Barren Island Volcano | John Seach


Andaman Islands, India

12.29 N, 93.87 E
summit elevation 305 m

Note: there is another volcano with a similar name in the Andamans called Barren 1.

Barren Island volcano is located 135 km ENE of Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. It is the northern most volcano in the Indonesian arc. The volcano is associated with the subduction of the Indian Plate beneath the Burmese Plate along the Andaman Trench.

Barren Island is circular (10 sq km) and consists of a 1.6 km wide somma and a central cone. Barren volcano consists of a caldera open towards the west and a central cinder cone. Two spatter cones the south-eastern and western flanks of the cinder cone formed during the 1994-95 eruption. Barren Island rises 2 kilometres above the sea floor.

Pre-caldera activity consists of five lava flows separated by scoria fall beds and minor ash tuff and cinder deposits. Steam vents are visible within the 1995 lava flows.

2023 Eruption
An eruption occurred at Barren Island on 2 May 2023 with ash to 15,000 ft altitude.

2020 Eruption
In March 2020 satellite images showed ash emissions from Barren Island volcano.

2017 Eruptions
Small eruptions reported at Barren Island volcano on 17 February 2017. Lava flow and explosions from the crater.

2015 Activity
Satellite images showed hotspots at Barren island volcano commencing on 18th March 2015.

2013 Eruption
An eruption occurred at Barren Island volcano on 16th February 2013. Ash emissions reached 20,000 ft and extended 120 nautical miles southwest.

2005-2010 Eruptions
The magnitude 9.3 Sumatra earthquake on 26 December 2004 was followed by eruptions of Barren Island on 28th May 2005. An ash plume was erupted from a vent on the W side of the summit. Lava flows were produced. The eruption may have been precipitated by the great Sumatra earthquake in December 2004. Continued ash emissions have been reported between 2005 and 2008. Strombolian eruptions occurred at Barren Island between January and March 2009. On 3rd January 2010 ash emissions reached a height of 1.5 km.

1994-1995 Eruption
An eruption began at Barren Island volcano on 20th December 1994. In January 1995, Strombolian eruptions were reported, and lava flowed 1.5 km from the active vents into the sea. On 8th March 1995, phreatomagmatic eruptions occurred. On 11th May 1995 fire fountains from the central vent rose to a height of 150 m. Explosive activity in the crater finished by 1st July 1995.

1991 Eruption
Explosions and lava flows occurred at Barren Island volcano in April 1991. Lava flowed from a vent on the NE face of the central volcanic cone. Explosions at the vent occurred at intervals of several seconds, ejecting bombs, lapilli, and ash up to 50 m high. Lava flows completely covered the 1787 flows.

1787 Eruption
Strombolian eruptions formed a cinder cone near the centre of the caldera. The cone reached a height of 305 m. Additional vents were formed about 80 m below the main rim on the northeast, west, and south flanks of the cinder cone. Lava flows from three subsidiary vents flowed west towards the sea.

Prehistoric Activity
Barren Island had seven major eruptions. These occurred at ~70, 69, 61, 24, 19, 15, and 10 ka. The average time between large eruptions is about 4500 years.

Further reading
Awasthi, N., Ray, J.S., Laskar, A.H., Kumar, A., Sudhakar, M., Bhutani, R., Sheth, H.C. and Yadava, M.G., 2010. Major ash eruptions of Barren Island volcano (Andaman Sea) during the past 72 kyr: clues from a sediment core record. Bulletin of Volcanology72(9), pp.1131-1136.

Chandrasekharam, D., Santo, A.P., Capaccioni, B., Vaselli, O., Alam, M.A., Manetti, P. and Tassi, F., 2009. Volcanological and petrological evolution of barren island (Andaman Sea, Indian Ocean). Journal of Asian Earth Sciences35(5), pp.469-487.

Sheth, H.C., Ray, J.S., Bhutani, R., Kumar, A. and Smitha, R.S., 2009. Volcanology and eruptive styles of Barren Island: an active mafic stratovolcano in the Andaman Sea, NE Indian Ocean. Bulletin of Volcanology71(9), p.1021.

Ball, V., 1888. IV.—The Volcanoes of Barren Island and Narcondam in the Bay of Bengal. Geological Magazine5(9), pp.404-408.

Barren Island Volcano Eruptions

2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, 2013, 2005-10, 1994-95, 1991, 1852?, 1832, 1803-04, 1795, 1789, 1787.