TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan issued a volcano warning for some residents of Taipei’s Beitou District Tuesday morning (Dec. 29) in the country's first drill to improve public awareness of the risk of an eruption.
Those living in Beitou's Hutian Borough (湖田里) received a three-minute SMS alert on their mobile phones between 10 and 10:30 a.m. The message indicated that it was a drill dispatched by the Central Weather Bureau (CWB).
The warning system will eventually cover the Datun volcano group (大屯火山群) in the north and Turtle Island (龜山島, Guishan Island) off the northeast coast. While no eruption events have been recorded in recent centuries, scientists caution that a future incident cannot be ruled out.
Research carried out by Taiwan's national academy Academia Sinica has over the years indicated geothermal activity and a possible magma chamber beneath the Datun volcano group, part of which is located in Yanmingshan National Park.
After identifying the Datun system and Turtle Island as live volcanoes, the Academia Sinica discovered a volcanic conduit measuring 2 kilometers deep and 500 meters wide around Mount Datun's Dayoukeng (大油坑) area and called for closer observation, according to CNA.
The CWB has designed a three-tier volcano alert mechanism comprising green, yellow, and red lights. The city governments of Taipei, New Taipei, Keelung, and Yilan have been instructed to set out an emergency plan to prepare for a hypothetical eruption.
Monitoring stations have been set up at the volcanoes by the CWB and the Ministry of Science and Technology to keep watch on tectonic activity as well as changes in volcanic gases and land surface temperatures. The data will serve as a reference for the CWB alerts.
CWB issues trial volcano alert in Taipei's Beitou District. (CWB image)