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Washed away. A satellite snapped this image of an inlet of Little Andaman Island on 2 January.

After the Earth Moved

NEW DELHI--Indian geologists are scrambling to remap the Andaman and Nicobar islands after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck South Asia on 26 December.

The 700-kilometer island chain in the Bay of Bengal lurched southeast toward Sumatra by as much as 1.25 meters and twisted counterclockwise, Prithvish Nag, India's surveyor general, told a scientific meeting here last week. More importantly, when the islands sank by a meter, the sea swallowed much of the former coastline.

Remapping must be done quickly, Nag said, so that the government can provide advice on where to relocate residents now temporarily housed in refugee camps on the islands. In addition, the dozen or so Global Positioning System control locations on the islands needed to be recalibrated after having been thrown for a loop by the magnitude 9 earthquake. India plans to spend at least $25 million to document the island's new geomorphology, Nag said.

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Information on the islands