Geography of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Geography of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are a group of islands located in the Bay of Bengal, to the southeast of the Indian mainland. They lie between 6° to 14° North latitude and 92° to 94° East longitude. The islands are closer to Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand than to mainland India.

1. Geographical Composition

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are an archipelago consisting of around 572 islands and islets.
  • The islands are divided into two groups: the Andaman Islands in the north and the Nicobar Islands in the south.
  • The Andaman Islands are larger and more populated compared to the Nicobar Islands.

2. Geological Formation

  • The islands are of volcanic origin and are part of the submerged mountain range known as the Arakan Yoma.
  • They were formed due to tectonic plate movements and volcanic activities.
  • The presence of limestone formations and coral reefs is a significant feature of the islands.

3. Topography and Terrain

  • The islands have a varied topography with hilly and mountainous terrain.
  • The highest peak is Saddle Peak on North Andaman Island, reaching an elevation of 732 meters (2,402 feet).
  • The islands are covered with dense tropical rainforests, mangroves, and sandy beaches.

4. Climate

  • The climate of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is tropical, influenced by the monsoon and the Bay of Bengal.
  • The islands experience a hot and humid climate throughout the year, with high humidity and rainfall.
  • The monsoon season lasts from May to November, with heavy rainfall during this period.

5. Biodiversity and Wildlife

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are known for their rich biodiversity and unique flora and fauna.
  • They are home to a variety of endemic species, including the Andaman woodpecker, Andaman teal, Nicobar pigeon, and the dugong (sea cow).
  • The islands have several protected areas and national parks, such as the Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park and Campbell Bay National Park, to conserve the rich marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

6. Coral Reefs and Marine Life

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are renowned for their pristine coral reefs.
  • The reefs are home to a diverse range of marine life, including various species of fish, sea turtles, and vibrant coral formations.
  • Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular activities for tourists to explore the underwater beauty of the islands.

7. Strategic Importance

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands hold strategic significance due to their location in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The islands serve as a natural defense outpost for India and have a crucial role in maritime security and surveillance in the region.
  • India has developed military infrastructure and naval bases on some of the islands.

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