Thursday, 19 October, 2017

Small Quake Rattles North Korea Nuclear Testing Grounds, Not Manmade: South Korea

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Melinda Barton | 13 October, 2017, 11:07

The United States Geological Survey reports a preliminary magnitude 2.7 quake struck near Livermore, California on Thursday.

We start in North Korea where a magnitude 2.9 natural disaster registered shortly after midnight, striking near the regime's nuclear test site. These have prompted experts and observers to suspect the last test may have destabilized the mountainous location. In September, it detonated a hydrogen bomb which caused a 6.3 magnitude quake in the northeast of the country where the Punggye-ri test site is located.

There are no nearby tectonic plate faultline boundaries to the test site.

It was the latest in a string of aftershocks following North Korea's sixth nuclear test on September 3, which caused a 6.3 magnitude natural disaster, according to the USGS.

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

It has conducted several ballistic missile tests, as well as publicly stating it is working on a nuclear-capable ICBM.

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.

Hong Tae-kyung, a professor of earth system science at Yonsei University in Seoul, said: "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". However, the South Korean experts have said that the tremor did not appear to be man-made. This second tunnel may have caved in after the sixth test, the intelligence officials said.

A stronger 6.3-magnitude quake was triggered by a test on September 3 and it was felt across the border in China and sparked global condemnation.