North Korean Nuclear Test Moved Earth's Crust

Two minor tremors were detected near September testing site
By Gina Carey,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2017 3:15 PM CST
This undated file photo distributed by the North Korean government shows what was said to be the test launch of an intermediate range Hwasong-12 in North Korea.   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Two minor tremors detected in northwest North Korea Saturday are likely linked to the very thing dominating recent headlines: the country’s nuclear program. Per the Guardian, the aftershocks recorded Saturday near the Punggye-ri nuclear test site were likely “relaxation events” from North Korea’s large scale nuclear test in early September. “When you have a large nuclear test, it moves the Earth’s crust around the area, and it takes a while for it to fully subside,” a US Geological Survey official says. ”We’ve had a few of them since the sixth nuclear test.“ Lassina Zerbo of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization described the 2.9 and 2.4 magnitude aftershocks as "unprecedented for [the] region” and of “tectonic origin.”

Tremors aside, some experts warn that nearby Mount Paektu, an active volcano considered sacred to North Koreans, could be triggered to erupt from nuclear testing. (It last erupted in 1903.) Pyongyang claims the September 3rd test was of an H-bomb (estimated to be ten times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima), and the country has since tested long-range missiles capable of reaching the continental US. As a war of words heats up between Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Trump, CNN reports that UN under-secretary-general Jeffrey Feltman visited North Korea Tuesday, marking the first trip a UN official made to the country in six years. The UN released a statement saying Feltman and North Korean minister for foreign affairs Ri Yong Ho "agreed that the current situation was the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today.” (Read more North Korea stories.)

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