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List of active and dormant volcanoes in India

Introduction

Amidst the nature’s calmness lies natures fireworks. Filled with vibrant colours like orange, yellow and red, exploding with its fiery energy, Volcanoes, paints nature’s wild side. But what is a volcano? How are they formed? What are they made up of? Where are they located?  If you are someone who ponders upon such questions read on to have your questions answered.

What is a volcano?

The Earth has something called tectonic plates, and sometimes these plates move around. When these tectonic plates bump into each other or pull apart, they cause cracks in the Earth’s crust (the hard outer layer). The Earth has a lot of heat trapped inside it, which makes the rocks melt, creating magma. When there’s a crack or a weak spot in the Earth’s crust, the magma can push its way up to the surface.

When the pressure of this magma builds up and finds a way to escape through those cracks, it shoots up to the surface, causing a volcanic eruption. That’s when you see lava, which is magma that comes out onto the surface, flowing down the volcano. It can also shoot out rocks, ash, and gases into the air.

When the magma gets close to the surface, it can create a volcano. Sometimes, the volcano is quiet, like it’s sleeping. But other times, the pressure inside builds up a lot, and boom! It erupts!

Volcanoes can have different shapes and sizes, and they’re found all over the world. Some are even underwater! They’re like nature’s way of showing us its power and beauty but also reminding us to respect its force.

Here’s a cool fact about volcanoes: After a volcano erupts, it can leave behind some really fertile soil where plants can grow. So, while volcanoes can be dangerous, they’re also a part of nature’s amazing cycle!

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”—places where magma emerges from the mantle of the Earth.
  • In areas like ‘Mid-Ocean Ridges’, along the underwater mountain rangesX`, where the separation of tectonic plates permits magma to build 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.
  • The lithospheric plates of Earth move, creating subduction zones and increasing pressure that trigger eruptions.
  • ‘Submarine Volcanism’ is a kind of eruption that happens in deep ocean belts and forms underwater mountains and islands.
  • ‘Human activities’ such as mining, drilling, and reservoir operations can trigger volcanic eruptions.
  • ‘High pressure’ can result from interactions between magma and water, which can cause 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 compared to others, earning their name from their immense, wide shield-like shape. They produce low-viscosity basaltic lava, meaning the lava has a thin consistency. This characteristic enables the lava to flow gently for long distances before solidifying. As a result, these volcanoes are non-explosive, with the lava steadily flowing and covering vast distances, forming 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

Also called Composite volcanoes. Characterized by their conical and steep-sided profiles, they are made up of layers of lava, ash, rocks, and other stuff that comes out of the volcano during discharge. These layers can come by over time, making the volcano grow taller and taller.
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 volcanoes in India:

Volcano NameLocationActivity Status
Barren IslandAndaman and Nicobar IslandsActive, Active since 2017
Narcondam IslandAndaman and Nicobar IslandsDormant (Last eruption 1681)
Baratang IslandAndaman and Nicobar IslandsNot highly active but still exhibit, Mud volcanoes (Not very active)
DhinodharGujaratExtinct (Around 500 million years ago)
Dhosi HillHaryanaDormant (Around 750 million years ago)
Tosham HillsHaryanaExtinct (Around 732 million years ago)
Loktak LakeManipurSupervolcanic caldera (Around 100 million years ago) Unknown
Deccan Plateau VolcanoesMaharashtra, KarnatakaExtinct (Approximately 25 million years ago)

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.

FAQ’s

  1. 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.

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

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

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

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

  1. Are there any benefits due to volcanic activity?

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

  1. Who monitors the volcanic activity in India?

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