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Quake recorded near North Korea's nuclear test site

13 October 2017

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the quake at 2.9 magnitude with a depth of 5km and added it could not conclusively confirm its nature.

Maps showing the epicentre of a 2.9 quake in North Korea, left, along with the location of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, right.

It was the latest in a string of aftershocks following North Korea's sixth nuclear test on Sept 3, which caused a 6.3 magnitude quake, according to the USGS. But South Korea's Meteorological Administration says the quake was natural. "The Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) is the sole organization in the US federal government whose mission is to detect and report technical data from foreign nuclear explosions". On September 3, Pyongyang announced a successful test of a hydrogen bomb.

The North Korean embassy in Ealing London
The North Korean embassy in Ealing London

Such detections from North Korea are alarming, especially in recent months, but not all of them indicate a nuclear test has taken place.

An natural disaster detected in North Korea has sparked fears of a new underground nuclear test.

But a later joint report by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and UC Santa Cruz claimed the quake was likely caused by a collapsing tunnel, the LA Times reported on October 6. In July, North Korea carried out two tests of ballistic missiles, and on August 29 and September 15 it launched two missiles, which flew over Japan's territory.

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Quake recorded near North Korea's nuclear test site