Heaven Lake

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Heaven Lake
Baitou Mountain Tianchi.jpg
Location North Korea / China
Coordinates 42°00′22″N 128°03′25″E / 42.006°N 128.057°E / 42.006; 128.057Coordinates: 42°00′22″N 128°03′25″E / 42.006°N 128.057°E / 42.006; 128.057
Type crater lake
Primary inflows precipitation
Basin countries North Korea, China
Surface area 9.82 km2 (3.79 sq mi)
Average depth 213 m (699 ft)
Max. depth 384 m (1,260 ft)
Water volume 2.09 km3 (0.50 cu mi)
Surface elevation 2,189.1 m (7,182 ft)
Korean name
Hangul 천지
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″N 128°03′25″E / 42.006°N 128.057°E / 42.006; 128.057, and partly in Jilin Province, northeastern China.

Geology and limnology[edit]

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 east-west length of 3.35 km (2.08 mi). The average depth of the lake is 213 m (699 ft) and maximum depth of 384 m (1,260 ft). From mid-October to mid-June, it is typically covered with ice.

Names and legends[edit]

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

Some other well-known lakes named Tianchi include those in Xinjiang and Taiwan.

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]

Overhead panorama of Heaven Lake.

Lake Tianchi Monster[edit]

Heaven Lake is also alleged to be home to the Lake Tianchi Monster.[3]

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 border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). 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.[4]

See also[edit]