Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Natural disaster recorded near North Korea's nuclear test site

Natural disaster recorded near North Korea's nuclear test site

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the quake at 2.9 magnitude at a depth of 5 km.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) detected a 2.9-magnitude natural disaster in area close to North Korea's nuclear test site on Thursday evening, but is now unable to explain the nature of the seismic event.

Hong Tae-kyung, a professor of earth system science at Yonsei University in Seoul, said: "The reason why Punggye-ri has become North Korea's nuclear testing field is because this area was considered stable and rarely saw tremors in the past".

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) shows the quake was detected just 23 kilometres from Sungjibaegam, a town close to the Punggye-ri nuclear test site and added that it can not confirm whether the earthquake was natural or man-made.

"The event has quake like characteristics, however, we can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or man-made) of the event", it said.

This latest tremor came three weeks after a 3.5-magnitude natural disaster struck near the same area.

When compared to the tremors registered during any of North Korea's previous nuclear tests, the authorities said that the strength of Friday's quake was much lower. Since North Korea began testing its nuclear capabilities, experts have debated whether explosions at Punggye-ri could trigger another volcanic eruption.

A 3.4 magnitude quake last month near the same location sparked fears there could have been another nuclear test.

The epicenter of the seismic event is located approximately 25 km away from Sungjibaegam, a town close to the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, at the depth of five kilometers.

Due to the recent nuclear tests by Pyongyang, tensions have soared up and the US President Trump has been engaged in an escalating war of words with the North's leader Kim Jong-un.

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