Islands of India

Islands of India
Posted on 18-08-2023

India possesses two major groups of islands, situated in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea respectively. The Bay of Bengal island cluster encompasses approximately 572 islands and islets, spanning roughly between 6°N-14°N and 92°E-94°E. Notably, the prominent islet groups within this region are the Ritchie’s archipelago and the Labrynth island.

These islands are effectively categorized into two main divisions: the Andaman Islands to the north and the Nicobar Islands to the south. The Ten Degree Channel serves as the dividing waterbody between these two divisions. These islands are thought to be elevated segments of underwater mountain ranges, although some smaller islands have volcanic origins. An example is Barren Island, which houses India's only active volcano and is located within the Nicobar Islands.

The coastal regions exhibit coral formations and picturesque beaches. The islands experience convectional rainfall and harbor equatorial vegetation.

The Arabian Sea islands encompass Lakshadweep and Minicoy. Distributed between 8°N-12°N and 71°E-74°E longitude, these islands are positioned 280 km-480 km away from the Kerala coast. Comprising roughly 36 islands, with 11 being inhabited, these formations are primarily composed of coral deposits. The largest among them is Minicoy, spanning an area of 453 sq. km.

This group of islands is broadly segmented by the Ten Degree Channel. To the north lies Amini Island, while to the south is Cannanore Island.

On the eastern shoreline of this archipelago, the islands feature storm beaches characterized by loose pebbles, shingles, cobbles, and boulders.

India boasts a collection of 1,382 offshore-identified islands, each encircled by water, contributing to its diverse landscape. The two primary island clusters are the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a result of the collision between the Indian Plate and Burma Minor Plate, with the former stretching southward. The Lakshadweep Islands, on the other hand, are coral formations linked to the Reunion Hotspot volcanism.

India is home to two main island groups—the Lakshadweep Islands and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These islands are marked by coral deposits, beaches, and characterized by equatorial vegetation and convectional rainfall.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a union territory, stretch as a narrow chain in the north-south direction within the Bay of Bengal, encompassing 572 islands, 37 of which are inhabited. These islands are predominantly larger and more numerous in the north-south direction. They are categorized into North Andaman, Middle Andaman, and South Andaman, thought to be extensions of the Arakan Mountains.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands occupy the region between 6° 45′ N to 13° 45′ N and 92° 10′ E to 94° 15′ E, separated by the Ten Degree Channel. Little Andaman is isolated by Duncan's Passage, while the largest peak, Saddle Top, stands at 737 meters in North Andaman. The capital, Port Blair, divides the territory into three regions.

The Nicobar Islands include the largest, Great Nicobar, and the northernmost, Car Nicobar. Barren Islands are the sole active volcanic islands in India. The region is marked by a tropical marine climate with vulnerability to earthquakes. Notably, the Sentinelese people reside on these islands, remaining uncontacted.

The Lakshadweep Islands, a Union Territory, south of Kerala's Malabar coast, consist of 36 small coral islands, spanning between 8°N and 12°N latitude. The largest island, Andrott, is characterized by thick coconut forests, while Mini-coy Island is prominent to the south.

Among other notable Indian islands are Majuli Island in Assam, Sriharikota Island housing an important satellite launch facility, Wheeler Island, and Pamban Island situated between India and Sri Lanka. These islands play crucial roles in maintaining mainland ecosystems, regulating climates, preventing natural disasters, and influencing the environment and diseases.

In essence, India's island diversity, including the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and the Lakshadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea, forms vital components of its geographical and ecological makeup.

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