Taipei, July 14 (CNA) Seismologists in Taiwan have found a volcanic conduit under Yangmingshan National Park, which they said could become a vent if any of the volcanoes in the north of the country erupted.
The conduit was identified based on a clustering of earthquakes in the area, which are believed to be caused when pressurized gas forces its way up through crevices in underground rock formations, said Lin Cheng-horng (林正洪), head of the seismology team that made the discovery.
Located near a steam vent in the Dayoukeng area in Yangmingshan National Park, the conduit is 2 kilometers deep and 500 meters wide, said Lin, an Academia Sinica researcher who led the team of seismologists at the Taiwan Volcano Observatory (TVO) in Taipei.
If any of the volcanoes in the Tatun group of domes in northern Taiwan should erupt, lava would most likely spew from the newly discovered conduit, which might not be the only one in the area, Lin said.
At Dayoukeng, seismologists also detected a "heartbeat-like" phenomenon of small earthquakes occurring at intervals of around 18 minutes, he said. While there is no immediate cause for alarm, the area should be kept under observation by the Central Weather Bureau (CWB), which is expected to launch a volcano warning system by year end, he said.
Last year, Lin and his TVO team found that the Tatun volcano group in northern Taiwan and the volcanic island of Guishan off Yilan County were active volcanoes, meaning that they had erupted in the past 10,000 years and have magma reservoirs.
The most recent findings of the team were published in the peer-reviewed online journal Scientific Reports in April.