The volcano that was not and Weekend NtV Riddle

Photograph by Farm, Wikimedia Commons. Baekdu Caldera during the winter.

Photograph by Farm, Wikimedia Commons.
Baekdu Caldera during the winter.

The last few days Baekdu volcano and the Baekdudaegan mountain range crept up as a topic in the comment field. It is nothing unusual with that, after all Baekdu has had one of the largest eruptions in the last one thousand years. Some commenter’s also noted that it was inordinately hard to find any information on how the volcano came to be since it is so far from any subduction zone or well known mantle plume.

And here comes the problem, there has been surprisingly little research done on the volcano. Get me right here, there is nothing pointing towards Baekdu having the potential for a large eruption at this time, quite the opposite since it is such a newly formed caldera. Still, it merits scientific investigation due to it being a volcano at an unusual spot.

The closest I have come for an explanation is that it is an old subduction volcano from the time when Korea slammed into China, and that it is still situated next to an active but much slower fault line. Nothing seems to be pointing towards there being a plume under the mountain.

Another reason for scientific investigations is also that it is an active volcano with people living next to it. And as such it merits monitoring. Only problem is that there is no monitoring at the volcano. In 2011 North Korea asked South Korea and Japan for help with monitoring the volcano after an initial North Korean query to China got no reply. It was agreed that Japan would help with both technological and scientific aid, and that South Korea would use satellite capacity to monitor the mountain. Due to later political issues this has not come into fruition.

On this map it is easy to see that the Baekdu is situated on the ancient point where Korea slammed into China. There are several more ancient calderas along the border.

On this map it is easy to see that the Baekdu is situated on the ancient point where Korea slammed into China. There are several more ancient calderas along the border.

Here comes the rub. China did not even answer North Koreas request, a country they have held under their arms for 60 years. How come that North Korea had to turn to their southern neighbor and Japan for help in the first place?

The answer is both simple and stupid in equal amounts; I will get back to that.

A while ago I agreed to help a Chinese exchange doctoral student since he is writing his dissertation on a tangential subject to what I wrote my own about. Very friendly chap from Manchu and one day we were having a cup of coffee and I got talking about volcanoes and got into Baekdu since he came from the place. To my amazement he did not know it was a volcano. So, he googled it and found out that his ancestral home is pretty much next door to a honking large volcano. He was amazed that he had missed that so he called a friend back home. He did not know about it either, so the friend googled it and got nothing at all about Baekdu being a volcano.

It is easy to understand why the crater lake is called Lake of the Heavens...

It is easy to understand why the crater lake is called Lake of the Heavens…

From that we know one thing. The Chinese authorities does not want anyone locally to know that it is an active volcano, so much that they have suppressed Google from showing any information about it inside China. We should though not be surprised about that, China censors a lot of natural hazards from its own population for economic reasons. In this case the economic reason is spelled The Olympic Winter Games; in short it is Chinas bid for holding one of the games.

Even though the volcanic system is too small and fragile to contain enough pressure for a large eruption it is still not a good idea to play with lives like this. Any good mitigation and evacuation will be severely hampered when you first of all have to start off with telling people that you have lied to them up until now, and you know the population will not believe them the second time around either.

I hope that the monitoring will fall into slightly more sane hands with time. When even North Korea looks sane on an issue, then it is bad.

Update: Commenter UKViggen found an English only article published in China that mentions 14 years of Chinese monitoring. I could though not find any non-chinese confirmation on that monitoring station.


NtV Riddle (4)

2 points for each volcano … have a great weekend …

No 1 – Medic who might arrive to treat the fallen at Pinky Park in a timely manner. SOLVED Mount Baker

No 2 – Mendel, Hubble and Hertz to name but a few. SOLVED Craters of the Moon

No 3 – Stats model used to anticipate random effects. SOLVED Blup Blup Volcano

No 4 – Where my heroes go marching in … SOLVED St Mary’s Islands

No 5 – Named in honour of an 18th century explorer, naturalist and member of the RA of S. SOLVED Krasheninnikov

No 6 – Birthplace of a solitary dragon slayer.

No 7 – Dutch pole that could be considered mightier than the sword. SOLVED The Quill

No 8 – St Peter was left utterly devastated when Our Lord returned to Heaven. SOLVED Mount Pelee

Current Points Table:

14 – Alison 

 6 – Kelda,  Edward 

 4 – Frances,  Diana Barnes,  Talla 

 2 – chryphia 

 1 – inannamoon667,  Random Joe,  KarenZ,  mdatc 


240 thoughts on “The volcano that was not and Weekend NtV Riddle

  1. I’m gonna go with the Bayesian model. You set up all the interactions and dependencies and then throw large quantities of data at it to see which output makes the most sense.

    • I spent half an hour finding a Bayes Mountain…

      I still says Gaussberg was a good answer… *going off to thump head against a wall*

      • Gaussberg was a great answer …. but hmmm …. BLUP was a more specific one! Grinning ….

        “Best linear unbiased predictions are similar to empirical Bayes estimates of random effects in linear mixed models, except that in the latter case, where weights depend on unknown values of components of variance, these unknown variances are replaced by sample-based estimates.”

        • Yepp, know BLUP but didn’t even figure there would be a volcano named Blup Blup… Sigh.
          Well, I got a post degree in a statistical part of physics and it still didn’t help me… 🙂
          I guess you put that one in to lure me into wracking my brain, it worked, but my brain is wired the wrong way for riddles. To the best of my knowledge I have not solved one ever.

  2. Since the statistical Riddle is solved I can now have some peace and quiet in my poor brain.
    Time for a walk down memory lane. Anyone who can spot me in this video wins an Icecream 🙂

    (hint: I am in the audience)

    Edit: Wrong band wrong concert fixed it now.

    • Well, now we can all say that we have seen Carl. But good luck figuring out which of hte several thousand people he is.

      Persoanlly, I have only been to a few concerts. Styx, Heart, Boots Randolph (yes, I have seen Yakety Sax played live), AC/DC. ZZ Top, Vah Halen.

      Anyway… along time ago, in a place not so far away, I worked at a store. I was part of the initial crew that helped build the warehouse in back where the products were stored, and I helped receive the products and stash them on the shelved. I got in trouble since my box opener was a 8″ hunting knife that I wore on my belt. The manager felt that it was a bit intimidating for the customers to see me wearing it, so I had to secure it prior to leaving the warehouse area. My logic for using it was that I kept getting cut by the staples on the boxes. With the knife I didnt’ have to finesse the box cutter along the seam, carefully avoiding the staples. All I had to do was find a clear seam and let the knife to the work. Eventually, they let be out on the product floor in sales, which is what I had applied for in the first place. I sold stereos. One popular piece of music that went along ways in showcasing the performance of some of these systems was Grand Illusion, by Styx.

      Due to sheer luck, they did a concert in my little backwoods corner of the world. The Colosseum at Jackson MS. Directly on top of what I later found to be the central vent of Jackson Volcano. (80+ myr old)

      For the opening of the song, they used a huge projection of just the trees portion of the album cover, then when the main song broke into play, the rider on horseback with the womans face faced in. At the time, I thought it was kick ass.

      • Well, I am front row, and I am in picture for a few seconds during Comfortably Numb.
        I camped out all day at a café next to the stage drinking endless espressos. The concert was monumental. After the concert I drifted about in the city and found a party in one of the palaces. I got friendly with the owner and a year later I got invited to the New Years masquerade there. One should not always be ware of the Cougars… Some things one just has to do in life to have lived.

        If you do not know what a Cougar is, well… It is a sort of cat… a two legged one.

        Edit: Mail for Lurking

    • OMG…Comfortably Numb was something like 1hour 20 minutes into that clip, which one were you? My TV moment was at T in the Park last year 2mins 50secs or thereabouts into the clip. Have suddenly realised that it is TITP this weekend, have an insane urge to drive down and see if I can get a ticket.

      • My moment of fame was being one of the “two firefighters were injured in the blaze” in an article lauding the dog that woke the family up.

        What the article didnt say was the fire started when they fell asleep on the couch while cooking the dog a steak.

  3. I hate colds. I utterly detest them. So much wasted time in dealing with them.

    Right now, I’m dealing with an oddity that doesn’t seem to make any sense. I have lung congestion, no fever, no aches. Generally this comes about due to sinuses acting up, but I have had no problems show up. So, today I went out and investigated the origin and destination sites for a move that I have to accomplish on Monday. As luck would have it… in the rain. Got home, miserable. Took a half a container of sour creme, several table spoons of crushed dried onion, garlic powder, salt, and cayeanne pepper and mixed it up into a dip for some tater chips. Washed it down with a pint.

    I feel better. On a plus side, I have secured an obligation from one of the grandkids to assist me with the move on Monday. I need it. The most important item is a large and unwieldy color copier. I don’t need to destroy another one of these. A year or so back, I had one of these things chase me off the back of a truck. I hit the ground moving because I didn’t want to be there when it came down. Rough guess… I’d say it made about a thousand pieces… or pretty damned close to it. I came through unscathed, though I did wrench my shoulder as I grabbed a last minute hand hold and pivoted out of the way. As I noted to the people I work for when they asked if I had been injured… you don’t go 20 years in the Navy without learning how to fall down and not kill yourself.

    • Lurk, had the same thing on my recent trip to AK. Congestion, industrial strength phlegm . and darn little else. completely gone in three days…

      • I can see the rock climb working quite well. Sudden impacts after a coffing spells would eliminate the host.

        And whatever I have, I am not passing it along if I can help it. I have a knack for working through maladies. The wife, not so much. Every little ache or pain is amplified, and it’s my responsibility to deal with it or to try and make it better or more comfortable. She made “rub soup,” a concoction that she learned from her mother. Essentially, it’s a potato soup with handmade dumplings.

        I generally toss in a lump of butter and whatever pepper I can stand. (usually Cayenne, but sometimes Habenero if you want the back of your head to sweat for an hour). Eaten with a quartered onion, it’s pretty good for getting nutrition into you and settling your stomach. It can also trigger the breaking of a fever. (though that might be coincidental).

  4. Tomorrow at 12.00 blog time a post will mysteriously appear while I am happily sleeping.

    Have a nice weekend everyone!

  5. How sad am I? Been travelling for 24+ hours, jetlag is kicking in big time, but (almost) the first thing i do is log on to see how the riddles are going. Not happy to see they are mostly all solved except for the dragon one. So my guess is Drachenfels (Siebengebirge) for that.
    Enjoying the comments from GL & Carl… I have to say Carl that back in 1989 you would probably have called them OU’s (older unit’s) or even MILF. How old would your Cougar have to be now to qualify? 🙂
    GL – your symptoms sound like Hay-fever, if you’ve never had it before it can feel a bit weird, all the signs of a cold but no aches and pains, get some anti-histamine it will fix it.
    Very amused by the story of falling down hitting the ground moving – I can relate to that as I often fall down when out socialising, but no matter how clumsy and ungraceful the tumble may be, I never ever spill a drop of my drink. 🙂 I wasnt in the Navy and no-one taught me that trick, it just comes naturally I guess. My last tumble was in Arta bar in Glasgow, at 23.00 every night they play Ride of the Valkeries and throw rose petals down from the balcony. I was so caught up in the moment, looking up at the roses, walking backwards to get a better view, fell arse over tit into the fruit box display on the floor behind me…thankfully I recovered my composure before daughter got her camera out. The French Martini survived intact needless to say.
    I read your comments about music and smile…I’m a festival junkie and have seen loads of different bands, but without a doubt Pink Floyd have to be up there in my all time favourites and sadly I never had a chance to see them live. My latest ticket purchases are for Joe Bonamassa in September (AECC so not a good venue) and Arctic Monkeys at the Hydro in Glasgow in November, new purpose built music arena so should be good. Concerts in Glasgow are always good though, recently saw Meatloaf there, TBH he was not that great but the Weegie crowd are so enthusiastic it was a good night anyway. However right now thanks to you GL I have an earworm – Johnny Cash & June Carter. – I’m going to Jackson – is that the same Jackson you were talking about? Classic song anyway! Realise I am now rambling and it is now getting daylight outside, so really should try and get some sleep. Tomorrow or I should say today will be half gone before i wake up again.

    • My most embarrassing fall, was when I was trying to pick up my paycheck and get home (rent was due) and they called away liberty call. I actually fell up a set of stairs. Caught my shin on the lip edge of the hatch combing and gouged a 6 inch gash in my shin… right next to the bone. I hobbled my way to medical and got someone to call a corpsman. When I looked at my shin I nearly puked. Still have the scar from that one.

      My oddest fall was on an outside ladder. (everything is a ladder in the Navy) I sliped and caught myself on the combing, but grabbed it so hard that I bruised the very tip of my finger as it slammed the deck the combing was attached to.

      As for Jackson.. yeah, that’s the same one. Also the same Jackson featured in Uneasy Rider.

      Personally, I drive for a living. It’s not my actual employment, but getting from point “a” to point “b” is very important in what I do. In the song, the narrator indicates that he departed by way of Arkansas. In actuality, this would have probably been the stupidest route that he could have taken. He could have made the Louisiana State line in under an hour.. if the Interstate System had been operable in the time frame of the songs placement. Even without it, it is still the fastest way out of Mississippi to go to Vicksburg and cross the river. US Highway 80 is a pretty straight shot there. Probably the worst thing he could have done was to try and make it to Arkansas. There are no direct routes there. Heading that way would have put him into the Mississippi Delta. Farm land as far as the eye can see. Had he been chased, he would have been an easy catch.

      LeFleur’s Bluff was a trading outpost set up by Louis LeFleur. It eventually became Jackson. That bluff was along the Pearl River, at the time a navigable waterway. The dome structure (Jackson Dome) which caused the higher elevation there, was the result of geological processes related to Jackson Volcano. The very top of the bluff became the site of the State Capital. Ulysees S Grant used it as a stables after he burnt the town to the ground. (it was called chimneyville for a while after that) Now that building is a Museum. The Last time I went there, they still had a lot of native American artifacts, and they even set up a display of “Thompson’s Tank.” A specialized paddy wagon that was used during social unrest in the 50s and 60’s.

      A bit of side info that virtually no one who goes the Jackson ever finds out. “Town Creek” runs through the middle of town and empties into the Pearl River. For the most part, the creek is completely built over and totally invisible to anyone on the street. When the Pearl River reaches a really high flood stage, this creek dumps water into the lower regions of the city… right up out of the storm drains. It has even been known to push manhole covers off of the storm system access locations. I distinctively remember having to navigate the closed roads in order to make it to an appointment for a polygraph test (work).

  6. The following is dedicated to GeoLurking , Kelda, TGMcCoy and anyone else with coordination problems and inflamed nasal membranes, whether caused by viruses or high pollen counts.
    Mr Clever (Carl)
    Mr Bump (GeoLurking)
    Mr Sneeze (tgmccoy)
    Mr Tickle ( Kilgarrah)
    Miss Dotty (Diana Barnes)

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. No hail in Iceland and No quakes recorded for more than 12 hours. I have always said nothing happening is often as interesting and important as something happening.
    Diana’s law ” if nothing is happening, go make coffee, go shopping, go to sleep. Volcanic activity is proportional to the distance and time spent away from Computer”
    The old version of this law is “A watched Pot never Boils”

  8. Good morning all … one clue left to solve before Carl’s new post appears in a couple of hours!
    No 6 Birthplace of a solitary dragon slayer.
    Hint … he’s not human

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