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North Korea mountain used as nuclear test site may collapse

North Korea mountain used as nuclear test site may collapse

The next test could trigger the volcanic eruption of Mount Paektu.

North Korea has been testing its nuclear bombs along with its ICBM’s at a rapid pace to match the increasing belligerence of its dictator, Kim Jong Un.

However, North Korea’s top scientists did not factor in the geologic consequences of their continued testing.

A mountain in North Korea believed to have served as the site of five of the rogue regime’s nuclear tests — including Sunday’s supposed hydrogen bomb explosion — is at risk of collapsing and leaking radiation into the region, a Chinese scientist said Monday.

Researchers at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Anhui province, examined the Punggye-ri site and said they “were confident” underground detonations were occurring underneath the mountain, South China Morning Post reported. Wang Naiyan, a former chairman of the China Nuclear Society and a researcher on China’s own nuclear weapons program, said another test underneath the mountain can cause an “environmental disaster” if the site caves in on itself, allowing radiation to escape and “drift across the region,” including into China.

“We call it ‘taking the roof off.’ If the mountain collapses and the hole is exposed, it will let out many bad things.” Wang told the South China Morning Post.

Any geologist will tell you that extreme heat and pressure will cause enormous changes in the surrounding rock. In the case of a nuclear explosion, the rock immediately surrounding the detonation will entirely vaporize, forming a cavity. Adjacent to the detonation zone, there will be areas of fractured, weakened, and irreversibly strained rock. As North Korea has tested 5 bombs, the area under that mountain must look like the geologic equivalent of Swiss cheese.

In fact, preliminary analysis of the area around the site show troubling signs of instability.

38 North said lower resolution satellite images posted on its site appear to show numerous landslides and surface disturbances in the mountain’s gravel and broken rock fields. The website is a clearing house for North Korea analysis and is part of the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

While it might be fun to think of Pyongyang self-irradiating into oblivion, it appears that there is an additional component to this scenario that may cause real man-made global climate change. The testing may be impacting the magma chambers associated with a volcano named Mount Paektu (located on the border of North Korea and China).

The rare international scientific collaboration revealed that the magma chamber plumbing system beneath this mountain is far from dead; seismic imaging suggests that it has a fiery soul that’s tens of kilometres across and several kilometres deep. Someday, all that magma is going to burst forth at the surface. The key question here, as always, is when?

Well, bizarrely, thanks to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, it might be any day now. According to a separate study conducted over the last couple of years, the country’s underground weapons tests are sending powerful pressure waves towards Paektu’s massive magma chamber. This pressure is essentially being transferred to the magma, and at a certain point, it could cause the rock surrounding the partly liquid doom to crack, and thereby trigger an eruption.

The last massive eruption of Mt. Pektu was hundreds of years ago, but was powerful enough to spew debris as far as Japan. The mountain has been long dormant, but a series of earthquake swarms between 2002 and 2005 indicated that the magma may be rising again.

As a reminder of what a mountain collapse can look like, I turn to 1980’s Mt. St. Helens:

Imagine this, with airborne debris mixed with radioactive particulates.

With the recent geologic input, no wonder the China seems to be taking a more robust interest in containing and controlling its neighbor to the north.


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Maybe the Norks will blow themselves up without us having to fire a shot?

This might give China an excuse to make the Fat-Boy stop while saving face.

Mark Finkelstein | September 6, 2017 at 9:44 am

I’m sure the North Korean Environmental Protection Agency will intervene to halt all future testing. 😉

The wannabee volcano is on the Chinese border, 83 miles northwest of the Punggye-ri test site.

Humphrey's Executor | September 6, 2017 at 9:57 am

They shouldn’t oughta being messing around with those nukes. On of ’em is liable to go off by accident right next to the presidential palace, or where ever it is they store them for safe keeping.

Perhaps we just identified a retaliatory target in the event NK refuses to stop lobbing missiles at our allies . . . Since it would affect China, they should be on board with assisting us

So North Korea not only has the possibility of getting an active volcano for their villainous leader to build his secret lair in, but a *radioactive* volcano too.

Maybe he thinks he’ll get superpowers. Or maybe he already does think so.

    Milhouse in reply to georgfelis. | September 6, 2017 at 11:26 am

    How’d you get the idea that the volcano would be radioactive? How would the radioactive material get from Mantapsan to Paetku? No, an eruption of Paetku would be “clean”, regardless of what triggered it. If Mantapsan were to collapse, though, exposing the test chamber underneath, that would release radioactive material but no lava.

      The post requires close reading. If the reader isn’t paying attention, the fact that the article is discussing two separate mountains gets lost very quickly.

      It should be divided into two separate sections, under two separate bolded headings with one discussing the nuclear test site and the other discussing the potential volcano and discussing the distances involved.

I’m trying real hard to find the bad issue here.
it blows, nk in trouble.
spewing will cause a cooling issue and can be used to shut the agw idiots down.
bunch of silver linings.

“Paektu, I choose YOU!”

buckeyeminuteman | September 6, 2017 at 1:20 pm

“Liquid hot mag-ma” This guy is like a chubbier version of Doctor Evil. I’ll bet he has sharks with frickin lazer beams attached to their frickin heads to eat his political enemies.

Chiun’s going to be pissed.

From you article to “Gaia’s heart”

Anyone under the illusion that North Korea is a rational country where they are testing their nukes is a volcano which could lead to a radio active eruption …………,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,.Oh no, they say he’s got to go go go Godzilla
Oh no, there goes Pyongyang go go Godzilla
History shows again and again
How nature points up the folly of men……..

Stuff it with michelle obama’s ass – that’ll fill it.