Quake in North Korea raises suspicions of weapons test

14 October, 2017, 00:37 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Quake in North Korea raises suspicions of weapons test

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the quake with at 2.9 magnitude at a depth of 5 km. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake was detected some 23 kilometers north-east of the Punggye-ri Test Site, but it has yet to confirm whether it was a natural or a man-made tremor. There is also a chance the nuclear tests could trigger a volcanic eruption at Mt. Paektu, which is a mountain about 60 miles away from the Punggye-ri region, CBS reported.

The series of quakes have prompted experts and observers to suspect the latest tests, which North Korea claimed to be a hydrogen bomb, allowing destruction at the mountainous site at the northwestern tip of the country, where all six North Korean nuclear tests were conducted.

Experts from South Korea's Meteorological Administration told CBS News the September 3 test possibly weakened the tectonic plate structures in the area, most likely causing the subsequent quakes. The administration added: "It is believed to have caused no damage".

And now the latest natural disaster to hit the region suggesting the detonations have dramatically destabilised the area.

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China says it has implemented successive rounds of sanctions agreed by the UN Security Council meant to pressure Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear and missile programme. The strength of Friday's quake was much lower than the tremors registered during any of North Korea's previous nuclear tests, including its first detonation in 2006, which triggered a 4.1-magnitude quake.

The sanctions, which could cut off one-third of North Korea's total annual exports of US$3 billion, took effect in September, but China enforced the new measures from Aug 15.

In September, Trump used his maiden speech to the UN to threaten to "destroy" the nuclear-armed nation if Kim did not back down, referring to him as "Rocket Man".

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