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GSI to study tsunami-volcano link

June 15, 2005 20:41 IST

Scientists from the state-run Geological Survey of India will study the volcano in Andaman and Nicobar island to look for possible links between the eruptions and the December 26 tsunami that hit the area.

The volcano on the Island spewed smoke, dust and lava this month, but Indian authorities said there was no threat to the environment and marine life.

"Volcanoes and earthquakes happen independent of each other but there is scope for studying the link in this case," M K Mukhopadhyay, GSI deputy director general, said.

A team of geoscientists is visiting Barren Island to collect lava samples.

A GSI scientist said the tsunami caused 'readjustment of lethospheric plates' that might have disturbed lava pockets and caused the volcanic eruptions.

The Andaman and Nicobar islands are situated on an undersea fault that continues to nearby Indonesia. The island chain has experienced hundreds of aftershocks following the powerful undersea earthquake that caused the tsunami.

Over 430 people were killed and at least 3,000 are still missing after the tsunami slammed into the Andaman and Nicobar islands.

The first recorded eruption on Barren Island occurred in 1787. There have been a number since then, the last in Dec. 1994.

The three-km wide island has sparse foliage that is eaten by goats that live there.

It is India's only active volcano, with a 1.6 km wide crater and is situated 135 km northeast of Port Blair in Andamans, 1,200 km south off the mainland.

M Chhaya in Kolkata