on the slopes. 

Baratang Island

This is also known as the mud volcano is considered an active one even though there are no recent records of eruptions. The last eruption was recorded in 2005 being associated with the 2004 earthquake. This belongs to the chain of islands of Andaman.

List of Dormant Volcanoes in India

Narcondam Island

This is a small volcano located in the northern Andaman Sea. This is a dormant volcano that has only been recorded to have spewed smoke and formed some mud lately in the year 2005. Since then this volcano stayed dormant, which was classified by the Geological Survey of India.

List of Extinct Volcanoes in India

Deccan Plateau

The bulk of volcanic eruptions occurred at western ghats and the lava flows are estimated to have been very large and approximately covered half the size of modern India. This is an extinct volcano that has erupted about 66 million years ago. It is considered one of the largest volcanic provinces in the world. 

Dhinodhar Hills

This is a volcanic plug rising above the local sandstone and composed of a relatively fresh, very fine-grained dark grey-powered substance. This is located in the Kutch district of Gujarat. This has a last eruption record of 500 million years ago. 

Dhosi Hills

These hills are located in Haryana, with perfect features that define a volcano with distinct cater, and lava still lying on it. This is an extinct volcano with the last eruption about 750 million years ago. 

Tosham Hills

This is a part of the Aravalli Mountain range, in western-southern Haryana, with formations of igneous rocks. This is an extinct volcano with the last eruption record being about 732 million years ago. 

Conclusion

Pack your bags to any of the dormant and extinct volcanic places that are serene with naturally formed scenic aesthetics that are sure to entertain a traveler in you. While these are incredible crafting nature to marvel at, yet a reminder of how dynamic nature is.

Faqs 

Is it safe to visit active or dormant volcanoes in India?

It depends on the safety measures, restrictions, and timings set by the authority where such a volcano is situated taking insights from experts in such studies.

How to monitor volcanic activity to ascertain whether it is active or dormant?

Seismometers, gas analyzers, and satellite imagery are used to monitor such.

What and when was the most recent volcanic eruption in India?

Barren Island in Andaman has recorded the recent volcanic activity in 2021.

Are there any benefits due to volcanic activity?

Volcanic soils can be fertile, and agricultural-supportive, and geothermal energy potential exists.

Who monitors the volcanic activity in India?

The Geological Survey of India monitors volcanic activity and research to assess such hazards.