Heaven Lake

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Heaven Lake
Baitou Mountain Tianchi.jpg
North Korea physical map.svg
Red pog.svg
Heaven Lake
Location North Korea and China
Coordinates 42°00′22″N128°03′25″E / 42.006°N 128.057°E / 42.006; 128.057 Coordinates: 42°00′22″N128°03′25″E / 42.006°N 128.057°E / 42.006; 128.057
Type crater lake
Primary inflows precipitation
Basin  countriesNorth Korea and China
Surface area9.82 km2 (3.79 sq mi)
Average depth213 m (699 ft)
Max. depth384 m (1,260 ft)
Water volume2.09 km3 (0.50 cu mi)
Surface elevation2,189.1 m (7,182 ft)
Korean name
Revised Romanization Cheonji
McCune–Reischauer Ch'ŏnji

Heaven Lake (Korean: 천지, Ch'ŏnji or Cheonji; Chinese :天池, Tiānchí; Manchu: Tamun omo or Tamun juce) is a crater lake on the border between China and North Korea. It lies within a caldera atop the volcanic Paektu Mountain, a part of the Baekdudaegan mountain range and the Changbai mountain range. It is located partly in Ryanggang Province, North Korea, at 42°00′22″N128°03′25″E / 42.006°N 128.057°E / 42.006; 128.057 , and partly in Jilin Province, northeastern China. Heaven Lake has been recognized as the highest volcanic lake in the world by the Shanghai Office of the Guinness Book of Records . [1]


Geology and limnology

Map including Heaven Lake (labeled as T'IEN CH'IH Tian Chi ) and surrounding region (1954) Txu-oclc-6612232-nk52-8.jpg
Map including Heaven Lake (labeled as T'IEN CH'IH 天池) and surrounding region (1954)

The caldera which contains Heaven Lake was created by the 946 eruption of Paektu Mountain.

The lake has a surface elevation of 2,189.1 m (7,182 ft). [1] The lake covers an area of 9.82 km2 (3.79 sq mi) with a south-north length of 4.85 km (3.01 mi) and an east-west length of 3.35 km (2.08 mi). The average depth of the lake is 213 m (699 ft) and a maximum depth of 384 m (1,260 ft). From mid-October to mid-June, it is typically covered with ice.


Names and legends

In ancient Chinese literature, Tianchi also refers to Nanming (南冥 sometimes translated as "southern sea").

North Korean propaganda claims that Kim Jong-il was born near the lake on the mountain. In accordance with this, North Korean news agencies reported that on his death, the ice on the lake cracked "so loud, it seemed to shake the heavens and the Earth". [2]

Notable visits

As part of an Inter-Korean summit, heads of states Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in visited Mount Paektu and Heaven Lake on 20 September 2018. Moon filled a bottle with water from the lake to take back to South Korea. The visit to the lake was a symbolic gesture, as both the lake and the mountain have considerable cultural significance to the Korean people. [3] [4] Mount Paektu is mentioned in the anthems of both North and South Korea, and is considered to be the spiritual home of the Koreans. [5]

Panorama Himmelssee 3800px.jpg
Overhead panorama of Heaven Lake.

Lake Tianchi Monster

Map including Heaven Lake (labeled as T'ien Ch'ih) and surrounding region (1967) Txu-oclc-6654394-nk-52-4th-ed.jpg
Map including Heaven Lake (labeled as T'ien Ch'ih) and surrounding region (1967)

Heaven Lake is also alleged to be home to the Lake Tianchi Monster. [6]

On September 6, 2007, Zhuo Yongsheng (director of a TV station's news center run by the administration office of the nature reserve at Mount Changbaishan, Jilin) shot a 20-minute video of six seal-like, finned "Lake Tianchi Monsters", near the North Korean border. He sent pictures of the Loch Ness Monster-type creatures to Xinhua's Jilin provincial bureau. One of them showed the creatures swimming in three pairs, in parallel. Another showed them together, leaving ripples on the volcanic lake. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

A caldera is a large cauldron-like hollow that forms shortly after the emptying of a magma chamber in a volcanic eruption. When large volumes of magma are erupted over a short time, structural support for the rock above the magma chamber is lost. The ground surface then collapses downward into the emptied or partially emptied magma chamber, leaving a massive depression at the surface. Although sometimes described as a crater, the feature is actually a type of sinkhole, as it is formed through subsidence and collapse rather than an explosion or impact. Only seven caldera-forming collapses are known to have occurred since 1900, most recently at Bárðarbunga volcano, Iceland in 2014.

Songhua River River in China and North Korea

The Songhua River is one of the primary rivers of China, and the longest tributary of the Amur. It flows about 1,434 kilometres (891 mi) from the Changbai Mountains on the China–North Korea border through China's northeastern Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces.

Changbai Mountains Mountain range in China/North Korea

The Changbai Mountains are a major mountain range in Northeast Asia that extends from the Northeast Chinese provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning, across the border between China and North Korea, to the North Korean provinces of Ryanggang and Chagang. They are also referred to as the Šanggiyan Mountains in Manchu. Most peaks exceed 2,000 meters in height.

Paektu Mountain Mountain on the China–North Korea border

Paektu Mountain, also known as Baekdu Mountain and in China as Changbai Mountain, is an active stratovolcano on the Chinese–North Korean border. At 2,744 m (9,003 ft), it is the highest mountain of the Baekdudaegan and Changbai ranges. Koreans assign a mythical quality to the volcano and its caldera lake, considering it to be their country's spiritual home. It is the highest mountain in Korea and Northeast China.

Lake Tianchi Monster is the name given to what is said to be a lake monster that lives in Heaven Lake located in the peak of Baekdu Mountain within the Baekdudaegan and Changbai mountain ranges encompassing Jilin Province of China and Ryanggang Province of North Korea. According to Beijing Youth Daily, an estimated 20 monsters were reported, however "scientists are skeptical that any large creature would be able to survive in the lake given its recent history of volcanic activity", and skeptics say "it's all in the imagination, or just a floating volcanic rock".

Hyesan Municipal City in Ryanggang

Hyesan is a city in the northern part of Ryanggang province of North Korea. It is a hub of river transportation as well as a product distribution centre. It is also the administrative centre of Ryanggang Province. As of 2008, the population of the city is 192,680.

Ryanggang Province Province of North Korea

Ryanggang Province is a province in North Korea. The province is bordered by China (Jilin) on the north, North Hamgyong on the east, South Hamgyong on the south, and Chagang on the west. Ryanggang was formed in 1954, when it was separated from South Hamgyŏng. The provincial capital is Hyesan. In South Korean usage, "Ryanggang" is spelled and pronounced as "Yanggang"

Plinian eruption

Plinian eruptions or Vesuvian eruptions are volcanic eruptions marked by their similarity to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which destroyed the ancient Roman cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The eruption was described in a letter written by Pliny the Younger, after the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder.

Baishan Prefecture-level city in Jilin, Peoples Republic of China

Baishan is a prefecture-level city in southeastern Jilin province, in the Dongbei (northeastern) part of China. "白山" literally means "White Mountain", and is named after Changbai Mountain. Baishan borders Yanbian to the east, Tonghua to the southwest, Jilin City to the north, and North Korea to the south.

Geography of Korea Geographical features of the Korean peninsula

Korea comprises the Korean Peninsula and 3,960 nearby islands. The peninsula is located in Northeast Asia, between China and Japan. To the northwest, the Amnok River separates Korea from China and to the northeast, the Duman River separates Korea from China and Russia. The Yellow Sea lies to the west, the East China Sea and Korea Strait to the south, and the Sea of Japan to the east. Notable islands include Jeju Island (Jejudo), Ulleung Island (Ulleungdo), and the Liancourt Rocks.

Tianchi (天池) may refer to several locations in China:

Samjiyon Municipal City in Ryanggang, North Korea

Samjiyŏn is a city in Ryanggang Province, North Korea. It takes its name from three lakes in the city, which are collectively known as the Samjiyŏn. Samjiyŏn is situated near Mount Paektu, and tour groups fly to the city's airport to see the mountain, which holds significance in North Korean mythology.

Changbai may refer to:

Changbai Waterfall

Changbai Waterfall is a 68 m (223 ft) waterfall in China in Changbai Mountain in the Changbai Mountain Range. It is most dramatic during the summer snow-melt season from the Lake Tianchi or "Heaven Lake" 天池 Tiānchí basin.

The Hamgyong Mountains, officially known as the Gangbaekjeonggan and formerly known as the Pepi Shan or Tumen Mountains, is a North Korean mountain range. It lies in the northeast quarter of the country, extending for about 350 kilometers (220 mi) southwest and northeast parallel to the Sea of Japan. Its northern terminus is in the Tumen Valley. To its west are the Kaema Highlands.

China–North Korea border International border

The China–North Korea border is the international border separating the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It runs for 1,352 km (840 mi) from the estuary of the Yalu River in the Korea Bay in the west to the tripoint with Russia in the east.

946 eruption of Paektu Mountain

The 946 eruption of Paektu Mountain in Korea and China, also known as the Millennium Eruption or Tianchi eruption, was one of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in recorded history and is classified as a VEI 7 event. The eruption resulted in a brief period of significant climate change in Manchuria. The year of the eruption has not been precisely determined, but a possible year is A.D. 946.

Longgang is a volcanic field in Jilin Province, China. It is also known as Chingyu, Longwan Group or Lung-wan Group. This volcanic field contains over 164 individual centres in the form of crater lakes, maars and volcanic cones and covers a surface area of 1,700 square kilometres (660 sq mi). The field is forested and mostly undisturbed by human activities.

The September 2018 inter-Korean summit was the third and final inter-Korean summit in the 2018-19 Korean peace process.

Changbai Mountains mixed forests

The Changbai Mountains mixed forests ecoregion covers the Changbai Mountains and surrounding foothills in China and North Korea. The region features extensive and naturally preserved deciduous and conifer forests. The region exhibits high biodiversity due to its relative isolation, temperate climate with high rainfall, and centrality to central Chinese, Siberian, and European floral communities. In 1979, a significant portion of the ecoregion was designated the Changbaishan Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.


  1. 1 2 "Mount Changbai Sets Two Guinness Records". People's Daily. 2000-08-11.
  2. Kim Jong-il death: 'Nature mourns' N Korea leader
  3. Shin, Hyonhee. "Fulfilling a dream, South Korea's Moon visits sacred North Korean..." U.K. Retrieved 2018-09-22.
  4. Haas, Benjamin (2018-09-20). "'Dream come true' for Moon as Korean leaders make mountain pilgrimage". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-22.
  5. Sang-Hun, Choe (2016-09-26). "For South Koreans, a Long Detour to Their Holy Mountain". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  6. "Chinese monster rivals Nessie". BBC News Newsround. 2003-07-31.
  7. "'Tianchi monster' caught on film". people.com.cn