‘Man-Made’ Earthquake Detected Near North Korean Nuclear Test Site

Officials have linked an earthquake in North Korea to a nuclear test explosion ordered by Pyongyang.

AsianScientist (Jan. 6, 2016) – A 5.1 magnitude earthquake has been detected approximately 21 kilometers northeast of Sungjibaegam, North Korea, according to preliminary data from the US Geological Service (USGS).

Registered as magnitude 4.3 by the Korea Meteorological Administration, the quake was detected just after 10am local time and followed by an official broadcast by North Korea’s state news agency, KCNA, at 12 noon.

According to the broadcast, the “safe and successful” test had been ordered by North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un on December 15, 2015 and had been conducted ahead of his 33rd birthday this Friday.

“Considering the waveform and the amplitude of the earthquake, it seems certain that it was an artificial quake. (We are) going through a thorough analysis based on the high possibility of it being a nuke test,” said an unnamed official from the Korea Meteorological Administration to Yonhap News.

If confirmed, today’s nuclear test would be North Korea’s fourth successful attempt since its declaration that it had created a nuclear bomb in 2005. Three earlier tests—in 2006, 2009 and 2013—were all conducted at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site. The 2013 test, which also registered at 5.1 on the USGS scale, triggered immediate sanctions from the UN Security Council.

It is not yet known if North Korea has managed to develop a nuclear device small enough to be used as a warhead on a ballistic missile, but each successful test increases the likelihood, according to a report by Al Jazeera.

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Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine; Photo: USGS.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.

Rebecca did her PhD at the National University of Singapore where she studied how macrophages integrate multiple signals from the toll-like receptor system. She was formerly the editor-in-chief of Asian Scientist Magazine.

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