S3.8: Mt. Baekdu volcano: Risk Perception and Preparedness (Volcanic risk: evaluation and mitigation)


Sung-Hyo Yun

Volcano Specialized Research Center, Pusan National University, Republic of Korea

Sungsu Lee

School of Civil Engineering, Chungbuk National University, Republic of Korea

Hee J. Ham

Wind Engineering & Natural Hazard Mitigation Lab, Architectural Engineering Department, Kangwon National University, Republic of Korea

Mt. Baekdu (or Baekdu Mountain), also known as Paektu Mountain (in North Korea),and as Changbai Mountain (in China), is a potentially active volcano on the Chinese-North Korean border. With the summit at the altitude of 2,750 m, it is the highest mountain of the Changbai and Baekdudaegan ranges. Koreans hold a mythical quality for the volcano and its caldera lake, considering it to be their country’s spiritual home. A large crater lake, called Heaven Lake (Cheonji; 天池), is in the midst of caldera atop the mountain, formed by the VEI 7 “Millennium” eruption of AD946, which erupted about 100-150 km3 of tephra. This was one of the largest and the most violent eruptions in the last 5,000 years. Between 2002 and 2005, that tranquility came to a rumbling halt as a swarm of earthquakes shook the mountain’s slopes. Like a restless giant, though, whatever rumbled beneath the volcano rolled over and went back to sleep afterwards. It’s way too soon to judge whether future eruptions are possible, but the partially melted magma suggests that whatever is fueling Mount Baekdu’s outbursts is not quite yet done. And many scientists agrees on that an explosion on the scale of the volcano’s AD 946 outburst could be catastrophic.Preparedness is the key to mitigation of the disastrous effects of a super-eruption.We will discuss the geology, magma genesis, historic eruption records, monitoring the unrest and precursor of recent activities, preparedness and mitigation of the potential disasters in the near future.

Core connection between the proposed session and societal risk mitigation:


  • Magma plumbing system, evolution and historic explosive eruption (VEI 7) of the Mt. Baekdu
  • Monitoring the unrest and precursors of recent activities
  • Potential impact from eruption including lahars, PDC and ash dispersion
  • Preparedness and mitigation of the potential disasters in the near future.
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