INCOIS monitors Barren Island volcano as it emits smoke

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Barren Island Volcano in Andaman & Nicobar | Photo credit: archive photo

The volcano on Barren Island in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is being watched closely for signs of an eruption that could lead to a tsunami or a monstrous undersea landslide similar to what happened in Indonesia in 2018. Monitoring is ongoing. by the Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), which here houses the Indian Tsunami Early Warning Center (ITEWC).

“The volcano about 140 km northeast of Port Blair has emitted smoke and is not capable of causing major destruction. Even if it does, there could be a localized tsunami, but we are working We have seven tide gauges in the Indian Ocean already and there are plans to put a seismic sensor and another tide gauge to pick up any motion generated underwater,” senior scientist B. Ajay Kumar informed in a exclusive interaction.

Slow responses

Recent tsunamis, including one in Tonga this year, have highlighted the challenge of tsunamis triggered by non-seismic sources such as submarine landslides and volcanic eruptions which can wash away areas close to the source in minutes. . This lack of awareness and preparedness of local communities and officials, resulting in slow response, must be addressed, the scientist said.

Scientists have calculated that it would take a magnitude greater than 6.5 on the Richter scale for a ‘tsunamigenic’ earthquake occurring in the Indian Ocean to hit the Indian coast, with a travel time of 20 to 30 minutes to reach the A&N islands and two to three hours to reach the mainland. On the west coast of India, off the Arabian Sea, it could emerge from the Makran region and take two or three hours to reach the coast of Gujarat.

Tsunamis can travel 800 km/h in the deep ocean and about 30 km/h near the shore, with wave heights ranging from less than one meter to nine meters when they reach the shore. This is the reason why ships on the high seas may not be affected while the damage on the shore is more with amplified energy, Mr. Ajay Kumar said.

Constant vigil

Although the devastating tsunami of December 2004 has faded from public memory, ITEWC continues its 24-hour watch for unusual occurrences at sea to issue warnings to 25 countries outside India. Whenever an earthquake greater than 6.5 on the Richter scale occurs in the Indian Ocean (or greater than 8 on the Richter scale in other regions), accurate tsunami bulletins and timely are generated.

“We can estimate expected wave heights and issue four threat levels corresponding to different public responses and mapped according to NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) guidelines for potential tsunamis, with confirmation and likely extent of inundation “, explained the scientist.

Fake exercise evacuates 5,000 people

A mock tsunami drill in coordination with Odisha State Disaster Management Authority was also held on World Tsunami Day on November 5, simulating a tsunami caused by an earthquake of 9.2 on the Richter occurring on the A&N islands. More than 5,000 villagers have been evacuated in Odisha as part of the tsunami ready indicator test.

INCOIS Director T. Srinivasa Kumar said the National Tsunami Council met on this occasion to discuss measures to increase availability and access to multi-hazard early warning systems to cover every person at risk by 2030, as well as to provide disaster services. -information and risk assessment for people.

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