Talk of volcano eruption on Changbai Mountain stirs up residents

14:17, November 17, 2010      

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Scientists in China say that the Tianchi volcano in Changbai Mountain in Jilin Province, which sits near China's border with North Korea, is not likely to erupt anytime soon as some believe.

However, that's not stopping the public from panicking about the potential of ash and fire spilling into their homes.

Some residents in the area believe unsubstantiated claims that the volcano would erupt anytime in the next few years, Changchun Evening News reported Tuesday.

Jiang, a woman who lives in Baishan, Northeast China's Jilin Province, told the newspaper that she sold her clothing shop and is planning to move out from the city for fear of an eruption.

Zhao Xiaoyu, 28, an English teacher who lives north of Changbai Mountain, told the Global Times that rumors have been thrown around for years but people became more panicky after a South Korean expert predicted publicly that it could erupt within a few years.

"We don't know whom we should trust. What we can do is to pray the eruption won't happen," Zhao said, adding that his family and neighbors, who have lived near the mountain for generations, have no plans to relocate just yet.

Yun Sung-whyo, a geology professor at Pusan National University in South Korea, made his prediction on June 18 that the volcano "might erupt between 2014 and 2015, according to the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency.

Chinese experts later dismissed the claim. Yang Qingfu, director of the Earthquake and Volcano Analysis and Forecast Center at the Seismology Bureau of Jilin Province, told the Xinhua News Agency that the monitoring data showed the volcano was stable and there were no signs of an imminent eruption.

The Tianchi volcano is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the Chinese mainland with a potential for eruption. In addition, 2 billion cubic meters of water that sits at the top of the volcano could prove more dangerous during an eruption. The last time the volcano erupted was in 1903.

South Korea's Ministry of Unification said Tuesday that it was considering setting up a special team to investigate the possibility of the mountain's eruption in order to make a contingency plan.

By Pan Yan, Global Times


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