North Korea’s nuclear test has little impact on border volcano: experts

By Shan Jie Source:Global Times Published: 2017/9/27 22:38:39

Chinese experts said that the North Korean nuclear tests are incapable of causing the eruption of the Changbai Mountain, a volcano near the China-North Korea border.

"Internal factors determine a volcanic eruption. The Changbai Mountain is in a stable condition, which means external factors cannot induce an eruption," Xu Jiandong, an expert on petrology, volcanology and geology at the China Earthquake Administration, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

"However, the nuclear tests have become stronger. The latest test in early September caused a tremor greater than magnitude 6. If a test causes a magnitude 7 tremor, it could affect the volcano," Xu said, adding that "if a more powerful nuclear test is conducted when the volcano is unstable, it would be dangerous."

Xu said that during the 2002-06 period, the Changbai Mountain became unstable, the only period since 1999.

The Changbai Mountain is China's most active volcano and considered the most dangerous, according to Volcano Discovery, a website offering information and news about volcanoes worldwide.

Lahars from the huge lake in the five-kilometer-wide caldera pose the greatest hazard, and could threaten the 100,000 people living near or on the slopes of the volcano, as well as the tourists visiting the volcano in summer, the website said.

South Korea's Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) on Tuesday held the first international academic conference on the Changbai Mountain to discuss whether the North Korean nuclear test would cause the volcano to erupt, Yonhap News Agency reported on Tuesday.

International experts at the conference recommended that China, South Korea and North Korea build a joint research center to forecast the eruptions of the Changbai Mountain, Yonhap reported.

Xu said joint research might be possible but not joint monitoring, because the border area is currently closed to foreigners.

He noted that the public should not panic over reports or rumors about a potential eruption.

"Currently 12 observation stations in the Changbai Mountain are sending real-time data to the China Earthquake Administration," Xu said.

A research team led by Wen Lianxing of the University of Science and Technology of China measured the nuclear test on September 3 at 108.3±48.1 kilotons, the highest of all six nuclear tests North Korea has conducted, according to an email previously sent to the Global Times.



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