India's only active volcano erupted in January: Scientists

Panaji, Feb 17 (IANS) India's only active volcano, the Barren Islands volcano, located in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, erupted for about four hours in January this year, say scientists attached to the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).According to a statement issued by the Press Information Bureau on Friday, quoting an account of the NIO research team which was in the vicinity of the volcano on January 23, the volcano emitted red lava fountains and samples of volcanic ash have been collected for testing and research."The team moved about one mile from the volcano, which is located on an uninhibited island, and began closely observing it. The volcano was erupting in small episodes lasting about five to 10 minutes. During the daytime only ash clouds were observed," the statement said.It added that after sundown, however, 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 NIO research team sailing on the vessel RV Sindhu Sankalp was led by Abhay Mudholkar."They have sampled the sediments and water in the vicinity of the volcano and recovered coal-like black pyroclastic material representing proximal volcanic ejecta," the statement read.It said, "Clouds were seen at the crater mouth where the smoke was bellowing out in an otherwise clear sky. These samples will help in deciphering the nature of the present and past volcanic activity in the region." The statement added that the team did not land on the island because it was deemed to be "too dangerous".The Barren Islands are located around 140 km northeast of the Andamans capital city Port Blair.