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North Korea: Tremor detected near weapon test site

23 September 2017 News


A magnitude 3.4 earthquake has been detected in North Korea.

The earthquake occurred about 50km (31 miles) from a nuclear test site, monitors say. Previous quakes were caused by weapon tests.

Chinese seismologists initially said it was a “suspected explosion” but South Korea said it was likely a natural quake not caused by a nuclear test.

The US Geological Survey (USGS), meanwhile, said it could not yet make a judgment as to the cause.

North Korea carried out a massive nuclear test on 3 September which was widely condemned at the UN.

The size of Saturday’s tremor is smaller than the earthquakes registered as a result of all of North Korea’s six nuclear tests.

After the last test, which North Korea said was a hydrogen bomb, initial reports from the USGS put the tremor at magnitude 5.6 with a depth of 10km but this was later upgraded to magnitude 6.3 at 0km.

The latest quake was recorded at a depth of 0km in North Hamgyong province, home to the Punggye-ri nuclear site, South Korea’s meteorological agency says.

The USGS also said it occurred in the nuclear test area but said its seismologists assessed it as having a depth of 5km.

“We cannot conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event,” it said.

While the cause remains unknown, alternative explanations suggested by North Korea analysts include tunnel collapses at the testing site possibly connected to the 3 September test.


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