Taiwan to put in place volcano alert system

Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, Yilan lie within range of volcanic events

Qixingshan (七星山), the highest peak of the Tatun volcanoes (Wikimedia Commons photo)

Qixingshan (七星山), the highest peak of the Tatun volcanoes (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is set to implement a volcano warning system by the end of this year that covers the Tatun volcanoes (大屯火山群) in the north and Turtle Island (龜山島, Guishan Island) off the northeast coast.

The mechanism involves three alert levels and their accompanying lights. Green (grade zero) suggests normal activity, yellow (grade 1) indicates a volcano in the restive state, and red (grade 2) means a volcanic eruption is expected or already occurring, according to the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).

The Tatun volcano group, in Taipei City, and the volcanic island of Turtle Island, under the jurisdiction of Yilan County, are the focus of the monitoring system.

While there has been no eruption incident recorded over the past centuries in Taiwan, scientists believe the possibility of an eruption of the Tatun Volcanoes cannot be ruled out, wrote CNA. Observations of the Tatun volcano group, part of which sits in Yangmingshan National Park, also point to geothermal activity and the possible existence of a magma chamber lying beneath, which could be about the size of a quarter of Taipei, according to an Academia Sinica study last year.

The National Fire Agency and the governments of Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, and Yilan — areas likely to be affected by the volcanoes — will be required to draft their own emergency response plans, including evacuation arrangements, in the event of a volcanic eruption.

The issuance of volcano alerts will hinge upon data compiled by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Central Weather Bureau, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs' Central Geological Survey. Factors such as tectonic plate and ground surface movements, fumarolic activity, and groundwater temperature will be taken into account for a forecast of an imminent eruption.

Updated : 2020-12-04 05:13 GMT+08:00