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HomeWorld NewsNorth Korea's nuclear site hit by series of earthquakes, South Korea says

North Korea’s nuclear site hit by series of earthquakes, South Korea says

At least four earthquakes were monitored near North Korea’s shuttered nuclear test site in the past five days, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) in Seoul.

The latest quake happened Tuesday afternoon with a magnitude of 2.5 and was centered approximately 36km (22 miles) from the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site. The country’s only known facility for conducting nuclear testing is in northeast North Korea at Punggye-ri. The recent quakes are leaving many to fear the stability of the land the nuclear testing site is on. Before today’s quake, there was a pair of 2.3 magnitude quakes Monday and a 3.1 magnitude quake this past Friday.

The last known testing to occur in Punggye-ri occurred in September of 2017 when North Korea detonated its sixth and largest nuclear bomb, which it claimed was a thermonuclear weapon. In the weeks after the explosion experts said a series of tremors and landslides near the nuclear test base was a sign, the large blast had destabilized the region, which had never previously registered natural earthquakes. After one quake in 2020, South Korean government experts said the nuclear explosions appeared to have permanently changed the geology of the area.

Due to a lack of progress in talks with the United States and its allies, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has stated that he is no longer bound by the self-imposed testing moratorium. The country implied in January that it is considering resuming nuclear weapons due to their randomized testing that occurred all through January. However, many fear due to the seismic changes occurring with the land, that testing may have unknowingly begun.

Monitoring groups said that satellite images show no major signs of activity at Punggye-ri beyond routine security patrols and maintenance since its closure.



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