Sci-tech

Nuclear tests feared in North Korea as a 3.4 magnitude quake detected

Nuclear tests feared in North Korea as a 3.4 magnitude quake detected”

Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho spoke to reporters in NY during the UN General Assembly shortly after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made an unprecedented televised statement, accusing Trump of being "mentally deranged".

A 3.0 magnitude natural disaster was detected near North Korea's nuclear test site on Saturday, South Korea's weather agency said.

The test, which Pyongyang said was a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), generated a magnitude-6.3 quake.

Analysts examining satellite images of North Korea's mountainous test site after the latest nuclear test said they spotted landslides and surface disturbances that were more numerous and widespread than what was seen from any of the five previous tests. The depth of the natural disaster was 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).

Analysts from the preparatory commission of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization are now analyzing the data to sort out what is going on in reclusive North Korea.

"The USGS said that their seismologists confirmed it happened at a depth of 5KM and said, We can not 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".

The quake comes as the worldwide community is on a high alert after North Korea's foreign minister threatened on Thursday to test a hydrogen in the Pacific Ocean in response to President Trump's United Nations speech, in which he threatened to destroy North Korea, if they continued to threaten the US and their allies.

Two South Korean officials at the Korea Meteorological Administration told CNN that their analysis so far suggests Saturday's seismic activity around the nuclear site was not caused by an explosion or a collapse of the site. "So as of now we are categorising this as a natural quake".

It was the furthest north of the Demilitarised Zone any United States fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea's coast this century, Pentagon spokesman Dana White said.

The quake was detected in an area around Kilju, in north-east North Korea.

"It could be a natural quake that really was man-made as the nuclear test would have transferred a lot of stress", he said. "The waves we have detected from the latest quake have a similar pattern to that of natural earthquakes".

Where are the world's nuclear weapons?

North Korean foreign minister Ri Yong Ho said Friday that North Korea may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific. Trump warned that the USA will "totally destroy" North Korea, and Kim threatened to "tame the mentally-deranged dotard with fire".

Jong-un said that will consider his response being the "highest level of hard-line countermeasure".

In a show of force Saturday, US Air Force bombers flew in worldwide airspace over waters east of North Korea. That was a big concession by China and going to war against Kim now would have consequences far beyond the crisis on the Korean peninsula.

There was no immediate reaction from China's Foreign Ministry, but the news was widely reported by Chinese state media outlets and on social media. It will also ban imports of textiles from North Korea.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said this week that "we're witnessing a very unsafe confrontation spiral around (North Korea)".



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