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Earthquake hits area near to North Korea’s nuclear test site

North Korea earthquake hits near nuclear test site THE AUSTRALIAN, 13 Oct 17 A series of tremors and landslides near North Korea’s nuclear test base probably mean the country’s sixth and largest blast has destabilised the region, and the Punggye-ri nuclear site may not be used for much longer to test nuclear weapons, experts say.

A small quake was detected early today near the North’s nuclear test site, South Korea’s weather agency said, but unlike quakes associated with nuclear tests, it did not appear to be man-made.

The tremor was the latest in a string of at least three shocks to be observed since Pyongyang’s September 3 nuclear test, which caused a 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

Today’s quake was a magnitude 2.7 with a depth of 3km in North Hamgyong Province in North Korea, the Korea Meteorological Administration said. The United States Geological Survey measured the quake at 2.9 magnitude at a depth of 5km.

“This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean nuclear tests. The event has earthquake-like characteristics, however, we cannot conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event,” the US agency said.

But the Korea Meteorological Administration in the South said on its website that “analysis shows it was a natural quake”. “It is believed to have caused no damage,” it added.

The series of quakes has prompted experts and observers to suspect the last test – which the North claimed to be of a hydrogen bomb – may have damaged the mountainous location in the northwest tip of the country, where all of North Korea’s six nuclear tests were conducted.

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

“I think the Punggye-ri region is now pretty saturated. If it goes ahead with another test in this area, it could risk radioactive pollution.”

According to 38 North, a Washington-based project that monitors North Korea, numerous landslides throughout the nuclear test site have been detected via satellite images after the sixth test. These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than seen after any of the North’s previous tests, 38 North said.

The explosion from the sixth test was large enough for residents of the Chinese border city of Yanji, 200km north of North Korea’s nuclear test site, to feel the ground shake beneath their feet.

“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,” said Hong Tae-kyung, a professor of earth system science at Yonsei University in Seoul.

“The recent small quakes suggest that the test might have triggered crust deformation.” South Korea’s spy agency said recently the North was readying possibly two more tunnels following its latest test, according to ruling Democratic Party members who had been briefed on the issue…..http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/north-korea-earthquake-hits-near-nuclear-test-site/news-story/be93e835ed073f95743d480f98c772db

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October 14, 2017 - Posted by | incidents, North Korea

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