Supervolcano Alert: North Korea’s Mount Paektu Could Erupt And Cause Global Climate Catastrophe, Experts Sound The Alarm

JohnThomas Didymus - Author

Jan. 21 2017, Updated 4:07 a.m. ET

Experts are worried about Mount Paektu, one of the world’s most dangerous supervolcanoes on the borders of North Korea and China. Volcanologists recently raised the alarm that supervolcano Mt. Paektu, or Baekdu (also known as Changbai in Chinese), responsible for one of the most powerful eruptions in human history, is rumbling and threatening to blow up once again. Experts know so little about the 9,000-foot-tall (2740 meters) monster, yet recent studies suggest it could be on the brink of a major eruption that could have a devastating global impact.

The volcano had been quiet since its last major eruption in 946 A.D. until it came alive in 2002. From 2002 to 2005, there was a series of mini earthquakes caused by seismic activity within the volcano, according to National Geographic.

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Although it went silent again after 2005, the brief activity alarmed the North Korean authorities and forced them to set aside their policy of isolation and secrecy. They reached out to neighboring countries, including China. They also contacted top scientists in Western countries and asked for technical assistance to study the volcano.

The outreach led to a rare collaboration in 2013 between a team of North Korean experts led by Ri Kyong-Song of the Earthquake Administration in Pyongyang and a team of Western scientists led by James Hammond of the University of London.

Despite the ongoing bitter feud with the West and an unwavering policy of isolation, the North Korean government granted the team of international scientists, including experts from the U.K. and the U.S., access to North Korea to help local experts study the supervolcano and assess the risk of an eruption.

The results of the study were published in the journal Science Advances in April 2016.


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