WEB DESK /
There is conflicting reports about earthquake in North Korea. While reports from North Korea say, a 3 point 4 magnitude earthquake have occurred near a nuclear test site where previous quakes have occurred during weapons’ tests.
Chinese seismologists said it was a suspected explosion. But South Korea says that it could be a natural quake not caused by a nuclear test.
The earthquake probably not man-made, the nuclear proliferation watchdog and a South Korean official said, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its last one.
Chinese earthquake officials said the magnitude 3.4 quake was a “suspected explosion” but both the CTBTO, which monitors nuclear tests, and a South Korean meteorological agency official said they believed it was a natural quake.
“A key method is to look at the seismic waves or seismic acoustic waves and the latter can be detected in the case of a man-made earthquake,” said the South Korean official, who asked for anonymity.
“In this case we saw none. So as of now, we are categorising this as a natural earthquake.”
The earthquake, which South Korea put at magnitude 3.0, was detected in Kilju county in North Hamgyong Province, where North Korea’s known Punggyeri nuclear site is located, the official said.
All of North Korea’s previous six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above. The last test on 3 September registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake.
A secondary tremor detected after that test could have been caused by the collapse of a tunnel at the mountainous site, experts said at the time.
Satellite photos of the area after the 3 September quake showed numerous landslides apparently caused by the massive blast, which North Korea said was an advanced hydrogen bomb.
The head of the nuclear test monitoring agency CTBTO said today that analysts were “looking at unusual seismic activity of a much smaller magnitude” than the 3 September test in North Korea.
Russia’s emergency ministry said background radiation in nearby Vladivostok was within the natural range.
The US Geological Survey said it could not conclusively confirm whether the quake, which it measured at magnitude 3.5, was man-made or natural.
North Korea carried out a massive nuclear test on the 3rd of this month which has been widely condemned at the UN. The size of today’s tremor is smaller than that usually detected when North Korea has tested weapons.