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Study determines Tatun Volcano and Guishan Island are active volcanoes, Taiwan

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A long-term study carried out by Academia Sinica's Institute of Earth Sciences research team determined that Tatun group, north of Taipei City, and Guishan Island are active volcanoes.

Assisted by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the team set up the Taiwan Volcano Observatory at Tatum in 2011. They installed various real-time volcanic monitoring systems to carry out long-term monitoring of the Tatun volcano group and submarine volcanoes off the coast of Guishan Island.

Researchers announced May 29 that the volcano has a magma chamber underneath and that it had erupted within the past 10 000 years, thereby classifying it as an active volcano.

Lin Zhenghong, the lead researcher, said their research fully confirms that there is a magma reservoir inside the northern crust of Taiwan, covering about 1/4 of the area of Taipei City.

Their network detects about 150 earthquakes under Datun mountain (Tatum), sometimes 70 – 80 per day, lasting 1 to 2 days.

Xie Dabin, the deputy head of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said that the Tatun volcano is very close to the Greater Taipei metropolitan area. The highest peak, Qixing Mountain, is less than 15 km (9.3 miles) away from the Taipei 101 building.

"If one day the volcano erupts, the accompanying earthquake and volcanic ash would affect the Greater Taipei area."

Geological summary

The Tatun (Datun) group consists predominately of a series of andesitic lava domes in the northernmost part of Taiwan. About 20 volcanoes, the southernmost of which is only 15 km N of the capital city of Taipei, are included in the Tatun group, which was constructed along E-W and NE-SW trending ridges.

The highest and youngest volcano is the Cising (Chisingshan) lava dome. Several magmatic eruptions took place in the group about 23 000 to 13 000 years ago, and a phreatic eruption associated with collapse of the lava dome, possibly closely following lava effusion, took place about 6 000 years ago.

 

Hot springs, fumaroles, and solfataras are found over wide areas along a zone parallel to the SW-NE-trending Chinshan fault and extending to the NE coast of Taiwan, and extensive geothermal exploration has occurred at the Daiton geothermal area. (GVP)

Featured image credit: Google, TW

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