Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Network Bulletin v. 20, no. 2, February 1995 Barren Island (Andaman Islands) New eruption on 20 December; lava flows reach the ocean Barren Island Andaman Islands, Indian Ocean, India 12.29N, 93.88E; summit elev. 305 m A new eruption at Barren Island was first noticed by the Indian Navy on 20 December 1994. A team composed of scientists from the Geological Survey and Zoological Survey of India arrived at the island early on 24 January, and an aerial survey over the volcano was made on the 31st. As of 22 February, this mainly Strombolian eruption was still "in its initial stage, gradually gaining momentum." During January and February, thick clouds of pale brownish gas, dark ash particles, and white steam from the crater area were rising ~200 m at intervals of 30 seconds, accompanied by continuous rumbling and intermittent "cracking" sounds. Two new vents were active, the first within the main crater near the SW corner, and the second ~50 m from the summit down the SW flank. The eruption is believed to have started from the flank vent, around which a new 100-m-diameter subsidiary crater had formed. Incandescent material (cinder and volcanic bombs) rising to heights of 20 m could be seen from 4 km offshore. Particles ranged in size from a few cubic centimeters to ~1 m^3, with the average size being slightly less than 10 cm^3. Ejecta filled a valley on the S side of the western-most 1991 lava bed. Lava flows travelled ~1.5 km from the active vents into the sea, producing profuse steaming at the ocean entry. The moving lava front was ~50 m wide and 6 m thick by 22 February. Megascopically the lava was basaltic andesite, similar to that erupted during September 1991, with a high percentage of large plagioclase phenocrysts and frequent olivine in a dark-gray glassy groundmass. On 9 March at around 0530 GMT astronauts on the Space Shuttle noticed a small plume rising from Barren Island. They made a short video recording (~15 seconds) showing a V-shaped plume that extended for ~3 km before dispersing. Visible imagery from the NOAA-14 (at 0730 GMT) and GMS (0430-0830 GMT) satellites failed to reveal a volcanic plume. A photograph taken from the Shuttle on 14 March at 0749 GMT again showed a small plume blowing W towards the Andaman Islands (figure 1). As this issue went to press, an aviation notice to airmen (NOTAM) on 27 March stated that the intensity of the eruption was unpredictable and advised all aircraft to avoid overflying the area. Located ~135 km NE of Port Blair (South Andaman Island), Barren Island contains a 1.6-km-wide somma open to the W with a central pyroclastic cone that was the source of historical eruptions reported in 1787, 1789, 1795, 1803-04, possibly 1852, and 1991. Lava flows from the 1803 and 1991 eruptions reached the coast. The 1991 eruption began in late April with hot gases and strong ash emissions and ended in late October (Bulletin v. 16, nos. 5, 8, 10, 12, and v. 17, nos. 1 & 5). Initial activity was from a vent on the upper NE flank of the central cone, but expanded to include the main crater. Basaltic andesite lava flows covered an area of about 1,600 m^2 to an average thickness of 5-6 m. Gas emissions were observed from lava flows near the NW coast in April 1993 (Bulletin v. 18, no. 9). Information Contacts: Director General, Geological Survey of India, 27 Jawaharlal Nehru Road, Calcutta -700016, India; Cindy Evans, Space Shuttle Earth Observations Office, Mail Code C102, Lockheed Engineering & Sciences, P.O. Box 58561, Houston, TX 77258 USA (Email: email@example.com); Jim Lynch, NOAA/NESDIS Synoptic Analysis Branch, Room 401, 5200 Auth Road, Camp Springs, MD 20746 USA. Figure 1. Oblique photograph of the Barren Island eruption plume taken from the Space Shuttle, 14 March 1995 at 0749 GMT, looking NW. Ash plume is blowing generally W towards the Andaman Islands. NASA photograph STS 067-721A-052. Courtesy of Cindy Evans.