A 3.4-magnitude earthquake jolted the northeastern North Korea on Saturday at 4:29 p.m., Chinese news agencies reports citing China Earthquake Networks Center (CENC).
The earthquake, with an epicenter depth of 0 km, reportedly took place at Kilju in North Hamgyong Province. According to CENC seismologists, the earthquake is probably caused by a nuclear detonation as it took place around 20 km southeast from sixth nuclear test site.
But South Korea’s weather agency, Meteorological Administration (KMA) said that a 3 magnitude tremor is presumed to be a natural quake. “The quake is presumed to have occurred naturally,” an agency official said. “A sound wave, which is usually generated in the event of an artificial earthquake, was not detected.”
The event has not yet been confirmed by the United States own earthquake monitoring service, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
If it is a nuclear test, the low magnitude of the earthquake event suggests a much smaller yield compared to the Sept. 3 hydrogen bomb test which triggered a 6,3 magnitude seismic event.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has vowed to take the “highest-level” action in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” the North over its nuclear and missile programs.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said later in New York that Pyongyang may consider its most powerful test of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.