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Magma chamber located 8 km beneath Taipei's Yangmingshan

Large eruption on south slope of Datun volcanoes could affect Taipei's Shilin and Beitou districts

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Yangmingshan National Park. (np.cpami.gov.tw photo)

Yangmingshan National Park. (np.cpami.gov.tw photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A team of Academia Sinica scientists has discovered that a magma chamber is only 8 kilometers underneath the Datun volcano group (大屯火山群).

The group of volcanoes is about 15 km north of Taipei City. In 2017, scientists from Academia Sinica's Institute of Earth Sciences announced for the first time that a magma chamber was approximately 20 km beneath the Wanli and Jingshan districts of New Taipei.

On April 9, scientists from the institute published a paper in the journal Nature in which they stated that using the Formosa Array (FMarray) seismic network, they had confirmed that the top of the magma reservoir is actually only 8 km beneath the surface, 12 km wide, and shaped like a milk bottle, reported SET News.

Lin Cheng-horng (林正洪), deputy director of Academia Sinica's Institute of Earth Sciences, was cited by CNA as saying that based on a 3D representation of the data collected from FMarray, the magma reservoir is below Dayoukeng (大油坑) and Huangzuishan (磺嘴山). He said it covers an area of about 50 km², the equivalent of Taipei's Beitou District.

He stressed that the volcano is currently stable but that if it were to erupt, it would be preceded by multiple earthquakes very close together and ranging in magnitude from 1.0 to 3.0 on the Richter Scale. He said that there are currently about 200 small earthquakes a month around the group, but prior to the recent volcanic eruption in Iceland, there were about 40,000 to 50,000 earthquakes recorded each month.

If an eruption occurs, Lin said the extent of the impact will depend on its scale and location. A small eruption would probably only affect the Yangmingshan area, he predicted.

He added that if the eruption were to occur on the north slope, it would follow Yangjin Road all the way to the Jinshan and Wanli districts of New Taipei City. On the other hand, if a large eruption breaks out on the south slope, it could directly affect Taipei's Shilin and Beitou districts, according to Lin.


Updated : 2021-05-14 12:00 GMT+08:00