Seoul (September 23, 2017): A shallow 3.5-magnitude earthquake hit North Korea near the country´s nuclear test site Saturday, US seismologists said, in what China´s seismic service said was a “suspected explosion”, but Seoul deemed a “natural earthquake”.
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”.
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.