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Nuclear proliferation watchdog on North Korea seismic events

Nuclear proliferation watchdog CTBTO has said that the two seismic events detected in North Korea on Saturday were probably not deliberate explosions.

CTBTO said Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said in a Twitter post that the group detected two seismic events on Saturday. He added that they were still analysing the tremors, but they were “unlikely man-made”.

“The events were in a zone that is not seismically active,” as per the reports from the Austrian capital, Vienna.

He added that Saturday’s tremors were pretty similar to the second quake that occurred after North Korea’s sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3.

“Eight and half minutes after the test, we had an event that was likely due to geological stess,” Zerbo explained. “What we are finding today is similar to that event and that’s where we stand at this point in time.”

Earlier on Saturday, China’s earthquake administration said it had detected a magnitude 3.4 earthquake in North Korea, calling it a “suspected explosion”.

The administration said in a statement on its website that the earthquake occurred around 08:30 GMT.

Previous quakes from North Korea have indicated nuclear tests by the state, the most recent earlier this month. Saturday’s tremor was centred near North Korea’s nuclear test site.

“There was immediate concern because in the past North Korean nuclear tests have triggered artificial earthquakes,” as per the reports from the South Korean capital, Seoul.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) said it had detected a magnitude 3.5 earthquake in the area of the previous North Korean nuclear tests, but it was unable to confirm whether the event was natural.

North Korea’s weakest nuclear test, its first one, conducted in 2006, generated a magnitude 4.3 tremor.

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