Photo by Hehe221 on Wikimedia Commons
Have you ever heard of Baekdu mountain? Chances are you probably have not, unless you are Korean.
Baekdu mountain is a 2,744 m high active volcano on the North Korean-Chinese border. It is known for its huge crater lake at its peak which formed from the massive explosion in 946. The explosion with a Volcanic Explosion Index of 7 was one of the largest eruptions in the last 5,000 years, along with Mt. Tambora. The eruption was so violent that volcanic ash was found as far away as the southern part of Hokkaido, Japan.
Recently, people have been predicting that Baekdu mountain will have another huge eruption in 2025.
An eruption of this size would effect all of us in many different ways. North Korea would be suffer unrecoverable damage. A volcanic earthquake would directly strike North Korea potentially destroying the nuclear facility nearby. The 2 billion tons of water in the crater lake will also flood and engulf everything within a 30 km radius in just 3 hours. The volcanic ash will reach South Korea, Japan, China and Russia.
Flights from East Asia and South East Russia to North America via Arctic routes are 100% included within the radius of influence. In a similar instance, the 2014 Iceland Eyjafiadlaijökull eruption caused ash to spread through all of Europe in a jet stream, paralyzing the economy and society.
Geologists predict the occurrence of Mt. Baekdu erupt to be once every century. Since the last big eruption was in 1925, people believe there will be a massive eruption in 2025. Other evidence supporting this theory is the notable rise in surface temperature and the expanding magma pool. Also, the concentration of hydrogen and helium emissions, both of which are volcanic gases have risen tenfold.
However, scientists have debunked this theory. They claim that the high surface temperature, volcanic gases and seismic activity have always happened meaning they do not confirm that the volcano will explode in 2 years. Additionally, the 1925 explosion was not recorded officially meaning the most recent official explosion was in 1903.
Though it likely won’t explode next year, scientists are sure that an explosion is imminent. It never hurts to pay attention and always be ready in case of an emergency. Stay safe!