May 22, 2015 12:49
An eruption of Mt. Baekdu on the border between North Korea and China could cause up to W11.2 trillion in damage to South Korea, geologists speculate (US$1=W1,094).
The scientists from Pusan National University studied the potential damage from a powerful volcanic eruption followed by a northeasterly wind that sends volcanic dust across South Korea.
The study, commissioned by the Ministry of Public Safety and Security, supposes that volcanic ash would fall on Gangwon Province eight hours after an eruption and cover the entire nation within 48 hours.
The entire nation would suffer W4.5 trillion worth of crop damage, and all airports except Jeju would have to be closed for up to 39 hours, leading to property damage of up to W61.1 billion.
Possible earthquakes triggered by the eruption would crack walls in buildings over 10 stories even 500 km away in Seoul, causing more than W13 billion worth of property damage in the capital. The total damage was estimated at W11.2 trillion.
Mt. Baekdu erupted in 1373, 1597, 1702, 1898, 1903 and 1925, suggesting that another eruption may be on the cards fairly soon, with the temperature of the underground hot springs rising steadily to 83 degrees Celsius since July last year and helium concentration increasing sevenfold compared to ordinary levels.
Yoo Sung-ho, a geologist at Pusan National University said, "The aim of the study was to ensure proper safety measures are prepared."
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