Earthquake Detected Near North Korean Nuclear Test Site

Earthquake Detected Near North Korean Nuclear Test Site

Meanwhile, the South Korea Meteorological Administration posted on its official website that "analysis shows it was a natural quake". However, since the September 3 underground nuke test, it has seen two other quakes of magnitude 2.6 and 3.2.

South Korea's weather agency says the four quakes likely occurred because the underground nuclear explosion September 3 weakened or affected the tectonic plate structures in the area.

It was centred very close to North Korea's Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, which previous weapons tests have been detected at through the earthquakes they generate. Late last month, a magnitude 3.4 quake was detected under Mount Mantap- and there have been further small aftershocks since North Korea's sixth nuclear test in early September.

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

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.

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

The explosion from the sixth test was large enough for residents of the Chinese border city of Yanji, 125 miles north of North Korea's nuclear test site, to feel the ground shake beneath their feet.

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. However, the South Korean experts have said that the tremor did not appear to be man-made.

Arms experts say detonating a nuclear-tipped missile over the Pacific Ocean, while seen as the logical final step to prove the success of its weapons programme, would be extremely provocative and carry huge risks. In 2006, North Korea's first detonation triggered a 4.1-magnitude quake.

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