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Seismic activity detected near North Korean nuclear test site - USGS

Seismic activity detected near North Korean nuclear test site - USGS

"The event has earthquake-like characteristics, however, we can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event", the USGS said in a brief statement.

A shallow 2.9-magnitude quake struck near North Korea's nuclear test site on Friday before dawn just weeks after Pyongyang's biggest detonation.

The 2.9 magnitude temblor was detected about 23 kilometers (14 miles) from Sungibaegam, "in the area of previous North Korean nuclear tests", USGS said.

Kim So-gu, head researcher at the Korea Seismological Institute, said: "The explosion from the September 3 test had such power that the existing tunnels within the underground testing site might have caved in".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides guidance with Ri Hong Sop (2nd L) and Hong Sung Mu (R) on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang September 3, 2017. These have prompted experts and observers to suspect the last test may have destabilized the mountainous location.

"I think the Punggye-ri region is now pretty saturated".




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

These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than seen after any of the North's previous tests, 38 North has said.

The area is considered stable and quakes do not normally occur there.

All of North Korea's nuclear explosions since 2006 caused earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.3 or above.

The China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC) said the event may have been caused by an artificial explosion, but the Executive Secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Lassina Zerbo said the quake was unlikely to be manmade. Since North Korea began testing its nuclear capabilities, experts have debated whether explosions at Punggye-ri could trigger another volcanic eruption.


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