Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Natural disaster sparks fears that North Korea has carried out another nuclear test

Natural disaster sparks fears that North Korea has carried out another nuclear test

Suspicions are high that North Korea may have carried out another weapons test today after a magnitude-2.9 quake was detected very close to one of their test sites.

South Korea's spy agency said recently the North was readying possibly two more tunnels following its latest test, according to ruling Democratic Party lawmakers who had been briefed on the issue. The authorities added that the epicentre of the quake was located north of the Punggye-Ri testing site.

The US Geological Survey said that the tremor hit at 1.41am (12.41am, Singapore time) with a depth of around 5km.

"The event has earthquake-like characteristics, however, we can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event", said a statement released by the US Geological Survey.

North Korea's last nuclear test on September 3 caused a 6.3 magnitude natural disaster, according to the USGS.

Experts say the small quakes that occurred after the test may have been linked to the nuclear detonation, with some suggesting a possible increase of geological stress in the area. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the quake originated some 10 kilometers away from where the communist regime conducted its sixth and largest nuclear detonation.

The last time a weapon was detonated at the site, a magnitude-6.3 quake was detected.

Previous tests had caused stronger quakes, with all of them stronger than 4.3 magnitude. These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than seen after any of the North's previous tests, 38 North said. Since North Korea began testing its nuclear capabilities, experts have debated whether explosions at Punggye-ri could trigger another volcanic eruption.

In September, Trump told the United Nations that the U.S. would "totally destroy North Korea" if there was war.

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