So strong was the explosion that it created a 5.3 magnitude earthquake making South Korea state that its northern bellicose neighbor may have conducted its “most powerful” nuclear test so far.
On Friday, Seoul said that North Korea has possibly conducted a fifth nuclear test at the same site where it carried out its fourth test on January 6 this year.
A North Korean missile during a military parade in 2012. Images of missiles belonging to the country are rare. Ng Han Guan/AP
A few hours later, North Korea confirmed that it has successfully tested a nuclear warhead that can be mounted on ballistic rockets to “of higher strike power”.
According to South Korean officials and Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Monterey, California, the earthquake that the USGS measured at 5.3 was definitely artificial.
They said that the intensity of the earthquake indicates that the test yield must have been between 10 and 20 kilotons. The fourth test had a yield of 6 kilotons.
North Korea’s test, conducted at Punggye-ri at around 9.30 am Korean time, coincided with the country’s National Day.
Punggye-ri has been the same site where North Korea has been conducting tests since 2006. The first was conducted in October 2006, the second in May 2009, the third in February 2013.
Both South Korea and Japan called emergency meetings to discuss the test. Exactly what kind so of material was used in the test is not yet known. The test also highlights that sanctions against North Korea has failed to reign in the country.