The Changbai Mountains are a mountain range on the border between China and North Korea. In Russia this range is called "Vostochno-Manchzhurskie gory" ("East Manchurian mountain range") and considered as a part of more long Manchu-Korean mountain range ("Manchzuro-Koreiskie gory"), which separates China from Korea and Russian Primorsky Krai. The range extends from the Northeast Chinese provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning to the North Korean provinces of Ryanggang and Chagang. Most peaks exceed 2,000 metres in height, with the highest mountain being Changbai Mountain.
Changbai Baekdu Mountain
Of the range, the highest mountain is Baekdu, Paektu, or Changbai Mountain (2,745 m), an active volcano on the border between North Korea and China. It is also the highest mountain on the Korean Peninsula and in northeastern China. A large crater lake, called Heaven Lake, is in the caldera atop the mountain. Baekdu Mountain is the source of the Songhua, Tumen (Tuman) and Yalu (Amnok) rivers. Many tributaries of the Liao He also originate from the Changbai Mountains.
Changbaishan Nature Reserve
The rugged terrain of the Changbai Mountains provides refuge for many rare animals, including Amur leopards, bears, and Siberian tigers. A large portion of the Jilin Province side is protected as the Changbai Nature Reserve. Covering an area of more than 2,100 square kilometres, Changbaishan Nature Reserve, established in 1960, was involved in the UNESCO's "Man and Biosphere" program in 1980 and becomes part of the world's biosphere reserves. Approved by the State Council in 1986, it becomes a State-level reserve.
Flora and fauna: The vegetation of the mountain slopes is divided into several different zones. At the top, above 2000 metres, tundra predominates. From 1700 to 2000 metres, vegetation is dominated by mountain birch and larch. Below this zone, and down to 1100 metres, the dominant trees are spruce, fir, and Korean pine. From 600 to 1100 metres, the landscape is dominated by mixed forest, consisting of Amur linden, Korean pine, maple, and elm. Further down, a temperate hardwood forest is found, dominated by second-growth poplar and birch.
Heaven Lake Sightseeing
Foreign visitors, mostly South Koreans, usually climb the mountain from the Chinese side, although Baekdu Mountain is a common tourist destination for foreign tourists in North Korea. The Chinese touristic site, Changbaishan Nature Reserve, is classified as a AAAAA scenic area by the China National Tourism Administration. Heaven Lake is its top sight of the reserve. Heaven Lake sits at a caldera atop the volcanic Baekdu Mountain. It is a crater lake on the border between China and North Korea. It is located partly in Ryanggang Province, North Korea, and partly in Jilin Province, northeastern China.
The caldera which contains Heaven Lake was created by a major eruption in 969 AD. 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.
Geography & Climate
The Changbai Mountains has a temperate continental climate, characterized by long and cold winter, cool, short and changeable summer, windy spring and autumn foggy, with an annual average temperature at -7 °C to 3 °C. Under the impact of vertical changes of mountainous terrain, there are four landscape belts from the foot to the top of the mountain, from Temperate Zone to Frigid Zone, which is rare in the world.
The climate in the mountains is very cold during winter, with absolute minima on the highest peaks in January as low as -45°C (-49°F), but reaching 17°C (62°F) in July. Precipitation is low in the winter but in the higher parts very high in the summer, with annual averages reaching as high as 1,150 mm (45 inches) and over 300 mm (12 inches) in July alone. The dry winters mean there are no glaciers even on the highest and wettest peaks, but permafrost extends down to 1,800 metres (5,900 feet) and is continuous on the highest peaks.
History & Culture
In China, the mountain was first recorded in the Chinese classic text Shan Hai Jing with the name Buxian Shan (the Mountain with God). It is also called Shanshan Daling in the Canonical Book of the Eastern Han Dynasty. In the Second Canonical Book of the Tang Dynasty, it was called Taibai Shan (the Grand Old White Mountain). The current Chinese name Changbai Shan (perpetually white mountain) was first used in the Liao Dynasty (907–1125) and then the Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1115–1234).
The Jurchen Jin Dynasty (1115–1234) bestowed the title "the King Who Makes the Nation Prosperous and Answers with Miracles" (Xingguo Lingying Wang) on the mountain god in 1172 and it was promoted to "the Emperor Who Cleared the Sky with Tremendous Sagehood" (Kaitian Hongsheng Emperor) in 1193.
The range represents the mythical birthplace of Bukuri Yongson, ancestor of Nurhaci and the Aisin Gioro Imperial family, who were the founders of the Manchu state and the Chinese Qing Dynasty. The name literally means "Perpetually White Mountain Region" in Mandarin Chinese. The Baekdu Mountain has been worshipped by the surrounding peoples throughout history. Both the Koreans and Manchus consider it the place of their ancestral origin.
The range plays an important economic role. It is known for a variety of ginseng that grows there. In addition, the heavily-forested slopes are an important area for logging. In recent years, tourism has also become an increasingly important source of revenue on the Chinese side.
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