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Quake recorded near North Korea's nuclear test site

Quake recorded near North Korea's nuclear test site

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.

All six of North Korea's previous nuclear tests have caused earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.3 or above, leading to suggestions that today's quake may have been natural or caused by the collapse of a tunnel.

Today (Thursday), a relatively weak 2.9 magnitude quake was recorded near the North Korean town of Sungjibaegam. A small quake on September 23 was thought to be an aftershock of the nuclear test earlier in the month.

"This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean Nuclear tests. If it goes ahead with another test in this area, it could risk radioactive pollution".

September's nuclear test was so strong that it shook buildings in Russian Federation and China and was described as a "perfect success" by North Korea's state-run media.

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When compared to the tremors registered during any of North Korea's previous nuclear tests, the authorities said that the strength of Friday's quake was much lower. However, the South Korean experts have said that the tremor did not appear to be man-made.

The tunnel used for Pyongyang's first nuclear test had been shut down after that test, while a second tunnel had been used for the following five, the National Intelligence Service was cited as saying last month.

North Korea has hinted its next test could be above the ground.

A stronger 6.3-magnitude quake was triggered by a test on September 3 and it was felt across the border in China and sparked global condemnation. Since North Korea began testing its nuclear capabilities, experts have debated whether explosions at Punggye-ri could trigger another volcanic eruption.


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