Photo Slideshow

Vigil at North Korea's Mount Doom

A thousand years ago, Changbai-Paektu volcano exploded, blanketing thousands of square kilometers of Eastern Asia in ash and pumice in what was one of the largest eruptions of the past few millennia. Today, located on what is now the border of North Korea and China, the volcano is showing signs of life once again. In September 2011, two British volcanologists joined North Korean scientists on a expedition to the volcano's crater to test monitoring equipment and foster international collaboration. Accompanying the volcanologists was Science's Richard Stone, who provides a first-hand account of the trip in a News Focus article and a full-length photo slide show in the 4 November issue.

Clive Oppenheimer (<em>left</em>), James Hammond (<em>right</em>), and I arrived at Pyongyang airport on 8 September. This was the first trip for Clive and James to North Korea, and my second. I had visited in 2004 to report on North Korea's scientific community.Just before lunch we reached the rim of Paektu's east flank, then hiked down a *long* staircase to a research station beside the caldera lake. The descent took us half an hour.During the millennium eruption, Paektu's east flank was buried in tephra. James is examining a chunk of pumice dislodged from a 3-meter-thick layer.Don't believe this barren terrain was forested? Here's a tree buried under pumice from the millennium eruption. The land is littered with scores of arboreal victims of the blast....
CREDIT: R. STONE/SCIENCE

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Cover of Science
Read the accompanying News Focus in the 4 November issue of Science.
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