Earthquake Detected Near North Korean Nuclear Test Site
Oct 14, 2017, 00:36
"The event has earthquake-like characteristics, however, we can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event", said a statement released by the US Geological Survey.
The tremor was the latest in a series of at least three shocks to be observed since Pyongyang's nuclear test on September 3, which caused a 6.3 magnitude quake.
Such detections from North Korea are alarming, especially in recent months, but not all of them indicate a nuclear test has taken place.
And the region has since been hit by a series of landslide and tremors in the wake of the incident.
China's imports from North Korea fell for a seventh straight month in September, dropping 37.9% year-on-year as Beijing implemented the latest United Nations trade sanctions aimed at persuading Pyongyang to rein in its nuclear and missile programmes.
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. If it goes ahead with another test in this area, it could risk radioactive pollution".
South Korea's weather agency detected a 2.7 magnitude natural disaster near the Punggye-ri test site, Reuters reported.
The UN stepped up sanctions after Pyongyang fired missiles over Japan and tested its sixth and most powerful nuclear bomb last month.
The last time a weapon was detonated at the site, a magnitude-6.3 quake was detected. 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. These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than seen after any of the North's previous tests.
The area is considered stable and quakes do not normally occur there.
Due to higher precipitation levels in the region and melting ice , the surface is expected to decouple from deeper water layers. The polynya was observed in the same region in the 1970's, then disappeared and appeared on a few weeks back a year ago .
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