BREAKING: Did North Korea Just Conduct Its Third Nuclear Test?

The 1984 state may have just conducted a nuclear test, fears the world. An earthquake of 4.9 magnitude on the Richter Scale was detected today, at about 12 noon (Korean time) which occurred in North Korea and it bears significant resemblance to a tremor expected to accompany a nuclear test. Pyongyang hasn’t confirmed any nuclear test though.

A TV broadcast at a South Korean rail station. The writing in Korean reads: North, artificial earthquake 11:58 a.m (Photo Courtesy: AP Photo)

South Korea has raised its military alertness to high priority after the quake, and Seoul is also trying to ascertain the exact cause of the quake. Natural quakes are preceded and succeeded by tremors of smaller magnitude than the actual quake, while an earthquake due to a strong explosion occurs as a single wave of a particular magnitude. The quake detected today is such a quake.

UPDATE: We note that N.Korea has confirmed the nuclear test. The New York Times has more. 

Third time’s a charm

If confirmed, this will be the third nuclear test conducted by North Korea after 2006 and 2009 and rough position triangulation suggests that the epicenter of the quake is about the same as that of the two previous quakes. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) would be violating international peace treaties and sanctions imposed upon them by the UN if this turns out to be a nuclear explosion.

Chi Heoncheol, an earthquake specialist at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resource says

There is a high possibility that North Korea has conducted a nuclear test

Not only was the epicentre location congruent with previous tests, the strength was also roughly the same – 3.9 and 4.5 were confirmed the last two times. This latest one is between 4.9 to 5.2, according to the South Korean weather stations monitoring seismic activity.

The US and its allies in the region have been on high alert since the quake.

Published by

Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.