Heaven Lake

Heaven Lake
Heaven Lake
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
Lake 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)
Surface elevation 2,189.1 m (7,182 ft)
Korean name
Hangul 천지
Revised Romanization Cheonji
McCune–Reischauer Ch'ŏnji

Heaven Lake (천지 (Ch'ŏnji or Cheonji) in Korean; 天池 (Tiānchí) in Chinese) is a crater lake on the border between China and North Korea. It lies within a caldera atop the volcanic Baekdu 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

The caldera which contains Heaven Lake was created by a major eruption in 969 CE (± 20 years).[1]

The lake has a surface elevation of 2,189.1 m (7,182 ft). 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 kilometres (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

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.

In North Korean legend, Kim Jong-il is claimed to have been born near the lake on the mountain.

Lake Tianchi Monster

Many believe that the lake is home to the Lake Tianchi Monster.[2] It is unknown if the monster and legendary Kun are related.

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 6 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-type creatures to Xinhua's Jilin provincial bureau. One of them showed the creatures swimming in 3 pairs, in parallel. Another showed them together, leaving ripples on the volcanic lake.[3]

See also


  1. ^ Horn, Susanne; Schmincke, Hans-Ulrich (2000). "Volatile emission during the eruption of Baitoushan Volcano (China/North Korea) ca. 969 AD". Bulletin of Volcanology 61 (8): 537–555. doi:10.1007/s004450050004. 
  2. ^ "Chinese monster rivals Nessie". BBC News Newsround. 2003-07-31. http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/animals/newsid_3114000/3114507.stm. 
  3. ^ English.people.com, 'Tianchi monster' caught on film

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