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Mt. Baekdu Grows 18 mm within Six Years

Posted July. 20, 2005 03:14,   


It has been revealed that the central section of Mt. Baekdu rises by some three millimeters every year.

Experts explained that this was a phenomenon caused by the rising magma below the central part of Mt. Baekdu but that there were yet no signs of volcanic eruption.

The research team led by Moon Wu-il, an earth environment science professor at Seoul National University and former NASA researcher, and Won Joong-seon, an earth system science professor at Yonsei University, plans to announce relevant research findings from July 24 to July 29 at the 25th Anniversary International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (IGARSS) to be held at the COEX in Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.

Mt. Baekdu is a dormant volcano which staged four occasions of small-scale eruption after the 15th century since its huge explosion in A.D. 1000.

According to the team’s analysis on Japan’s satellite materials for six years from 1992 to 1998, the periphery of Mt. Baekdu’s Cheonji Lake is rising three millimeters annually.

Although this “theory of rising Mt. Baekdu” had been reported in the academia earlier in 1999 by Chinese scholars who surveyed the periphery of the northeastern valley of Mt. Baekdu, this is the first to quantify the concrete movements of the whole mountain using a satellite.

Hence there is a growing need for substantial research on the possibility of volcano action on Mt. Baekdu. Since there are limitations to approaching the mountain with the division of the peninsula, South Korean scholars so far have no single piece of research on volcano activities in Mt. Baekdu.

Professor Moon said, “A surge in the central section of volcanoes imply magma rising underground, but the situation is not estimated to be very dangerous because there are no precursors of eruption such as temperature increase, gas generation, and earthquakes.”

Sohn Young-gwan, an earth environment education professor at Gyeongsang National University, explained, “Multi-faceted research is required including satellite exploration and on-site geological survey in order to determine exactly when volcano activity will resume in Mt. Baekdu.”

The upcoming IGARSS, one of the world’s most authoritative in earth sciences, will be participated by China’s Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua, U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere Conrad C. Lautenbacher, President of the IEEE Cleon Anderson, Director of German Aerospace Center (DLR) Alberto Moreira, and Executive Director of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Yasushi Horikawa, among others.

The symposium will have a record attendance of more than 1,200 scholars from 56 countries participating and over 2,500 papers presented.

Jae-Young Kim wolfkim@donga.com jaykim@donga.com