North Korea’s Volcano Is Full Of Molten Rock And Is Threatening To Blow Anytime

Posted: Apr 17 2016, 1:12am CDT | by , Updated: Apr 17 2016, 8:49pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


North Korea’s Volcano is full of Molten Rock and is Threatening to Blow Anytime
Credit: James Hammond

North Korean and western researchers teamed up to study the enigmatic volcano and provided the first ever estimates of the structure of mount Paektu.

Mount Paektu is the one of the most enigmatic and dangerous volcanoes sitting on the border of North Korea and China. The volcano let loose one of the largest eruptions in human history in 946 AD when it threw hot rocks and debris hundreds of miles into the sky and the blast was so intense that the volcanic ashes reached to the far-off country Japan too.

Despite being responsible for one of the largest eruptions in history, scientists knew very little about the history of the volcano, its magmatic evolution and the structure beneath it. Now, in a groundbreaking collaboration between western and North Korea, volcanologists has probed the ground beneath the massive volcano and found that the volcano is full of molten rock and could lead to possible eruptions in the future. Lava could erupt as much as 20 kilometers away from the mountain’s peak. 

“This volcano is quiet at the moment, but it’s defiantly got potential. We need to keep an eye on it.”James Hammond, one of the team members and seismologist from Birkbeck, University of London said.

For the study, the team of international researchers deployed six seismometers on the North Korean side of the volcano, used vibrations to get an idea about the volcano inside and revealed the first ever estimates of the structure of the crust of Mount Paektu to public.

Mount Paektu, also known as Changbaishan in China, is not completely quiet in recent years. It shook the earth off and on between 2002 and 2006. Lately, the mountain has not shown any signs of unrest. But certainly people wanted to know what is going inside the mountain and is there any chance of eruptions in future. 

“(Study) suggest that partial melt is present in the crust beneath Mt. Paektu,” authors wrote in the study. “This region of melt represents a potential source of magmas erupted in the last few thousand years and may be associated with an episode of volcanic unrest observed between 2002 and 2005.”

Mount Paektu is a 9,000 feet high mountain, the tallest in the region Korean Peninsula and northeast China and holds the special significance in Korea’s history since it is the birthplace of the founder of first Korean kingdom as well as former leader Kim Jong- II. The volcano last erupted more than century ago in 1903.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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