A massive magma storage region seems to exist beneath Mount Paektu along the border between North Korea and China, an international study showed.
It may be related to volcanic unrest observed on the enigmatic volcano in the early 2000s, according to the results of a research project published in the Science Advances journal.
The reclusive North conducted a rare joint research with western scientists on the seismic activity of the 2,750-meter-high mountain.
The North Korean, British and American scientists collected data from six seismic stations located in North Korea. They also used so-called receiver function method, which measures energy from distant earthquakes interacting with the Earth beneath a volcano.
They obtained readings revealing that a large region of the crust has been modified by magmatism associated with volcanism.
Those "suggest the existence of a complex magma storage region with both shallow and deep crustal melt storage regions beneath Mt. Paektu," they added.
The size of the area is estimated at 1,256 square meters, more than double the area of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. South Korean experts, however, said the outcome of the latest research carries nothing new.
“The existence of magma beneath Mt. Paektu has been already reported by China," said Lee Yoon-soo, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources. "The paper does not contain new results." (Yonhap)