Tremor Detected Near North Korean Nuclear Test Site

BLOOMBERG – JANET ONG, SAM KIM 

Photo: Stephan

A tremor struck Saturday close to North Korea’s nuclear test site, though South Korea’s weather agency said it was a natural earthquake.

 The tremor occurred at 4:29 p.m. China time with a magnitude of 3.4 and a depth of zero kilometers, the China Earthquake Networks Center said in a statement. South Korea’s weather agency said in a statement on its website that it was not artificially triggered.

The United States Geological Survey put the quake’s magnitude at 3.5 and its depth at 5 kilometers.

 North Korea detonated its sixth and most powerful nuclear weapon earlier this month at its underground Punggye-ri site northeast of Pyongyang, causing a quake with a magnitude of around 6.3. The move escalated tensions with the U.S. and North Korea’s neighbors, and this week its foreign minister said the regime’s options included testing a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean.

There have been concerns about the stability of the nuclear test site since the Sept. 3 detonation. Website 38 North said satellite imagery taken after that test appeared to show landslides atop the site that were more numerous and widespread than after the previous five tests.

The website, run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, added the bomb’s 250-kiloton yield was close to what it previously determined was the maximum that could be contained by the test site.

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