Mud Volcano in Baratang Island
Baratang is an Island in the Indian Ocean belonging to the Andaman class of islands. It lies just 150 kilometers away from Port Blair, the capital city of Andaman. Covering an area of 242.6 square kilometers, Baratang is one of the main islands of the chain and is mostly known for its natural beauty. Here, you can find plenty of beaches, mangroves, and other such wonders of nature. And, hidden amongst these gems is the mud volcano. One of such mud volcanoes in Baratang Islands erupted recently in 2005 owing to the oceanic seismic shifts of 2004.
The volcano had also erupted in 2003, which is why the locals have named it the ‘jalki.’ The mud volcanoes in Baratang Islands are the only known volcanoes in the whole of the Indian sub-continent, although other volcanoes exist in the surrounding islands. One example is the volcano situated in Barren Island, an island that lies in the Andaman Sea. This volcano is the only known active type of volcano in SouthEast Asia, Narcondum being the other. But it is dormant as suggested by the Geological Survey of India.
Mud Volcano Formation
Mud volcanoes, also called ‘Mud Domes,’ are formed by the eruption of mud slurries, water, and gases. There are various geological processes involved in the formation of mud volcanoes. But unlike actual ingenious volcanoes, mud volcanoes don’t spit out lava when they erupt. Moreover, their eruption process is not magmatic. The sizes of mud volcanoes lie between one and two meters to 700 meters high and between one and two meters to 10 kilometers wide.
Mud volcanoes stay true to their names, producing mud when they erupt. And this mud is what generally goes into the formation of a hot water spring. When the mud and the water from the springs mix up, they form mud slurries that are thrust upwards through fissures due to the hidden pressure. Most mud volcanoes lie underground. But some of them have also been found on or near land.
The temperatures of mud volcanoes are also usually lower than that of real ingenious volcanoes. They remain steady for the most part, ranging from as little as 2 degrees Celsius, going up to nearly 100 degrees Celsius. All volcanoes release different types of gases, and mud volcanoes are no different. However, a significant portion of the gases released by the formation of mud volcanoes is Methane. At the same time, some part of it also consists of carbon dioxide and other types of gases.
The slurry thus formed contains various elements mixed, including salts, hydrocarbons, and several acids.
Mud volcanoes are found in different places throughout the world, including in specific regions of Europe and Asia. For instance, in Asia, they have been predominantly found in places like India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Similarly, in Europe, mud volcanoes are present in parts of Russia, Italy, and Bulgaria. While in North America, you mostly find them in places like California, Alaska, parts of Canada, including the Vancouver and British Colombian Islands, and Alaska.
In some areas of North America where these volcanoes have formed, there also exist petroleum deposits.
When it comes to South America, you find mud volcanoes in parts of Venezuela and Colombia.
Visiting Mud Volcano in Baratang Island
In India, the only mud volcano lies in Baratang Island, a part of the Andaman chain of islands. The volcano is one of the top places to visit in Baratang Island. To get to the volcano, you can take a short ride from the jetty of Nilambur and walk another 160 meters upwards to reach the spot. But do know that there is not much to see here as it is only bubbling piles of mud. However, if you are looking for a mud volcano in Andaman, the best ones you can probably find are on Baratang Island.
There are a total of 11 such mud volcanoes on the Andaman, and eight of these are present on the Baratang Islands alone, not to mention the middle Andaman region. There are also a couple of package tours that take you on a trip to the Baratang Island mud volcano. The tours typically start from around 3 AM from Port Blair. Some of these tours even begin at 6 AM. There are many such packages you could be booking these Baratang Island package tours.
Officials from the Forest Department are responsible for looking after the volcano and the areas that surround it. So, they are usually the ones that open the gates to the volcano and let you in. Also, on your way here, you can find several members of the Jarawa Tribe, the local inhabitants of Baratang Island.
If you are on a tight schedule on your trip to the Andaman, you might as well catch a ride from the Nilambur jetty. The volcano lies in the direction of Baludera Beach. You can also take a jeep ride, which will cost you about INR 200 per person.
Don’t forget to visit the Baratang Island, and especially the limestone caves and the mud volcanoes when you tour the Andaman. While the caves would be a feast for your eyes, you also get an additional bonus of witnessing one of the only mud volcanoes in Asia.
So, the Andaman Islands, especially the Baratang Island part of it, are a must-visit for every Indian citizen who likes to travel. The trip would be a treat for tourists. All the costs and the entry fees are covered in the package. The travelers also get a private AC bus to get around to different places. Whether it’s the mud volcanoes, the limestone caves, or even the sight of the local tribes, a trip to Baratang Island would surely be worth it on your next trip to Andaman.