As if the general threat of nuclear war wasn’t enough, now it appears earthquakes in North Korea are the result of aftershocks from a nuclear test back in September. “2.9 and 2.4 magnitude aftershocks were confirmed as ‘tectonic’ in origin by the Vienna-based Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty executive secretary Lassina Zerbo,” the Daily Mail writes.
The USGS confirms that the tremors are emanating from the Punggye-ri nuclear test site. On September 3rd, North Korea detonated a massive nuclear explosion at the site.
“They’re probably relaxation events from the sixth nuclear test. When you have a large nuclear test, it moves the Earth’s crust around the area, and it takes a while for it to fully subside,” USGS spokesman told The Mail. The explosion may have actually damaged the mountains near where the tests occurred.
“We’ve had a few of them since the sixth nuclear test.”
Other reports have leaked suggesting workers have been trapped in the tunnels below the test site, tunnels that may have collapsed on September 10th. As many as 100 workers are believed to have died in the collapse.
The North Koreans are proud of their progress.Kim Jong-Un has marked the recent explosions and tests by visiting Mount Paektu, a mountain considered sacred by North Koreans.
“Pictures released by the regime show the Kim in the snow at the 9,022ft, on North Korea’s border with China,” the Mail notes, “which the regime rewrote history to claim was birthplace of Kim Il-Sung, the Communist who ruled from after the Second World War until 1994.”
“He was in fact born in the Soviet Union, but the mountain has long been integral to the country’s identity.”
Reports from South Korea suggest two additional tunnels are being prepared at the site. This is a clear indication that the North Koreans are preparing to do more testing. Yet the damage this may cause to the surrounding mountains, including Mount Paektu, is still an issue. Mount Paektu is an active volcano. It is unclear how an increase in the seismic activity could alter its stability.