Advertisement

North Korea may have detonated 250-kiloton bomb

Pyongyang continues to be active at its nuclear site, according to recent satellite imagery.

By Elizabeth Shim
South Koreans watch a TV news alert on an artificial earthquake originating from North Korea at Seoul Station on Sept. 3. Pyongyang may have detonated a 250-kiloton bomb, according to experts. File Photo by Yonhap
South Koreans watch a TV news alert on an artificial earthquake originating from North Korea at Seoul Station on Sept. 3. Pyongyang may have detonated a 250-kiloton bomb, according to experts. File Photo by Yonhap

Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The most recent satellite images of North Korea's nuclear site taken Friday show a greater number of surface disturbances following Pyongyang's sixth nuclear test than previous tests at Punggye-ri, U.S. analysts say.

Writing for 38 North, the Johns Hopkins University website dedicated to North Korea issues, analysts Frank V. Pabian, Joseph S. Bermudez Jr. and Jack Liu say North Korea's site now has "additional slippage" in "pre-existing landslide scars" and a "possible subsidence crater."

Advertisement

The caving in of land at the site, however, may not have been the result of the estimated 4.9-magnitude earthquake that took place 8 minutes after the test, the analysts say.

A more powerful earthquake the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization estimated to be of a 5.8 magnitude, but later revised to 6.1, is evidence the bomb could have unleashed as much as 250 kilotons of energy, significantly more than the previously estimated 100-120 kilotons.

RELATED Kim Jong Un praises North Korean schoolteachers amid tensions

Tremors from the earthquake are likely the cause of a possible "collapse chimney crater" at the site, the analysts added.

There is evidence the North Koreans will not stop tests at Punggye-ri, they said.

Advertisement

The images from Friday indicate "new tunnel excavation activity" could be under planning, as the photos show some "mining carts on the rail line that extends from the West Portal to the spoil pile."

RELATED U.S. THAAD launchers in South Korea begin operations

The analysts also said the North Portal used for the last test may not be used and that they cannot rule out the possibility radioactive material was released into the atmosphere following the test.

"The yield of the test clearly shows North Korean progress in increasing the yields of their nuclear weapons," the analysts said. "The significance of this is that it has the potential to dramatically increase the threat posed by" its ballistic missiles.

RELATED Trump, Malaysian prime minister talk trade, Boeing jets at White House meeting

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement