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Narcondam Island

Narcondam Island
Outline map of the Andaman Islands, with the location of Narcondam Island highlighted (red circle).
Elevation 710 m (2,330 ft)
Location Andaman Islands, India
Type Stratovolcano
Last eruption Unknown

Narcondam or Narcondum is a small volcanic island located in the Andaman Sea. Its central peak rises some 710 m above mean sea level, and is formed of andesite. It is considered to be part of the Andaman Islands, the main body of which lie approximately 114 km to the west. The island is part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The island is small, covering an area of approximately 6.8 square kilometres.[1] It was classified as a dormant volcano by the Geological Survey of India.


  • Etymology 1
  • Geography 2
  • Scuba diving at Narcondam 3
  • Narcondam hornbill 4
  • Proposed radar station 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The name Narcondam could have been derived from the Tamil wordnaraka-kundam,[2] meaning "a pit of Hell," although this may be the result of confusion between it and Barren Island.[3]


Narcondam island south view

The island is formed from a volcano, which had not known to have been active in recent times, until on June 8, 2005 there were reports of "mud and smoke" being ejected from the volcano. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake is thought to have caused magma to move underground and may be related to the current activity. If the reports were accurate this would alter the scientific status of Narcondam to active. Further to the south west (approximately 150 km) lies the active volcano island of Barren Island. Narcondam Island is about 160 miles from Burma, is about 160 miles from Port Blair, and is almost 800 miles from Vishakhapatnam (part of the mainland of India).

Topography of the island

Narcondam Island holds the easternmost point of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Until 1986 Burma claimed sovereignty over the island. This claim was given up on reaching agreement with India on the delimitation of the maritime boundary between the two nations in the Andaman Sea, the Coco channel and the Bay of Bengal.[4]

Narcondam Island's mountain, at 710 meters is the second tallest point in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the first being Saddle Peak, North Andaman Island at 752 meters.

Scuba diving at Narcondam

The waters surrounding Narcondam Island are a diving destination. Narcondam's prime dive sites include rocky ridges and steep slopes like Chimneys, Ooh La La and Lighthouse Reef, where massive barrel sponges, huge gorgonian fans and lush soft corals thrive. Fish life can include Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish and mantas, as well as occasional whitetip and gray reef sharks. Another special place is HQ Pinnacle, where a submerged rock formation acts as a magnet for dogtooth tuna and hundreds of bigeye trevally. For a more tranquil setting, several bays around the island offer gently sloping terrain populated with fields of hard corals and colorful reef fish.

The island is very remote and diving is accessible only via a live-aboard.

Narcondam hornbill

Narcondam hornbill, which is endemic to this small island

The Narcondam hornbill is an endangered hornbill that is endemic to the island of Narcondam. This bird is said to have evolved separately from the wreathed hornbill found in North-East India. The Narcondam Island Wildlife Sanctuary is currently monitoring the bird.

Proposed radar station

The Indian Coast Guard proposed the construction of a coastal surveillance radar installation on Narcondum Island and had requested for the release of 0.637 ha of forest area for the purpose. This was turned down by the MOEF of UPA govt as it would endanger the population of endemic hornbills while other alternative sites existed for the siting of the radar.[5] As of 10 June 2014, MOEF has given clearance for the Radar station. Union minister for environment and forests, Prakash Javadekar gave the approval.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Yahya, H. S. A.; Zarri, A. A. (2002). "Status, ecology and behaviour of Narcondam Hornbill (Aceros narcondami) in Narcondam Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India". J Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc. 99 (3): 434–445. 
  2. ^ Washington, H. S. (1924-06-01). "The lavas of Barren Island and Narcondam". American Journal of Science s5–7 (42): 441–456.  
  3. ^ "Narcondum". The National Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2010-04-21. 
  4. ^ Charney, Jonathan I. & Alexander, Lewis M.; International maritime boundaries, Volumes 2-3; American Society of International Law, Report 6-3, pg. 1329-1336; Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 1998
  5. ^ Shrivastava, Kumar Sambhav (6 September 2012). "MoEF says no to radar installation in Narcondam hornbill habitat". Down To Earth. Centre for Science & Environment, India. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 
  6. ^


External links

  • Volcano live
  • Volcano discovery
  • India daily
  • Global Volcanism Program
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