The North Korean government is becoming concerned that a volcano named Mount Paektu, which is located on the border with China, could be close to super-eruption, and that further underground testing of nuclear weapons could actually trigger it.
A recent study involving rare outside cooperation — this time with British scientists — has revealed that the magma chamber system beneath this mountain is far from dead. Seismic measurements indicated that it is tens of kilometers wide and several kilometers deep, and that it’s just a matter of time before the magma violently makes its way to the surface, though of course, no one can predict when.
But what is known is that North Korea’s underground nuclear testing has been sending shock waves towards Paektu’s massive magma chamber. Experts think that at some point the rock surrounding the mostly-liquid magma could weaken and crack, unleashing fiery hell on earth.
that’s tens of kilometres across and several kilometres deep. Someday, all that magma is going to burst forth at the surface. The key question here, as always, is when?
There was a small eruption in 1903, but there was a major eruption in the year 946 AD, which spewed an estimated “100 cubic kilometres of volcanic debris, smothered the surrounding landscape in pyroclastic flows, and unleashed 1,000 times more energy than the famous 1980 eruption at Mount St. Helens.”
Why it’s on our radar: Experts estimate that a major event at Mt. Paektu would produce catastrophe. Many thousands would die and the area would be plunged into darkness, disrupting and destroying agricultural output. North Korea can barely feed itself most years as it is; a major disruption to its agricultural output would lead to mass starvation and all the chaos that would lead to. And as Kim Jong-un’s country collapsed, you have to wonder what he’d be willing to do to save his regime from a similar fate.