The Andaman Sea in the NE Indian Ocean lies between 6 and 14 degrees north, and 91and 94 degrees east. It is a heavily sedimented, actively extending back-arc basin on the India-China continental margin. The Andaman Sea is an extensional basin. It started opening about 13 million years ago, which corresponds to middle Miocene time. The rate of opening is worked out as 37 cm per year. At present the total opening is taken as about 460 km. Two categories of minerals which have not been recovered within exclusive economic zone of India in the Bay of Bengal but are considered prospective are (1) the volcanogenic massive sulfide (VMS) which are considered to form through hydrothermal emanations from the axial rift of the Andaman Sea, and (2) the cobalt rich ferromanganese crust which are formed at the flanks of the older sea mounts in the water depth of 500 to 2000 m range. The Andaman Sea which lies between the oil bearing Indonesian basin to the south and Burmese (Myanmar) basin to the north has potential for petroleum a well, as methane gas hydrates. There are clear prospect for occurrence of hydrocarbon and gas hydrates in this region. The Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporation has made exploratory drilling.


The Sumatra earthquake and resultant Tsunami havoc of 26th December, 2004 has again focused attention to this region. This is likely to increase in the coming years. References to the mineral resources of the Andaman Sea are available in Roonwal (1986, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2005); Roonwal and Glasby (1996); and Anon (1992) and for petroleum resources with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) of India (2004); Roy 1983: Roy and Das Sharma, (1991, 1993) and Anon (1992) and in SPG (1998).

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