Posts Tagged ‘earthquake’

Earthquake reported near North Korean nuclear test site

December 3, 2017

UPI

By Yonhap News Agency  |  Dec. 2, 2017

This image released on September 3, 2017, by the North Korean Official News Service (KCNA), shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a briefing by scientists at the Nuclear Weapons Institute on the details of the country’s nuclear weaponization program. File photo by KCNA/UPI

Dec. 2 (UPI) — A natural earthquake of magnitude 2.5 was detected in North Korea on Saturday close to where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, Seoul’s weather agency said.

The tremor occurred at 7:45 a.m. in Kilju, North Hamgyeong Province, about 2.7 kilometers away from the Punggye-ri nuclear site in the same province, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA). North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test at the site on Sept. 3.

Image result for Punggye-ri, photos

The KMA said the quake is a natural one but is presumed to have occurred in the aftermath of the nuke test.

“Kilju is a rocky area where natural earthquakes normally do not occur. However, the quake could have been caused by geological changes created from the recent nuclear explosion,” said an agency official who asked not to be named.

Since 2006, North Korea has carried out six nuclear tests, including two last year.

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Powerful earthquake on Iran-Iraq border kills over 400 — More than 100 aftershocks followed

November 13, 2017

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — A powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake near the Iraq-Iran border killed over 400 people across both countries, sent residents fleeing their homes into the night and was felt as far away as the Mediterranean coast, authorities said Monday.

Iran’s western Kermanshah province bore the brunt of the temblor Sunday night, with authorities saying the quake killed 407 people in the country and injured 6,700. Kermanshah is a rural, mountainous region where residents rely mainly on farming.

In Iraq, the earthquake killed at least seven people and injured 535, all in the country’s northern Kurdish region, according to Iraq’s Interior Ministry.

The quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at 9:48 p.m. Iran time, just as people began retiring for the night.

It could be felt on the Mediterranean coast, some 660 miles (1,000 kilometers) away.

The earthquake struck 23.2 kilometers (14.4 miles) below the surface, a shallow depth that can amplify damage. Magnitude 7 earthquakes can be highly destructive.

Iranian social media and news agencies showed images and videos of people fleeing their homes. More than 100 aftershocks followed.

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Iran’s state-run news agency says at least 328 people are known dead in Iran, after a powerful earthquake on Iran-Iraq border. At least seven are known dead in Iraq. The magnitude 7.3 quake was centered outside Halabja, in eastern Iraq. (Nov. 13)

The quake’s worst damage appeared to be in the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in Kermanshah province, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq.

Kokab Fard, a 49-year-old housewife in Sarpol-e-Zahab, said she fled empty-handed when her apartment complex collapsed. “Immediately after I managed to get out, the building collapsed,” Fard said. “I have no access to my belongings.”

Reza Mohammadi, 51, said he and his family ran out into the alley after the first shock. “I tried to get back to pick up some stuff but it totally collapsed in the second wave,” Mohammadi said.

Sarpol-e-Zahab residents said the power and water were out and telephone and cellphone lines were spotty.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences on Monday morning and urged rescuers and government agencies to do all they could to help those affected, state media reported. President Hassan Rouhani is scheduled to tour earthquake-damaged areas Tuesday.

The semi-official ILNA news agency said at least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected by the earthquake. Behnam Saeedi, a spokesman for the country’s crisis management headquarters, told two semi-official news agencies that casualty figures stood at 407 killed and 6,700 injured.

In Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi issued a directive for the country’s civil defense teams and “related institutions” to respond to the natural disaster. Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, an Interior Ministry spokesman, gave the casualty figures for Iraq.

The quake could be felt across Iraq, shaking buildings and homes from Irbil to Baghdad, where people fled into the streets of the capital.

Amina Mohammed, who survived the quake in Darbandikhan, Iraq, said she and her sons escaped their home as it collapsed around them.

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“I think it was only God that saved us,” she said. “I screamed to God and it must have been him who stopped the stairs from entirely collapsing on us.”

The Iraqi city of Halabja, closest to the epicenter, was the target of a 1988 chemical attack in which Saddam Hussein’s troops killed some 5,000 people with mustard gas — the deadliest chemical weapons attack ever against civilians.

Iraqi seismologist Abdul-Karim Abdullah Taqi, who runs the earthquake monitoring group at the state-run Meteorological Department, said the main reason for the lower casualty figure in Iraq was the angle and the direction of the fault line. He said the Iraqi geological formations were better able to absorb the shocks.

However, the temblor caused visible damage to the dam at Darbandikhan, which holds back the Diyala River.

“There are horizontal and vertical cracks on the road and in the body of the dam, and parts of the dam sank lower,” said Rahman Hani, the director of the dam.

Turkey dispatched emergency aid to northern Iraq as officials expressed their “deep sadness” at the tragedy. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said his country took immediate action to provide medical and food aid to northern Iraq.

Kerem Kinik, the Turkish Red Crescent’s vice president, told The Associated Press from Habur border crossing that 33 aid trucks were en route to the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah, carrying 3,000 tents and heaters, 10,000 beds and blankets as well as food.

A Turkish military cargo plane arrived in Iraq as the official Anadolu news agency reported multiple dispatches by Turkey’s disaster agency. Ankara also said it would help Iran if Tehran requests assistance.

Relations between Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region and Turkey were strained following the Iraqi Kurds’ September independence referendum.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country stands with the region in difficult times and wished the Iraqi and Iranian people a speedy recovery. Speaking en route to Sochi, Russia, Erdogan said a convoy of 50 aid trucks has crossed the border into Iraq. Pakistan also extended its condolences for the loss of life and injuries suffered by “our Iranian and Iraqi brethren.”

Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily quakes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people. The last major casualty earthquake in Iran struck in East Azerbaijan province in August 2012, killing over 300 people.

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Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Susannah George in Irbil, Iraq; Balint Szlanko in Darbandikhan, Iraq; Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul; Zarar Khan in Islamabad and Sinan Salaheddin in Baghdad contributed to this report.

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Earthquake hits Iraq-Iran border, leaves hundreds dead, thousands injured

November 13, 2017

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck the mountainous border region between the two countries late on Sunday. More than 335 people have been killed, mostly in Iran.

People sitting in rubble in Bam, Iran (picture-alliance/dpa)

At least 328 people have died and more than 2,500 were injured in Iran after an earthquake shook the border region between Iraq and Iran on Sunday, according to authorities in both countries. In neighboring Iraq officials confirmed seven people have died and 321 were injured.

The hardest-hit region was western Iran’s Kermanshah province, which lies in the Zagros mountains dividing Iraq and Iran. Reuters reports more than 236 of the victims were in the town of Sarpol-e Zahab, 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the Iraqi border.

Iran’s emergency services chief Pir Hossein Koolivand said it was “difficult to send rescue teams to the villages because the roads have been cut off… there have been landslides.”

Later, the Interior Ministry added that the “night has made it difficult for helicopters to fly to the affected areas” adding to the grave concern about remote villages in the area.

Tehran has sent 30 Red Crescent teams to the quake zone, parts of which were without power. Three emergency relief camps were being set up by Iranian officials.

Residents huddle by an open fire after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border. (Getty Images/AFP/P. Pakizeh)

Residents huddle by an open fire after a 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck the Iran-Iraq border.

Quake felt in Turkey

The Iraqi ministry of health said seven people had died and 321 taken to hospital in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan. Four people reportedly died in the town of Darbandikhan and two — including a child and an elderly person — died in the town of Kalar, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of Darbandikhan.

In nearby Halabja, residents fled their homes and many slept outside out of fear of the earthquake and potential aftershocks, local teacher Warzer Ali told DW reporter Chase Winter via social media.

“Many people slept out in the street, others left the town and slept in fields,” Ali said, adding there were nearly a dozen aftershocks.

Iran-Iraq border earthquake death toll tops 200, Iran says https://t.co/4Ymfrai1eg

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake had a 7.3 magnitude and hit at 9:18 p.m. local time (1818 UTC) around 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Halabja. The quake was felt as far away as southeastern Turkey.

The area along the border of Iraq and Iran sees frequent seismic activity due to the 1,500 kilometer faultline between the Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates. In 2003, some 31,000 people were killed by a catastrophic tremor that struck the Iranian city of Bam.

Also late on Sunday, a strong quake struck near Costa Rica, though there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. The USGS also reported a 5.8 magnitude earthquake a few hours earlier near Japan, though that tremor was too far out into the Pacific Ocean to cause damage.

Iran raises its death toll to 328 in earthquake

November 13, 2017

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The latest on an earthquake along the Iran-Iraq border (all times local):

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Iran’s state-run news agency says the country’s death toll in the powerful earthquake on Iran-Iraq border has risen to 328 people killed.

IRNA’s report on Monday afternoon says the majority of those killed were from the town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in Iran’s western Kermanshah province.

The magnitude 7.3 quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake was felt as far west as the Mediterranean coast. Iran’s western Kermanshah province sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq. Residents in the rural area rely mainly on farming to make a living.

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11:10 a.m.

Iran’ state TV has further raised the death toll from a powerful earthquake the previous night along the Iran-Iraq border, and reports that 214 people were killed and 2,504 injured in the temblor.

The Iranian Health Department is asking citizens to donate blood for the injured.

Monday’s TV report says that more than half of the casualties are from the town of Sar-Pol-Zahab and the district of Ezgeleh, which have a combined population of 30,000.

The only hospital in town was heavily damaged and the army has set up field hospitals to help those needing assistance. The TV says rescuers are trying to help those affected.

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10:15 a.m.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry says seven people were killed in Iraq as a result of last night’s earthquake along the Iran-Iraq border.

The temblor killed at least 207 on the Iranian side. That’s according to the latest report on Iranian state television.

In Iraq, the ministry’s spokesman, Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, said on Monday that 321 people were injured on the Iraqi side. Maan says all the casualties are in Iraq’s self-ruled northern Kurdish region.

The magnitude 7.3 quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey.

The quake could be felt across Iraq, shaking buildings and homes from Irbil to Baghdad and as far west as Anbar province.

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9:20 a.m.

Iranian state TV is now reporting that 200 people were killed and 1,686 injured in the earthquake along Iran-Iraq border.

Monday’s report says that rescuers are trying to help those affected.

The magnitude 7.3 quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja, according to the most recent measurements from the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck at a depth of 23.2 kilometers (14.4 miles), a shallow depth that can have broader damage.

The quake was felt as far west as the Mediterranean coast. Its worst damage appeared to be in Iran’s western Kermanshah province, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide Iran and Iraq. Residents in the rural area rely mainly on farming to make a living.

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8:30 a.m.

Iraq’s prime minister is seeking to reassure Iraqi civilians of their safety following an earthquake the previous night on Iraq’s northeastern border with Iran.

Haider al-Abadi says he is following the matter and issuing a directive for the country’s civil defense teams and “related institutions” to respond to the natural disaster. That’s according to a statement released by his office late Sunday night.

The quake could be felt across Iraq, shaking buildings and homes from Irbil to Baghdad and as far west as Anbar province.

Al-Abadi adds in his written statement: “God save Iraq and the Iraqi people.”

Iraqi has not yet released official casualty numbers, but local media have reported that six people have died and dozens have been injured in Iraq’s northeastern province, closest to the epicenter of the quake.

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6:30 a.m.

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency says the death toll in the powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake along the borders of Iran and Iraq has risen above 140.

IRNA also said over 860 people were injured in the quake that shook the region Sunday.

The report Monday morning said 141 had been killed in cities and towns in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah.

It said rescuers worked through the night and the operations will be accelerated during the day Monday.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja.

Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to quakes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.

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3:20 a.m.

Iranian officials say the powerful magnitude 7.2 earthquake that hit the region along the border between Iran and Iraq on Sunday killed at least 61 people and injured 300 in Iran.

Iranian state TV also says that Iraqi officials have reported six deaths and 200 injuries inside Iraq, although there has not been any official confirmation from Iraq’s government. The TV report also says Iraqis reported more than 50 people injured in Iraq’s Sulaymaniyah province and about 150 were hurt in Khanaquin city

The U.S. Geological Survey saysdthe quake was centered 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja.

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1:50 a.m.

An Iranian official says at least 30 people died in Iran when a magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit near the Iran-Iraq border region. Deputy Gov. Mojtaba Nikkerdar of Iran’s Kermanshah province also says more than 200 people suffered injuries.

Iranian TV says Iraqi officials have reported at least six people dead on Iraq’s side of the border from Sunday’s quake. It says the officials also report more than 50 people were injured in Iraq’s Sulaymaniyah province and about 150 were hurt in Khanaquin city. There has been no official report from Iraq’s government.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake was centered around 19 miles (31 kilometers) outside the eastern Iraqi city of Halabja.

Iran’s semi-official Iranian ILNA news agency says at least 14 Iranian provinces were affected.

Strong earthquake hits Iraq and Iran, killing at least 332

November 13, 2017

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A man walks past the debris of a destroyed building in Ahar in northwest Iran

BAGHDAD/ANKARA (Reuters) – At least 332 people were killed in Iran and Iraq when a magnitude 7.3 earthquake jolted the region on Sunday, state media in the two countries said, and rescuers were searching for dozens trapped under rubble in the mountainous area.

State television said more than 328 people were killed in Iran and at least 2,500 were injured. Local officials said the death toll would rise as search and rescue teams reached remote areas of Iran.

The earthquake was felt in several western provinces of Iran but the hardest hit province was Kermanshah, which announced three days of mourning. More than 236 of the victims were in Sarpol-e Zahab county in Kermanshah province, about 15 km (10 miles) from the Iraq border.

Iranian state television said the quake had caused heavy damage in some villages where houses were made of earthen bricks. Rescuers were laboring to find survivors trapped under collapsed buildings.

The quake also triggered landslides that hindered rescue efforts, officials told state television. At least 14 provinces in Iran had been affected, Iranian media reported.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei offered his condolences on Monday, urging all government agencies to do all they could to help those affected.

DANCING BUILDINGS

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake measured magnitude 7.3. An Iraqi meteorology official put its magnitude at 6.5 with the epicenter in Penjwin in Sulaimaniyah province in the Kurdistan region, close to the main border crossing with Iran.

Kurdish health officials said at least four people were killed in Iraq and at least 50 injured.

The quake was felt as far south as Baghdad, where many residents rushed from their houses and tall buildings when tremors shook the Iraqi capital.

“I was sitting with my kids having dinner and suddenly the building was just dancing in the air,” said Majida Ameer, who ran out of her building in the capital’s Salihiya district with her three children.

“I thought at first that it was a huge bomb. But then I heard everyone around me screaming: ‘Earthquake!’”

Similar scenes unfolded in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, and across other cities in northern Iraq, close to the quake’s epicenter.

COLD WEATHER

Electricity was cut off in several Iranian and Iraqi cities, and fears of aftershocks sent thousands of people in both countries out onto the streets and parks in cold weather.

The Iranian seismological center registered around 118 aftershocks and said more were expected. The head of Iranian Red Crescent said more than 70,000 people were in need of emergency shelter.

Hojjat Gharibian was one of hundreds of homeless Iranian survivors, who was huddled against the cold with his family in Qasr-e Shirin.

A man walks past a damaged building following an earthquake in Darbandikhan in Sulaimaniya Governorate, Iraq, November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed

“My two children were sleeping when the house started to collapse because of the quake. I took them and ran to the street. We spent hours in the street until aid workers moved us into a school building,” Gharibian told Reuters by telephone.

Iran’s police, the elite Revolutionary Guards and its affiliated Basij militia forces were dispatched to the quake-hit areas overnight, state TV reported.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli said some roads were blocked and authorities were worried about casualties in remote villages. An Iranian oil official said pipelines and refineries in the area remained intact.

Iran sits astride major fault lines and is prone to frequent tremors. A magnitude 6.6 quake on Dec. 26, 2003, devastated the historic city of Bam, 1,000 km southeast of Tehran, killing about 31,000 people.

HOSPITAL SEVERELY DAMAGED

On the Iraqi side, the most extensive damage was in the town of Darbandikhan, 75 km east of the city of Sulaimaniyah in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region.

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More than 30 people were injured in the town, according to Kurdish Health Minister Rekawt Hama Rasheed.

“The situation there is very critical,” Rasheed told Reuters.

The district’s main hospital was severely damaged and had no power, Rasheed said, so the injured were taken to Sulaimaniyah for treatment. Homes and buildings had extensive structural damage, he said.

In Halabja, local officials said a 12-year-old boy died of an electric shock from a falling electric cable.

Iraq’s meteorology center advised people to stay away from buildings and not to use elevators in case of aftershocks.

TURKEY AND ISRAEL

Residents of Turkey’s southeastern city of Diyarbakir also reported feeling a strong tremor, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties there.

Turkish Red Crescent Chairman Kerem Kinik told broadcaster NTV that Red Crescent teams in Erbil were preparing to go to the site of the earthquake and that Turkey’s national disaster management agency, AFAD, and National Medical Rescue Teams (UMKE) were also preparing to head into Iraq.

AFAD’s chairman said the organization was waiting for a reply to its offer for help.

In a tweet, Kinik said the Turkish Red Crescent was gathering 3,000 tents and heaters, 10,000 beds and blankets and moving them towards the Iraqi border.

“We are coordinating with Iranian and Iraqi Red Crescent groups. We are also getting prepared to make deliveries from our northern Iraq Erbil depot,” he said.

Israeli media said the quake was felt in many parts of Israel as well. In a statement, Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said, “My condolences to the people of Iran and Iraq over the loss of human life caused by the earthquake.” Iran refuses to recognize Israel.

Writing by Parisa Hafezi, reporting by Raya Jalabi and Ahmed Rasheed in Iraq, Bozorgmeh Sharafedin in Londn, Tuvan Gumrukcu and Irem Koca in Ankara, Dan Williams in Jerusalem, and Dubai newsroom; Editing by Peter Cooney and Bill Tarrant, Larry King

 

Latest North Korea quake a sign of instability at nuclear site: Experts — Could Explosions at Punggye-ri could trigger another volcanic eruption

October 13, 2017

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SEOUL (REUTERS) – A series of tremors and landslides near North Korea’s nuclear test base likely mean the country’s sixth and largest blast has destabilised the region, and the Punggye-ri nuclear site may not be used for much longer to test nuclear weapons, experts say.

A small quake was detected early on Friday (Oct 13) near the North’s nuclear test site, South Korea’s weather agency said, but unlike quakes associated with nuclear tests, it did not appear to be manmade.

The tremor was the latest in a string of at least three shocks to be observed since Pyongyang’s Sept 3 nuclear test, which caused a 6.3 magnitude earthquake.

Friday’s quake was a magnitude 2.7 with a depth of 3km in North Hamgyong Province in North Korea, the Korea Meteorological Administration said. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) measured the quake at 2.9 magnitude at a depth of 5km.

The series of quakes has prompted experts and observers to suspect the last test – which the North claimed to be of a hydrogen bomb – may have damaged the mountainous location in the north-west tip of the country, where all of North Korea’s six nuclear tests were conducted.

“The explosion from the Sept. 3 test had such power that the existing tunnels within the underground testing site might have caved in,” said Kim So Gu, head researcher at the Korea Seismological Institute.

“I think the Punggye-ri region is now pretty saturated. If it goes ahead with another test in this area, it could risk radioactive pollution.”

According to 38 North, a Washington-based project which monitors North Korea, numerous landslides throughout the nuclear test site have been detected via satellite images after the sixth test. These disturbances are more numerous and widespread than seen after any of the North’s previous tests, 38 North said.

The explosion from the sixth test was large enough for residents of the Chinese border city of  Yanji, 200km north of North Korea’s nuclear test site, to feel the ground shake beneath their feet.

“The reason why Punggye-ri has become North Korea’s nuclear testing field is because this area was considered stable and rarely saw tremors in the past,” said Hong Tae Kyung, a professor of earth system science at Yonsei University in Seoul.“The recent small quakes suggest that the test might have triggered crust deformation.”

READYING NEW TUNNELS

South Korea’s spy agency said recently the North was readying possibly two more tunnels following its latest test, according to ruling Democratic Party lawmakers who had been briefed on the issue.

The tunnel used for Pyongyang’s first nuclear test had been shut down after that test, while a second tunnel had been used for the following five, the National Intelligence Service was cited as saying last month. This second tunnel may have caved in after the sixth test, the intelligence officials said.

North Korea has hinted its next test could be above the ground. Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said last month the North could test “an unprecedented scale hydrogen bomb” over the Pacific Ocean, in response to US President Donald Trump’s threat to “totally destroy” the country.

Arms experts say detonating a nuclear-tipped missile over the Pacific Ocean, while seen as the logical final step to prove the success of its weapons programme, would be extremely provocative and carry huge risks.

Another issue that could keep North Korea from using Punggye-ri for nuclear tests the nearby active volcano of Mt Paektu, Yonsei University’s Hong said.

The 2,744-m mountain, straddling the north-western border between China and North Korea, last erupted in 1903. Since North Korea began testing its nuclear capabilities, experts have debated whether explosions at Punggye-ri could trigger another volcanic eruption.

Small North Korean quake likely natural, not nuclear test: experts

September 23, 2017

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Reuters

BEIJING/SEOUL (Reuters) – A small earthquake near North Korea’s nuclear test site on Saturday was probably not manmade, the nuclear proliferation watchdog and a South Korean official said, easing fears Pyongyang had exploded another nuclear bomb just weeks after its last one.

Chinese earthquake officials said the magnitude 3.4 quake detected at 0829 GMT was a “suspected explosion” but both the CTBTO, which monitors nuclear tests, and a South Korean meteorological agency official said they believed it was a natural quake.

“A key method is to look at the seismic waves or seismic acoustic waves and the latter can be detected in the case of a manmade earthquake,” said the South Korean official, who asked for anonymity. “In this case we saw none. So as of now, we are categorizing this as a natural earthquake.”

The earthquake, which South Korea put at magnitude 3.0, was detected in Kilju county in North Hamgyong Province, where North Korea’s known Punggyeri nuclear site is located, the official said.

All of North Korea’s previous six nuclear tests registered as earthquakes of magnitude 4.3 or above. The last test on Sept 3 registered as a 6.3 magnitude quake.

A secondary tremor detected after that test could have been caused by the collapse of a tunnel at the mountainous site, experts said at the time. Satellite photos of the area after the Sept 3 quake showed numerous landslides apparently caused by the massive blast, which North Korea said was an advanced hydrogen bomb.

The head of the nuclear test monitoring agency CTBTO said on Saturday that analysts were “looking at unusual seismic activity of a much smaller magnitude” than the Sept 3 test in North Korea.

“Two #Seismic Events! 0829UTC & much smaller @ 0443UTC unlikely Man-made! Similar to ”collapse“ event 8.5 mins after DPRK6! Analysis ongoing,” CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said in a Twitter post, referring to Sept 3 test.

Russia’s emergency ministry says background radiation in nearby Vladivostok was within the natural range.

TENSIONS HIGH

The U.S. Geological Survey said it could not conclusively confirm whether the quake, which it measured at magnitude 3.5, was manmade or natural.

“The depth is poorly constrained and has been held to 5 km by the seismologist,” USGS said. “The Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) is the sole organization in the U.S. federal government whose mission is to detect and report technical data from foreign nuclear explosions.”

There was no immediate reaction from China’s Foreign Ministry, but the news was widely reported by Chinese state media outlets and on social media.

Tensions have continued to rise around the Korean peninsula since Pyongyang carried out its sixth nuclear test, prompting a new round of U.N. sanctions.

North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, currently in New York for a United Nations meeting, warned on Thursday that Kim could consider a hydrogen bomb test of an unprecedented scale over the Pacific.

Ri is due to address the United Nations later on Saturday.

U.S. President Donald Trump called the North Korean leader a “madman” on Friday, a day after Kim dubbed him a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard” who would face the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history”.

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North Korea’s nuclear tests to date have all been underground, and experts say an atmospheric test, which would be the first since one by China in 1980, would be proof of the success of its weapons program.

North Korea has launched dozens of missiles this year, several of them flying over Japan, as it accelerates a weapons program aimed at enabling it to target the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile.

While China has been angered by North Korea’s repeated nuclear and missile tests and has signed up for the increasingly tough U.N. sanctions, it has also stressed the need to resume dialogue and for all sides to take steps to reduce tensions.

In a series of meetings this week at the United Nations, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reiterated to various foreign counterparts that apart from sanctions, the resolutions also call for dialogue to resume and that this needs to happen.

Earlier on Saturday, China said it will limit exports of refined petroleum products from Oct. 1 and ban exports of condensates and liquefied natural gas immediately to comply with the latest U.N. sanctions. It will also ban imports of textiles from North Korea.

The United States and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.

The North accuses the United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

Reporting by Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai, Ben Blanchard in Beijing, Christine Kim and Heekyong Yang in Seoul, Michael Shields in Zurich, Denis Pinchuk in Moscow; Editing by Lincoln Feast

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China experts say 3.4-quake hits N. Korea in ‘suspected explosion’ — Epicenter of the quake is roughly the same as that of a previous shallow tremor on September 3, which turned out to be caused by a North Korean nuclear test

September 23, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | The epicenter of the quake is roughly the same as that of a previous shallow tremor on September 3, which turned out to be caused by a North Korean nuclear test, the official Xinhua news agency said

BEIJING (AFP) – China’s seismic service CENC on Saturday detected a zero-depth, 3.4-magnitude earthquake in North Korea, calling it a “suspected explosion”.The epicentre is roughly the same as that of a previous shallow earthquake on September 3, which turned out to be caused by a North Korean nuclear test, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The earthquake comes after days of increasingly bellicose rhetoric between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un’s regime over Pyongyang’s nuclear ambitions that has raised international alarm.

There seemed to be some initial difference of opinion, however, with Seoul’s Korea Meteorological Agency (KMA) saying that it had registered a tremor of a similar size, but judged it a “natural quake”.

The quake comes amid soaring tensions over Pyongyang’s weapons programme, with the firing of two missiles over Japan in recent weeks and its sixth and largest nuclear test earlier this month.

The September 3rd test was North Korea’s most powerful detonation, triggering a much stronger 6.3-magnitude quake that was felt across the border in China.

This week marked a new level of acromony in a blistering war of words between Kim and Trump, with the North Korean leader calling the American president “mentally deranged” and a “dotard”.

Trump has dubbed Kim a “madman” and sought to ratchet up sanctions against the isolted regime, which says it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself against the threat of invasion.

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Pyongyang later said it had tested a hydrogen bomb that could be fitted onto a missile — an assertion that no foreign government has so far confirmed.

The move prompted global condemnation, leading the UN Security Council to unanimously adopt new sanctions that include restrictions on oil shipments.

Hydrogen bombs, or H-bombs, are thermonuclear weapons far more powerful than ordinary fission-based atomic bombs, and use a nuclear blast to generate the intense temperatures required for fusion to take place.

Kim on Friday threatened the “highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history” in a tirade against Trump’s warning that Washington would “totally destroy” the North if the US or its allies were threatened.

Monitoring groups estimate that the nuclear test conducted in North Korea earlier this month had a yield of 250 kilotons, which is 16 times the size of the US bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

Washington announced tougher restrictions Friday aimed at curbing North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme, building on new tough United Nations sanctions aimed to choke Pyongyang of cash.

Russia and China have both appealed for an end to the escalating rhetoric between Washington and Pyongyang.

But on the fringes of the UN meeting this week, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho upped the tensions further, telling reporters Pyongyang might now consider detonating a hydrogen bomb outside its territory.

Related:

Korean Seismic Activity Took Place 50 Km From Prior Nuclear Tests: CTBTO

September 23, 2017

ZURICH — The nuclear proliferation watchdog CTBTO said unusual seismic activity detected in North Korea on Saturday took place around 50 km (31 miles) from previous nuclear tests.

“Korean Peninsula unusual #seismic activity: LAT=41.36 LON=129.76 mb=3.5 About 50 km from prior tests. #CTBT Analysts investigating,” CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo said in a Twitter post.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Mark Heinrich)

Related:

South Korea Says Natural North Korea Earthquake Detected

September 23, 2017

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s weather agency said a magnitude 3.0 earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday around where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural.

The quake was detected in an area around Kilju, in northeastern North Korea, and about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of where the North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sept. 3, according to an official from Seoul’s Korea Meteorological Administration.

Image result for Kilju, North Korea, map

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said earlier that the country’s seismic service detected a magnitude 3.4 quake in North Korea and saw the likely cause as an explosion. The official from the South Korean agency said the analysis of seismic waves and the lack of sound waves clearly showed that the quake wasn’t caused by an artificial explosion. She spoke on condition of anonymity, citing office rules.

North Korea has been maintaining a torrid pace in nuclear and weapons tests as it accelerates its pursuit of nuclear weapons that could viably target the United States and its allies in Asia.

North Korea said its recent nuclear test was a detonation of a thermonuclear weapon built for its developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles. In two July flight tests, those missiles showed potential capability to reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.