- Bay of Bengal
Ocean_name = Bay of Bengal
image_Ocean =Bay of Bengal map.png
caption_Ocean = Map of Bay of Bengal
India, Bangladesh, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka
length = 2,090 km; c.1,300 mi
width = 1,610 km; 1,000 mi
area = 2,172,000 km²
depth = 2,600 mm ; 8,500 feet
max-depth = 4,694 m ; 15,400 feet
The Bay of Bengal is a bay that forms the northeastern part of the
Indian Ocean. It resembles a trianglein shape, and is bordered by Indiaand Sri Lankato the West, Bangladeshand the Indian state of West Bengalto the North (where the name comes from), and Myanmar, southern part of Thailandand the Andaman and Nicobar Islandsto the East. Its southern boundary extends as an imaginary line from Dondra Headat the southern end of Sri Lankato the northern tip of Sumatra.
The Bay of Bengal occupies an area of 2,172,000 km². A number of large rivers –
Ganges, Brahmaputra, Ayeyarwady, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishnaand Kaveri– flow into the Bay of Bengal. Among the important ports are Cuddalore, Chennai, Kakinada, Tuticorin, Machilipatnam, Vishakapatnam, Paradip, Kolkata, Chittagongand Yangon.
In the 10th century the expansion of
Indianized kingdoms, led by the Chola Empire, resulted in the Bay of Bengal being known as "the Chola Lake". It later came to known as "Bangal ki Khadi" in Hindiafter the region of Bengal. [ [http://www.wissenladen.de/maps/map.php?Bay%20of%20Bengal%20%5B~~~~~%5D&id=293&ln=en&PHPSESSID=a Map of the Bay of Bengal] URL accessed January 22, 2007] Bengal comes from the Sanskrit"Banga" or "Vanga" which refers to the delta waters of the river Ganges. [ [http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Bengal Bengal Love To Know 1911] URL accessed January 21, 2007] [cite web|url= http://logos_endless_summer.tripod.com/id97.html |title=Kashmere: Brahman Mahatma Of the Lunar Race. The struggle between the Lunar and Solar Dynastys/Cast|accessdate=2007-01-21]
Many major rivers of India flow west to east into the Bay of Bengal: in the north, the
Ganges River(or Ganga), Meghna Riverand Brahmaputra Riverrivers, and in the south Mahanadi Riverthrough the Mahanadi River Delta, Godavari River, Krishna River, Irrawaddyand Kaveri River(sometimes written as Cauvery) rivers. The shortest classified river which drains into the Bay of Bengal is Cooum Riverat 64 km. Brahmaputra is the 28th longest River in the World (2,948 km or 1,832 mi), and it discharges into the 'Bay of Bengal' and travels through India, P.R. China, Nepal, Bangladeshand Bhutan. The Sundarbansmangrove forest is formed at the delta of the Ganga, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal. The Ayeyarwady Riverof Myanmaralso flows into the bay.
Major Bangladeshi ports on the bay include
Chittagongand Mongla. Major Indian ports on the bay include Chennai(formerly Madras), Vishakhapatnam, Kolkata(formerly Calcutta), and Pondicherry. Yangon, the largest city and former capital of Myanmar is also an important port in the bay.
The islands in the bay are very numerous, including the Andaman,
Nicobarand Merguigroups. The group of islands, Cheduba and others, in the north-east, off the Burmese coast, are remarkable for a chain of mud volcanoes, which are occasionally active. Great Andamanis the main archipelago or island group of the Andaman Islands, whereas Ritchie's Archipelagoconsists of smaller islands. Only 37 of the 572 islands and islets of the Andaman and Nicobar Islandsare inhabited, or 6.5%. [ [http://www.and.nic.in/port-blair.htm The long stretch of sand glistening like silver dust] URL accessed January 23, 2007]
Cox's Bazar, on the northeastern coast of the bay, is one of the longest unbroken natural beaches of the world. Other beaches along the bay are Bakkhali, Digha, Chandipur, Puri, Waltair, Marina Beach at Chennaiand Ngapalibeach in Myanmar.
is the study of oceans and the ocean floor by scientific exploration and scientific methods. The Bay of Bengal is a salt water
seaand is a part of the Indian Ocean.
lithosphereof the earth is broken up into what are called tectonic plates. Underneath the Bay of Bengal is the Indian Platewhich is part of the great Indo-Australian Plateand is slowly moving north east. This plate meets the Burma Microplate at the Sunda Trench. The Nicobar Islands, and the Andaman Islandsare part of the Burma Microplate. The India Plate subducts beneath the Burma Plate at the Sunda Trenchor Java Trench. Here, the pressure of the two plates on each other increase pressure and temperature resulting in the formation of volcanoes such as the volcanoes in Myanmar, and a volcanic arccalled the Sunda Arc. Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and Asian Tsunami was a result of the pressure at this zone causing a submarine earthquakewhich then resulted in a huge Tsunamai. [ [http://www.idiom.com/~garcia/tsunami.html Tsunami] URL access January 21, 2007]
A zone 50 m wide extending from the island of Ceylon and the Coromandel coast to the head of the bay, and thence southwards through a strip embracing the Andaman and Nicobar islands, is bounded by the ioo fathom line of sea bottom; some 50 m. beyond this lies the Soo-fathom limit. Opposite the mouth of the Ganges, however, the intervals between these depths are very much extended by deltaic influence.
Swatch of No Ground is a 14 km-wide deep sea canyon of the Bay of Bengal. The deepest recorded area of this valley is about 1340 m. [ [http://drs.nio.org/drs/bitstream/2264/449/1/J_Indian_Geophys_Union_4_185.pdf Morphological features in the Bay of Bengal] URL accessed
January 21, 2007]
Marine biology, flora and fauna
The Bay of Bengal is full of biological diversity, diverging amongst
coral reefs, estuaries, fish spawning and nursery areas, and mangroves. The Bay of Bengal is one of the World's 64 largest marine ecosystems. Kerilia jerdoniiis a sea snake of the Bay of Bengal. Glory of Bengal Cone (Conus bengalensis) is just one of the seashells which can be photographed along beaches of the Bay of Bengal. [ [http://www.oceanlight.com/lightbox.php?lr=Bay_of_Bengal Phillip Colla Natural History Photography] URL accessed Janauary 21, 2007] An endangered species, the Olive Ridley sea turtlecan survive because of the nesting grounds made available at the Gahirmatha Marine Wildlife Sanctuary, Gahirmatha Beach, Orissa, India. Marlin, barracuda, skipjack tuna, (Katsuwonus pelamis), yellowfin tuna, Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin (Sousa chinensis) , and Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) are a few of the marine animals. Bay of Bengal Hogfish (Bodianus neilli) is a type of Wrasswhich live in turbid lagoon reefs or shallow coastal reefs. Schools of dolphins can be seen, whether they are the bottle nose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), Pantropical spotted dolphin (Stenella attenuata) or the spinner dolphin (stenella longirostris) . Tunaand dolphinsare usually residing in the same waters. In shallower and warmer coastal waters the Irrawaddy Dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) can be found. [ [http://www.newagebd.com/2005/jan/05/nature.html Naturalist: On the swatch of no ground: Mashida R Haider goes to the Bay of Bengal and comes back full of the marine life there] URL accessed January 21, 2007] [ [http://www.cms.int/reports/small_cetaceans/data/S_attenuata/s_attenuata.htm CMS: Stenella attenuata, Pantropical spotted dolphin] URL accessed January 21, 2007]
Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserveproides sanctuary to many animals some of which include the saltwater crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) , giant Leatherback Sea Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) , and Malayan box turtle (Cuora amboinensis kamaroma) to name a few.
Another endangered species Royal Bengal Tiger is supported by Sundarbans a large estuarine delta that holds a mangrove area in the Ganges River Delta. [ [http://www.emecs.or.jp/guidebook/eng/pdf/17bengal.pdf 17 Bay of Bengal] URL accessed
January 21, 2007] [ [http://zipcodezoo.com/Animals/B/Bodianus_neilli.asp Zipcode Zoo Bodianus neilli (Bay of Bengal Hogfish)] URL accessed January 21, 2007]
Coastal regions bordering the Bay of Bengal are rich in minerals. Sri Lanka,
Serendib, or "Ratna – Dweepa" which means Gem Island. Amethyst, beryl, ruby, sapphire, topaz, and garnetare just some of the gems of Sri Lanka. Garnet and other precious gems are also found in abundance in the Indian states of Orissaand Andhra Pradesh. [http://www.aringthing.com/promise_rings.htm]
Physical oceanography - Climate of the Bay of Bengal
From January to October, the current is northward flowing, and the clockwise circulation pattern is called the "East Indian Current." The Bay of Bengal monsoon moves in a northwest direction striking the
Nicobar Islands, and the Andaman Islandsfirst end of May, then the North Eastern Coast of India by end of June.
The remainder of the year, the counterclockwise current is southwestward flowing, and the circulation pattern is called the East Indian Winter Jet. September and December see very active weather, season varsha (or monsoon), in the Bay of Bengal producing severe Cyclones which affect Eastern India. Several efforts have been initiated to cope with
Storm surge. [ [http://stommel.tamu.edu/~baum/paleo/ocean/node3.html Glossary of Physical Oceanography Ba-Bm] URL accessed January 21, 2007]
Tropical storms and cyclones
A tropical storm with rotating winds blowing at speeds of 74 miles (119 kilometers) an hour are called
cyclones when they originate over the Bay of Bengal; they are hurricanes in the Atlantic. [ [http://www.nationalgeographic.com/forcesofnature/resources/ Forces of Nature—Natural Disaster Fast Facts (National Geographic)] URL accessed January 22, 2007] Between 100,000 and 500,000 residents of East Pakistan (Bangladesh) were killed because of the 1970 Bhola cyclone.
*2008, Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Nargis
*2007, Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Sidr
*2006, Very Severe Cyclonic Storm Mala
*2004, November Typhoon Muifa
*2002, May Tropical Cyclone 2B
*1991, April Bangladesh cyclone
*1989, November Typhoon Gay
*1985, May Tropical Storm One (1B)
*1982, April Cyclone One (1B)
*1982, May Tropical Storm Two (2B)
*1982, October Tropical Storm Three (3B)
*1981, December Cyclone Three (3B)
*1980, October Tropical Storm One (1B)
*1980, December Unknown Storm Four (4B)
*1980, December Tropical Storm Five (5B)
*1971 Orissa Cyclone
*1970, November Bhola cyclone
* Kumari Kandam, an antediluvian civilization, (South India) is also held in myth to be under the Bay of Bengal. Fisherman claim their nets have snagged, and on dives to free them they find pagodas, doorways, and temples to reinforce their belief of this ancient time. [ [http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/science/sc-harry.htm http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/science/sc-harry.htm] ]
* The remains of Sri Vaisakheswara Swamy temple lies under the Bay of Bengal. Spokespersons from Andhra University Centre for Marine Archaeology say the temple may be located opposite the Coastal Battery. [ [http://www.morien-institute.org/uwnews2006a.html Morien Institute - underwater discoveries news archive - January - June, 2006 "Sri Vaisakheswara still lies underwater" ] URL accessed
January 22, 2007]
Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuramis the name for Mahabalipuram. Mahabalipuram's Shore Templewas constructed in the eighth century AD and myth has it that six other temples were also built here.
*Another historic site which has been preserved is
Vivekanandar Illam. It was contstructed in 1842 by the Ice King Frederic Tudorto store and market ice year round. In 1897, Swami Vivekanandafamous lectures were recorded here at Castle Kernan. The site is an exhibition devoted to Swami Vivekananda and his legacy.
Konarkis the home of the Sun Temple or Black Pagoda. This Brahman sanctuary was built of black granite mid 1200 AD and has been declared a World Heritage Site.
*Ramanathaswami Temple located at Dhanushkodi, where the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean come together. [ [http://www.ramayana.com/holy_places.htm RAMAYANA] URL accessed
January 21, 2007]
One of the first trading ventures along the Bay of Bengal was The Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies more commonly referred to as
British East India Company. Gopalpurwas one of their main trading centers. Other trading companies along the Bay of Bengal shorelines were English East India Companyand French East India Company. [ [http://nabataea.net/bengal.html Nabataea: Trade on the Bay of Bengal] URL accessed January 21, 2007] BIMSTECBay of Bengal Initiative for MultiSectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) supports free trade internationally around the Bay of Bengal between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Projectis a new venture proposed which would create a channel for a shipping route to link the Gulf of Mannar with the Bay of Bengal. This would connect India east to west without the necessity of going around Sri Lanka.
Thoni and catamaran fishing boats of fishing villages thrive along the Bay of Bengal shorelines. Fishermen can catch between 26-44 species of marine fish. [ [http://www.fao.org/sd/giahs/other_india3_desc.asp Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)] URL accessed
January 21, 2007] In one year, the average catch is 2 million tons of fish from the Bay of Bengal alone. [ [http://na.nefsc.noaa.gov/lme/text/lme34.htm LME 34 Bay of Bengal] URL access January 21, 2007]
The Bay of Bengal is strategically crucial for India because of the presence of outlying islands, namely
Andaman islandsand Nicobar islandsand several major ports such as Kolkataand Vizagalong its coast with the Bay of Bengal. Much of the naval operations of the 1971 Indo-Pakistani Wartook place in the Bay of Bengal. [http://www.rediff.com/news/2006/dec/26claude.htm]
The growing influence of China, due to support provided by Myanmar, has created geo-political implications for India. [http://www.burmadebate.org/archives/spring01strategic.html] India has held several major naval exercises with friendly countries, especially
United States, to counter increasing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean. [http://www.globalpolitician.com/23382-india] [http://www.voanews.com/english/archive/2007-09/2007-09-10-voa15.cfm?CFID=23265195&CFTOKEN=84466582] The largest ever wargamein Bay of Bengal was held in 2007 and naval warships from India, US, Singapore, Japan and Australia took part in it. This exercise was widely viewed as "strategic encirclement of China". [http://www.globalpolitician.com/23382-india] India has also forged naval cooperation agreements with Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia to increase its strategic reach in the region. [http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/GA25Df05.html] India also established Far Eastern Naval Command off Port Blairto increase surveillance in the adjoining Andaman Sea. [http://japanfocus.org/products/topdf/1610]
The potential of
natural gasexploitation also makes the Bay of Bengal important for India, Bangladesh and Myanmar. [http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/GA25Df05.html] Disputes over rights of some oil and gas blocks have caused brief diplomatic spats between India and Bangladesh. [http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers19%5Cpaper1877.html]
Asian Brown Cloud" hangs over the Bay of Bengal. It is considered to be a combination of vehicle exhaust, smoke from cooking fires, and industrial discharges. [ [http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/shownh.php3?img_id=13341 EO Natural Hazards: Smog over the Bay of Bengal] URL accessed January 21, 2007]
continental drift, the India Plate split from Madagascar and collided with the Eurasian Plateresulting in the formation of the Himalayasand The Bay of Bengal.] Northern Circarsoccupied the western coast of the Bay of Bengal and is now considered to be India's Madras state. The Kakatiya dynastyreached the western coastline of the Bay of Bengal between the Godavari and the Krishna rivers. Kushanas about the middle of the 1st century AD invaded northern India perhaps extending as far as the Bay of Bengal. Chola dynasty(9th century to 12th century) when ruled by Rajaraja Chola Ioccupied the western coastline of the Bay of Bengal circa AD 1014 Chandragupta Mauryaextended the Maurya Dynasty across Northern India to the Bay of Bengal. Hajipur was a stronghold of Portuguese Pirates. In the 1500s the Portuguese built trading posts in the North of the Bay of Bengal at Chittagong (Porto Grande) and Satgaon (Porto Pequeno). [ [http://www.colonialvoyage.com/bengal.html The Portuguese in Bengal. History of Ugolim (Hoogli), Meliapore ...] URL accessed January 21, 2007]
British penal colony
Cellular Jailor "Black Waters" built in 1896 on Ross Island, a part of the Andaman Island Chain. As early as 1858 this island was used as a British penal colony for politial prisoners facing life imprisonment.
Maritime archaeologyor marine archaeology is the study of material remains of ancient peoples. A specialized branch, Archaeology of shipwrecksstudies the salvaged artifacts of ancient ships. Stoneanchors, amphorae sherds, elephant tusks, hippopotamus teeth, ceramic pottery, a rare wood mast and lead ingots are examples which may survive the test of time for archaeologists to study and place the salvaged findings into a time line of history. Coral reefs, tsuanamis, cyclones, mangrove swamps, battles and a criss cross of sea routes in a high trading area combined with pirating have all contributed to shipwrecks in the Bay of Bengal. [ [http://drs.nio.org/drs/bitstream/2264/30/3/Man_Environ_29_28.pdf Marine Archaeology in India] URL accessed January 22, 2007]
Famous ships and shipwrecks
*1778 to 1783 The
Naval operations in the American Revolutionary Waror American War of Independence ranged as far as the Bay of Bengal.
*c1816 Mornington Ship burned in the Bay of Bengal [ [http://www.theshipslist.com/ships/Wrecks/wrecks1816-1818.html Shipwrecks 1816-1818] URL accessed
January 23, 2007]
*1850 American clipper brig Eagle is supposed to have sunk in a Bay of Bengal [ [http://www.maritimeheritage.org/ships/wrecks.html The Maritime Heritage Project: Gold Rush Ships, Passengers, Captains] URL accessed
January 23, 2007]
*American Baptist missionary
Adoniram Judson, Jr. died April 12, 1850and was buried at sea in the Bay of Bengal.
*1855 The Bark "Incredible" struck on a sunken rock in the Bay of Bengal [ [http://www.islandregister.com/shippingnotes.html Shipping Notes from the 1800s - P.E.I.] URL accessed
January 23, 2007]
*1865, a gale dismasted the Euterpe while traversing the Bay of Bengal typhoon.
*1875 Veleda 76 m (250 ft) long and 15 m (50 ft) wide is a part of a current salvage operation. [ [http://www.diving-industry.com/news/2006/05/06/sunken-ship-possibly-older-than-titanic-discovered/ Diving-News.com » Wrecks] URL accessed
January 23, 2007]
Japanese cruiser Yuraof the Second Expeditionary Fleet, Malay Force attacked merchant ships in the Bay of Bengal.
December 3- It was claimed that Indian Navy destroyer INS Rajput sunk the Pakistan Navy submarine PNS Ghazi off of Vishakapatnam, in Bay Of Bengal List of naval battles
* [http://www.india-seminar.com/2000/487/487%20suryanarayan.htm 487 V. Suryanarayan, Prospects for a Bay of Bengal Community]
* [http://concise.britannica.com/ebc/art-1997 Arabian Sea: depth contours and undersea features - Map/Still - Britannica Concise]
* [http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1E1-Bengal-B.html Bay of Bengal - HighBeam Encyclopedia]
name = Bay of Bengal
title = Geographic Countries circumscribing the Bay of Bengal
titlestyle = background:#FFC8D8;
list1 = BAN • BHU • IND • MYA • NPL • SRI • THA
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