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New Eruption Might Be Brewing At North Korea's Mount Paektu

Apr 18, 2016 12:17 PM EDT
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North Korea's sacred Mount Paektu might just blow off anytime soon, said the latest study published the journal Science Advances.

An active volcano on the border between North Korea and China, Mount Paektu or Changbai as it’s called in Chinese, caused one of the largest eruptions on earth in 946 C.E., blasting 96 cubic kilometers of debris.

The volcano, located kilometers away from the world's most violent volcanoes remained inactive for the past years until it had occurrences of earthquakes between 2002 and 2005. This has made the scientists wonder whether it is preparing to unleash another massive eruption anytime soon.

Together with the team in North Korea, lead by Ri Kyong-Song of the government’s Earthquake Administration in Pyongyang, the Western researchers and UK scientists attempted to unlock the mystery of the volcano by installing broadband seismometers in the area and collecting data for two years to examine the seismic waves undulating all the way through the crust underneath the volcano.

Upon examination, they found out the existence of blobs of melted crust at its heart, indicating that the volcano is actually active rather than opposite, as per HNGN.

“The RF results suggest that significant amounts of melt are present in the crust beneath the volcano with a lateral extent of at least 20 km,” the study said.

Commenting on the recent discovery, seismologist George Zandt of the University of Arizona told National Geographic that the results are useful and valuable.

Although it has not been known whether when exactly will it erupt, James Hammond, one of the scientists involved in the study said that the impact of the eruption would be way beyond Korea and China which is why keeping a close eye on the volcano is needed.

The study remains one of the greatest discoveries in the field of science. It also marks the first time Western geophysical equipment was deployed on North Korean territory.

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