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Imperial Gazetteer of India, v. 5, p. 351.


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ANDAMAN .4AD A-ICOBAR ISLANTDS


351


miles, and encloses the Andaman Sea, bounded to the east by the coasts
of Burma, the Malay Peninsula, and Sumatra, and communicating with
the outer ocean by seven broad channels or openings,
Physical
six from the Bay of Bengal on the west, and one aPhysica
from the Gulf of Siam on the east, the broadest
being 91 miles. Of these two are deep: the Ten Degrees Channel,
566 fathoms, and the Great Channel, 798 fathoms, while of the rest
only the South Preparis Channel is more than Ioo fathoms deep.
Within 30 miles to the west the Bay of Bengal, and within Ioo miles
to the east the Andaman Sea, each reach a depth of more than 2,000
fathoms. The Ioo fathom line connects the Preparis group with Burma
(Cape Negrais), converts all the Andamans with the Cocos group into
one island, and, except for a few deeper soundings, all the Nicobars
into another island. It would also convert the Invisible Bank, 40 miles
east of the South Andaman, now a mere rock awash in mid-ocean and
a recognized danger of these seas from the earliest times, into a con-
siderable island, and would considerably enlarge the area of the marine
volcano, Barren Island. Thus, geographically speaking, the Andamans
and Cocos are portions of one summit, and the Nicobars of another, of
the submarine range between Burma and Sumatra, whose eastern out-
lying spurs are expressed by the Invisible Bank and Barren Island.
Narcondam belongs to the Asiatic continent (Burma).
Narcondam and Barren Island are properly volcanoes belonging to
the Sunda group, and lie, with the Nicobars, along one of the principal
lines of weakness in the earth's surface. The Andamans are just off
this, and escape the violent earthquakes to which the others are liable.
The general geographical phenomena are in fact the same as those of
the Japan Islands, and of other groups similarly situated on various
parts of the earth's surface. They indicate the existence of a submarine
range of great length and height, showing above the sea surface as a string
of islands, on the outer fringe of a mediterranean sea bordering a con-
tinental shore, having volcanoes on it or between it and the mainland.
PORT BLAIR, the head-quarters of the Administration, is by sea
780 miles from Calcutta, 740 miles from Madras, and 360 miles
from Rangoon, with which ports there is regular communication. It is
140 miles from Car Nicobar, 225 miles from Nancowry Harbour, 265
miles from Great Nicobar, 105 miles from Narcondam, and 7I miles
from Barren Island, the chief outlying points for local visits.
The land area of the islands under the Administration is 3,143 square
miles: namely, 2,508 square miles in the Andamans, and 635 square
miles in the Nicobars. The population of the whole Population.
area was returned at the Census of I90o as 24,649:
namely, Andamanese, 1,882; Nicobarese, 6,511; the Penal Settle-
ment, I6,256.



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