This chapter examines the history of reconnaissance and geological mapping work on the Andaman and Nicobar islands. To understand early exploration it is necessary to review the driving forces for colonization, including the development of the Andaman Islands as a penal colony for political prisoners. Geological mapping conducted in the colonial era continued after India gained independence in 1947 and expanded in the 1980s to include hydrocarbon and mineral resources. More recent work has placed greater emphasis on supporting field observation data with geochronological, geochemical and petrological analyses.
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The Andaman–Nicobar Accretionary Ridge: Geology, Tectonics and Hazards
Rocks exposed across the hundreds of islands that belong to the 800 km long Andaman–Nicobar archipelago provide a condensed window into the active subduction zone that separates the India–Australia plate from the over-riding Burma–Sunda plate. Despite a strategic and seismically active location the Andaman-Nicobar ridge has seen comparatively little research. This Memoir provides the first detailed and comprehensive account of geological mapping and research across the island chain and adjacent ocean basins. Chapters examine models of Cenozoic rifting of the Andaman Sea and the regional tectonic and seismogenic framework. A detailed critical review of the Andaman–Nicobar stratigraphy, supported by new data, includes arc volcanism and a description of Barren Island, India’s only active volcano. Seismic history and hazards and the impacts of the 2004 earthquake and tsunami are also described. The volume ends with an examination of the region’s natural resources and hydrocarbon prospects.