Earthquake In North Korea Sets Off Alarm And Speculation

Marco Green
September 24, 2017

Atmospheric tests of nuclear-armed missiles, as NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reported, are risky for a host for reasons, including the potential for sending nuclear fallout in unpredictable patterns and, if a test were to be administered by North Korea, in the direction of the U.S.

It said it believed the quake was natural because the specific soundwaves generated by artificial earthquakes were not detected, Reuters news agency reports.

"We use several methods to tell whether earthquakes are natural or manmade", said the official, who asked for anonymity.

Analysts examining satellite images of North Korea's mountainous test site after the latest nuclear test said they spotted landslides and surface disturbances that were more numerous and widespread than what was seen from any of the five previous tests.

North Korea's Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, now in NY for a United Nations meeting, warned on Thursday that Kim could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale over the Pacific.

"In this case we saw none".

All of North Korea's previous six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above.

The latest quake was recorded at a depth of 0km in North Hamgyong province, home to the Punggye-ri nuclear site, South Korea's meteorological agency says.

Nuclear proliferation watchdog CTBTO said on Saturday it had detected two seismic events in North Korea on Saturday but they were probably not deliberate explosions in the isolated country. "So as of now we are categorising this as a natural quake". The president's office did add that "analysis is still ongoing so we will keep you posted". The last test registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake.

A second tremor soon after that test was possibly caused by a "cave-in", CENC said at the time.

Beijing has repeatedly expressed concern about the rise of tensions over North Korea and, while it too has signed up for the increasingly tough United Nations sanctions, it has also urged a return to talks and for all parties to exercise restraint.

The Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website that China would ban exports of refined petroleum products from October 1, and of condensates and liquefied natural gas immediately.

North Korea said its recent nuclear test was a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The quake came after days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's regime, as worldwide alarm mounts over Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions.

North Korea has been maintaining a torrid pace in nuclear and weapons tests as it accelerates its pursuit of nuclear weapons that could viably target the United States and its allies in Asia.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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