People watch a television news screen at a railway station in Seoul on September 23, 2017 showing a map of the epicenter of an earthquake in North Korea
North Korea has been hit with an earthquake.
According to Agence France Presse, AFP, US seismologists revealed that a shallow 3.5-magnitude earthquake hit North Korea near the country’s nuclear test site on Saturday, in what China’s seismic service said was a “suspected explosion”, but Seoul deemed a “natural earthquake”.
The earthquake came after days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President
Donald Trump and North Korean leader
Kim Jong-Un’s regime over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions raised international alarm.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake struck around 20 kilometres (12 miles) away from the North’s nuclear test site, where earlier this month it detonated its sixth and largest device, which it claimed to be a hydrogen bomb capable of being launched onto a missile.
“This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean Nuclear tests. We cannot conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event. The depth is poorly constrained and has been held to 5 km by the seismologist,” USGS said in a statement.
Regional experts differed on their analysis of the tremor, with China’s China Earthquake Network Centre (CENC) service calling it a “suspected explosion”, while Seoul’s Korea Meteorological Agency (KMA) judged it a “natural quake”.
“There is no possibility that this could be an artificial quake,” Yonhap news agency quoted a KMA official as saying.
The North’s last test, on September 3, was the country’s most powerful detonation, triggering a much stronger 6.3-magnitude quake that was felt across the border in China.
A second tremor soon after that test was possibly caused by a “cave-in”, CENC said at the time.
The move prompted global condemnation, leading the UN Security Council to unanimously adopt new sanctions that include restrictions on oil shipments.