China's Changbaishan volcano showing signs of increased activity


  • Colin Schultz


Roughly 1100 years ago, the Changbaishan volcano that lies along the border between northeastern China and North Korea erupted, sending pyroclastic flows dozens of kilometers and blasting a 5-kilometer-wide chunk off of the tip of the stratovolcano. The eruption, known as the Millennium eruption because of its proximity to the turn of the first millennium, was one of the largest volcanic events in the Common Era. In the subsequent period, there have been three smaller eruptions, the most recent of which took place in 1903. Starting in 1999, spurred by signs of resumed activity, scientists established the Changbaishan Volcano Observatory, a network to track changing gas compositions, seismic activity, and ground deformation. Reporting on the data collected over the past 12 years, Xu et al. found that these volcanic indices each leapt during a period of heightened activity from 2002 to 2006.