Team seeks North Korea volcano secrets

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — When it erupted more than a thousand years ago, a huge volcano on the border between North Korea and China left eastern Asia covered in ash. It was one of the biggest eruptions in human history.

But the volcano remains almost a complete mystery to foreign scientists, who haven’t been able to conduct on-site studies — until recently.

Two British scientists have now made three visits to the volcano, studying it in a joint project with North Korea. They say they may soon be able to reveal some of the secrets of Mount Paektu — including its likelihood of erupting again.

The scientists have been collecting seismic data. And they’ve been studying rocks that were ejected in the eruption that took place sometime in the 10th century.

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225-a-17-(James Hammond, Natural Environment Research Council, research fellow, Imperial College London, in AP interview)-“of the volcano”-James Hammond, a scientist with the group called the Natural Environment Research Council, says because the volcano has been off-limits until now, it’s important to do comprehensive on-site research. ((Paektu is pronounced PEHK’-too)) (3 Sep 2014)

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APPHOTO TOK704: In this Aug. 21, 2014 photo, James Hammond, right, a seismologist at Imperial College in London, collects data from a seismometer on Mount Paektu in North Korea. Fresh off their third visit to the mountain, two British scientists, Hammond and Clive Oppenheimer, a professor of Volcanology at Cambridge University, studying the mountain in an unprecedented joint project with North Korea say details of the “millennium eruption” and data that could help predict the volcano’s likelihood of erupting again may finally be coming to light. (AP Photo/APTN) (21 Aug 2014)

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APPHOTO TOK703: In this Wednesday, June 18, 2014 photo, a North Korean national television station camera crew records the scenery from the peak of Mt. Paektu in North Korea’s Ryanggang province. More than a thousand years ago, a huge volcano straddling the border between North Korea and China was the site of one of the biggest eruptions in human history, blanketing eastern Asia in its ash. But unlike other major volcanos around the world, the remote and politically sensitive Mount Paektu remains almost a complete mystery to foreign scientists who have – until recently – been unable to conduct on-site studies. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) (18 Jun 2014)

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