An Awakening of a Geological Giant: The Next Deadly Eruption of Mount Baekdu

我们通过发表论文来表彰学生 STEM 写作比赛的前 10 名获奖者。这是  Yejin (Jenny) Son 的作品。

位于朝鲜和中国边界的白头山,也称为白头山,在 1000 年前爆发,是人类历史上最猛烈的火山爆发之一。

这篇文章由来自韩国松岛查德威克国际学校的 17 岁的 Yejin (Jenny) Son 撰写,是 The Learning Network 第四届年度 STEM 写作比赛的前 10 名获奖者之一,我们收到了 3,000 多份参赛作品。

An Awakening of a Geological Giant: The Next Deadly Eruption of Mount Baekdu

In the summer of 1816, six inches of snow fell in the northeastern United States. People spent Independence Day seeking refuge inside fire-warmed churches. Meanwhile, across Europe, food prices skyrocketed, and riots spread like wildfire throughout city streets. Bakeries and markets went down in flames as people scoured the land for any scrap of food. While in Asia, a disruption of the monsoon contributed to a deadly outbreak of cholera that killed thousands of people. These bizarre events may appear entirely unrelated, but what if a single incident ties them all together?

A year earlier, Mount Tambora, situated in Indonesia, produced the largest volcanic eruption ever recorded. It ejected as much as 50 cubic kilometers of ash and gas into the atmosphere that darkened a million square kilometers of sky and blocked the sun from view. This led to the upheaval of atmospheric circulation patterns, causing what scientists now call the “Year Without Summer” in 1816. Perhaps most alarmingly, scientists state that a similar cataclysmic event could occur once again in the not-too-distant future.

On the border between China and North Korea lies an active volcano called Mount Baekdu, also known as Changbai in China, that undergoes a major eruption every 1,000 years. The last such eruption occurred in 946 when 45 megatons of sulfur dioxide were released into the atmosphere — 1.5 times the amount put out by the Tambora eruption. And as the date suggests, a millennium eruption is now overdue.

Scientists who have been monitoring the status of this sleeping giant detected around 3,000 earthquakes between the years 2002 to 2005; however, since 2006, seismic activity has dramatically decreased — a key signal that a volcanic eruption is imminent. Furthermore, a Russian satellite noticed a remarkable increase in surface temperature around the mountain, while the concentration of hydrogen and helium emissions also rose tenfold in 2006. “Mount Baekdu is almost like the calm before a storm right now,” said Yun Sung-Ho, a professor of earth science education at Busan National University.

The National Institute of Environmental Research of Korea has analyzed the potential power of Mount Baekdu and suggested that the global impact may be as devastating as the Mount Tambora explosion. Volcanic ash and gas could dim the sun, lowering the temperature in East Asia by 2 degrees for two months. Not only can the fallout of volcanic ash leave an indelible imprint on our skin, but it has far-reaching secondary damages on the economy and livelihoods, as witnessed in 1816.

Scientists state that cooperation among the international community is urgently needed to prepare for all possible outcomes. They suggest that an evacuation plan must be developed, and a close monitoring system must continue. In the face of this herculean giant’s unpredictable fury and destructive force, it reminds humans that studying volcanoes is not just a matter of scientific curiosity but a crucial discipline that holds the key to protecting our planet.

Works Cited

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Oppenheimer, Clive. “Climatic, Environmental and Human Consequences of the Largest Known Historic Eruption: Tambora Volcano (Indonesia) 1815.” Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment, June 2003.

Park, Chang-Seok. “Mt. Baekdu Eruption’s Impact on North East Asia (25).” The Korea Times, 3 May 2012.

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