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Minor earthquake near nuclear test site in North Korea

Photo: Korea Aerospecies Research Institute/Kari Files/Agence France-Presse This satellite photo taken on October 16, 2006 by South Korea's “Arirang 2” satellite shows a three-dimensional depiction of North Korea's suspected nuclear test site in P'unggye-yok Kilju County.

France Media Agency in Seoul

January 11, 2024

  • Asia

A 2.4 magnitude earthquake occurred Thursday in the Kilju region, near a nuclear testing site in North Korea, South Korean meteorological services reported, according to which this shaking is of natural origin.

The earthquake occurred at 7 p.m. (5 a.m. in Quebec) 41 km northwest of the city of Kilju and at a depth of 20 km, according to the South Korea Meteorological Administration.

North Korea carried out six nuclear tests between 2006 and 2017, the first signs of which detected outside the country were powerful earthquakes that occurred at a shallow depth near the Punggye-ri test site , in the same area northwest of Kilju.

The latest test, in 2017, caused an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.3 which was felt as far away as China. According to experts, the atomic bomb used on this occasion had a power of around 250 kilotons, or 16 times that of the device launched on Hiroshima in 1945.

In recent months, several mild earthquakes have been recorded in the vicinity of Kilju, according to the South Korean weather service. According to experts cited by the Yonhap news agency, it is likely that the granite soil in this region has been made unstable by past nuclear tests.

In 2018, US intelligence estimated that Pyongyang had enough fissile material to make 65 atomic bombs and produce 12 new ones each year. And in 2021, a report from the think tank RAND Corporation estimated that North Korea could have around 200 nuclear warheads by 2027.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116