Tremors Caused by Tectonic Shifts
A series of quakes in late 2017 has sparked concerns by experts across the world and has prompted suspicions that nuclear testing by North Korea is to blame for the tectonic events. According to an official from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the recently detected tremors were likely aftershocks from a massive test conducted in the country earlier in the year. The shocks reached a magnitude of 2.4 and 2.9 and a Twitter post from Zerbo confirmed that the activity originated as ‘tectonic’.
Testing in North Korea
As reported by the USGS official, the tremors occurred nearby the Punggye-ri test site where the sixth and so far biggest underground nuclear test was conducted on 3 September. The official stated that large-scale nuclear tests move the earth’s crust in the area it is conducted in and it could take some time before the movement subsides. The test was an H-bomb estimated being 10 times more powerful than the bomb dropped by the United States on Hiroshima in 1945. In October the spy agency from South Korea voiced suspicions that North Korea may be preparing two further tunnels at the mountainous site. After Donald Trump warned North Korea that the United States would completely destroy North Korea if it threatened them, the country responded by hinting at an above-ground nuclear test.
Challenges From All Sides
Besides international friction, North Korea could face further challenges, even locally. Official media sources from North Korea reported that Kim Jong-un, the national leader of the country, cleared Mount Paektu along with a group of senior military officials with the goal of emphasising their military vision after the North Korean nuclear force is completed. The completion was declared after the biggest ever cross-continental ballistic missile was tested. According to experts, this puts the entire United States and South America within range.