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Baitoushan Volcano, China and North Korea

As part of an NSF-sponsored research exchange program I lucked into in 1990, while teaching at Sul Ross State University, I was able to travel to northeastern China in order to examine a spectacular dormant volcano on the border between China and North Korea. The volcano bears a superficial semblance to Crater Lake, Oregon, but is distinguished by a variety of somewhat unusual geologic characteristics. I know of no other volcano in the world that is so beautiful and geologically interesting and yet so poorly known or traveled (at least outside of China and the Korea's) - it is even the site of a very nice Chinese 'National Park'! I plan to post a photo-journal of this volcano and a brief discussion of its geologic evolution (including production of a catastrophic ignimbrite-forming eruption of ~1000 A.D.).

The following is a geologic summary from GVP: Massive Baitoushan stratovolcano, also known as Changbaishan and by the Korean names of Baegdu or P'aektu-san, is a relatively unknown, but volcanologically significant volcano straddling the China-Korea border. A 5-km-wide, 850-m-deep summit caldera is filled by scenic Lake Tianchi (Sky Lake). A large Korean-speaking population resides near the volcano on both sides of the border. The 60-km-diameter volcano was constructed over the Changbaishan (Laoheidingzi) shield volcano. Satellitic cinder cones are alligned along a NNE trend. One of the world's largest known Holocene explosive eruptions took place from Baitoushan about 1000 AD, depositing tephra as far away as northern Japan and forming in part the present caldera. Four historical eruptions have been recorded since the 15th century.

The following is a list of publications re. Baitoushan, including an abstract I coauthored in 1990:

• Dunlap, C.E., 1996, Physical, chemical, and temporal relations among products of the 11th century eruption of Baitoushan, China/
North Korea. Doctoral Dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara, CA, United States. Pages: 215.
• Dunlap, C.E., and S. Horn, 1994, A major element, trace element, and isotopic study of the large-volume, chemically-zoned eruption of
Baitoushan, 1010 AD. In: AGU 1994 fall meeting. Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union. 75; 44, Suppl., Pages 732. 1994.
• Feng-M; Wei-H-C; McCurry-M; Walker-G-P-L; Whitford-Stark-James-L; Zhang-C; Zhang-Y, 1990, Baitoushan; site of a major Holocene ignimbrite eruption in China, Eos, Transactions, American Geophysical Union. 71; 43, page 1713.
• Tang-Deping, 1992, Petrology of Baitoushan volcanic rocks in Jilin Province.Xiandai Dizhi = Geoscience. 4; 1, Pages 64-77. 1990. China University of Geoscience, Graduate School. [Beijing], China. 1990.

LINKS: Other sources of information about Baitoushan on the web

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