North Korea, sitting on a volcano, literally… September 24, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Science, Uncategorized.
…let us consider this information from New Scientist this week, (and Slate.com) that there is a volcano in the DPRK which has the potential, should it blow, well, let’s allow one of the seismologists involved in research there to say it:
I’m part of a joint project with North Korean scientists to understand the Mount Paektu volcano, on the border of North Korea and China. Its last eruption 1,000 years ago was one of the largest in human history. The whole top of the volcano blew off. There are still tens of meters of rock and ash deposits. In the early 2000s, it showed signs of life—an increase in earthquakes was recorded and some signs of inflation.
…These were signs it wasn’t as dormant as we thought. That piqued everyone’s interest. With its history, it’s quite a worrying volcano.
The North Koreans allowed a team in to supplement their own geological/seismology surveys, which perhaps indicates concern on their part too. How bad the local and global impact of an eruption would be is still unclear. They liken it to a volcano, “Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815, after which the world had a year without summer” but appear to believe the effects of that eruption of Mount Paektu 1,000 years ago didn’t have that sort of effect.
Some interesting observations too…
CB: You are one of only a handful of outside scientists to work in North Korea …
JH: In 2011, we were told we were the first Western scientists to visit their volcano observatories, which was quite special. It’s clear that the North Koreans have been working on this volcano for years. We hope to help them bring that work to the international community.
CB: What is your impression of their science?
JH: It’s clear there’s a high level of understanding. Obviously some things are difficult for them—like access to recent papers. But, on the whole, I am impressed by their expertise.