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AGU: Geophysical Research Letters



  • Changbaishan volcano
  • gas geochemistry
  • ground deformation
  • monitoring
  • unrest
  • volcanic seisimicity

Index Terms

  • 1749 - Volcanology, geochemistry, and petrology

Paper in Press


Recent unrest of Changbaishan volcano, northeast China: A precursor of a future eruption?

Key Points
  • The unrest of Changbaishan volcano during 2002-2006 was detected
  • The unrest process may be a long term precursor of eruptive activity in future
  • Need to keep close watch on the volcano


Jiandong Xu

Guoming Liu

Jianping Wu

Yuehong Ming

Qingliang Wang

Duxin Cui

Zhiguan Shangguan

Bo Pan

Xudong Lin

Junqing Liu

Over 12 years of continuous monitoring of Changbaishan volcano in the border region of China and North Korea by means of volcanic seismicity, ground deformation, and volcanic gas geochemistry yields new evidence for magmatic unrest of the volcano during 2002-2006. In this so-called "active period," the frequency of volcanic earthquakes increased by about 2 orders of magnitude compared to that of the background "inactive periods." Active period was also accompanied by ground inflation, high values of CO2, He, H2, and high ratios of N2/O2 and 3He/4He in volcanic gases released from three hot springs near the caldera rim. The monitoring evidence implies pressurization of the magma chamber, possibly caused by incremental magma recharge. The ground deformation data from both GPS and precise leveling are modeled to suggest the corresponding deformation source at 2-6 km beneath the volcano's summit, where earthquake swarms were detected in 2002 and 2003. Our findings suggest that the magma chamber beneath Changbaishan volcano has waked up and resumed its activity after it has remained dormant since AD 1903. There is therefore an urgent need to keep close watch on this active and very hazardous volcano in northeast China.

Received 3 June 2012; accepted 16 July 2012.

Citation: Xu, J., G. Liu, J. Wu, Y. Ming, Q. Wang, D. Cui, Z. Shangguan, B. Pan, X. Lin, and J. Liu (2012), Recent unrest of Changbaishan volcano, northeast China: A precursor of a future eruption?, Geophys. Res. Lett., doi:10.1029/2012GL052600, in press.