Tue, Nov 03, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Taipei’s Datunshan still ‘active’: researchers

By Vincent Y. chao  /  STAFF REPORTER

A volcano in Taipei erupted much more recently than was formerly believed, researchers at the Academia Sinica have found.

The report said that Datunshan (大屯山), on the northern tip of Taipei City, could devastate the metropolis if it were to erupt.

The researchers concluded that the last eruption of Datunshan occurred about 5,000 years ago, rather than the 200,000 years previously believed.

However, the risk for the Taipei region’s 6 million inhabitants is minimal as the volcano could become extinct in the near future, the study said.

Chiang Chung-jung (江崇榮), deputy director of the Central Geological Society, said that although the volcano is active, it is considered unlikely to erupt.

The group looked at fissures and took measurements and samples from the surface of Datunshan.

However, several professors from National Taiwan University (NTU) recommended that the government take the safe route and set up volcanic monitoring stations to monitor any possible tremors.

According to reports from TTV news, NTU professors said that if Datunshan erupts, its impact would be even worse than the devastating 921 Earthquake.

The Central Weather Bureau rejected speculation that the mountain has long been under close observation. It added that any tremors that may have been detected were possibly because of cooling magma.

Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) reassured residents yesterday that the municipal government was taking the issue seriously and would continue monitoring the mountain for any possible activity.

An active volcano is defined as one that has erupted within the past 10,000 years, according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program.

Additional reporting by agencies

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