The United States Geological Survey reported an earthquake of 6.3-magnitude not far from North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site. South Korean authorities said the earthquake seemed to be artificial, consistent with a nuclear test. The USGS, as well as China Earthquake Networks Center, reported that the initial event was followed by a second, smaller, earthquake at the site, several minutes later, which was characterized as a collapse of the cavity.
|2017 North Korean nuclear test|
Graphic from the United States Geological Survey showing the location of seismic activity at the time of the test
|Test site||Coordinates: |
Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, Kilju County
|Period||12:00:01, 3 September 2017 UTC+08:30 (03:30:01 UTC)|
|Number of tests||1|
|Location of North Korea's Nuclear tests
1: 2006; 2: 2009; 3: 2013; 4: 2016-01; 5: 2016-09; 6: 2017;
The North Korean government announced that it had detonated a hydrogen (thermonuclear) bomb that could be loaded onto an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The announcement stated the warhead had a variable yield "the explosive power of which is adjustable from tens kiloton to hundreds kiloton ... which can be detonated even at high altitudes for super-powerful EMP attack". A later technical announcement called the device a "two-stage thermo-nuclear weapon" and stated experimental measurements were fully compatible with the design specification, and there had been no leakage of radioactive materials from the underground nuclear test.
Analysts have tended to give credence to North Korea's claim that it was a hydrogen bomb. 38 North made a revised estimate for the test yield at 250 kT, making it near the maximum-containable yield for the Punggye-ri test site. Tom Plant, director of proliferation and nuclear policy at the Royal United Services Institute said, "The North Koreans do bluff sometimes, but when they make a concrete claim about their nuclear programme, more often than not it turns out to be true. ... I think the balance is in favour of it being a thermonuclear bomb rather than a conventional atom bomb."
Others have been skeptical that it was a completely successful test of a true hydrogen bomb as North Korea claimed. Determining whether it is a two-stage thermonuclear bomb or a fusion-boosted fission weapon may not be possible without radionucleide emission data. The yield estimates of less than 300 kT would be lower than any other nation's first test of a fusion-primary thermonuclear device, which would typically be in the 1000 kT range, while boosted fission weapons and variable-yield nuclear devices can be as low as hundreds of tons, but are not considered true hydrogen bombs; meanwhile the largest pure-fission bomb tested was Ivy King at 500 kT. An October 2 Scientific American article said the test was "estimated to have been a 160-kiloton detonation — far below an H-bomb's capabilities." Martin Navias of the Centre for Defence Studies at King's College London noted that the breakthroughs needed to get from a fission to a fusion device would have to be done by the North Koreans on their own – China, Russia, Pakistan, and Iran would not or could not help.
As of January 2018 there have been no official announcements from the United States confirming or contradicting the detonation of a hydrogen bomb. However, on 15 September 2017 John E. Hyten, head of U.S. Strategic Command, said, "When I look at a thing this size, I as a military officer assume that it's a hydrogen bomb."
On the day of the test the chief of the South Korean parliament's defense committee, Kim Young-Woo, stated the nuclear yield was equivalent to about 100 kilotons of TNT (100 kt): "The North's latest test is estimated to have a yield of up to 100 kilotons, though it is a provisional report." The independent seismic monitoring agency NORSAR estimated that the blast had a yield of about 120 kilotons, based on a seismic magnitude of 5.8.
On 4 September, the academics from the University of Science and Technology of China released their findings based on seismic results and concluded that the nuclear test occurred at at 03:30 UTC, only a few hundred meters from the four previous tests (2009, 2013, January 2016 and September 2016) with the estimated yield at 108.1 ± 48.1 kt.
On 5 September, the Japanese government gave a yield estimate of about 160 kilotons, based on analysing Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization seismic data, replacing an early estimate of 70 kilotons.
On 6 September, an early assessment by U.S. Intelligence that the yield was 140 kilotons, with an undisclosed margin of error, was reported. On 13 September, U.S. Intelligence was reported referring to an early yield estimate range of 70 to 280 kilotons made by the Air Force Technical Applications Center.
On 12 September, NORSAR revised its estimate of the earthquake magnitude upward to 6.1, matching that of the CTBTO, but less powerful than the USGS estimate of 6.3. Its yield estimate was revised to 250 kilotons, while noting the estimate had some uncertainty and an undisclosed margin of error.
On 13 September, an analysis of before and after synthetic-aperture radar satellite imagery of the test site was published suggesting the test occurred under 900 metres (3,000 ft) of rock and the yield "could have been in excess of 300 kilotons".
US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: "North Korea has conducted a major nuclear test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States". Trump was asked whether the U.S. would attack North Korea and replied: "We'll see." Defense Secretary James Mattis warned North Korea that it would be met with a "massive military response" if it threatened the United States or its allies.
The Chinese wouldn't help them today, nor would the Russians, and neither Pakistan nor Iran have the necessary level of expertise. ... I would say they've done it independently, just moving forward a bit at a time
was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar, the 2017th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 17th year of the 3rd millennium, the 17th year of the 21st century, and the 8th year of the 2010s decade.
2017 was designated as International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development by the United Nations General Assembly.2017 in North Korea
In the year 2017, North Korea was involved in the 2017 North Korea crisis, along with other events. The country conducted a nuclear test in September, and several missile tests throughout the year. One of these was the country's first successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Hwasong-14. Two missiles were launched over Hokkaido in the Japanese archipelago, in August and in September 2017.2017–18 North Korea crisis
The 2017–18 North Korean crisis was a period of heightened tension between North Korea and the United States throughout 2017 and half of 2018, which began when North Korea conducted a series of missile and nuclear tests that demonstrated the country's ability to launch ballistic missiles beyond its immediate region and suggested that North Korea's nuclear weapons capability was developing at a faster rate than had been assessed by the U.S. intelligence community.This, as well as a regular joint U.S.–South Korea military exercise undertaken in August 2017 and U.S. threats, raised international tensions in the region and beyond. During 2017, North Korea conducted its sixth nuclear test in early September, and heated rhetoric was exchanged, stoking fears about a possible war.
While the tensions were mostly between the United States, North Korea threatened Australia twice with nuclear strikes throughout 2017, accusing them of siding with the U.S. and 'blindly' following them. By the beginning of 2018, however, tensions began to ease dramatically, with North Korea announcing the restoration of the Seoul–Pyongyang hotline and agreeing to hold talks with South Korea about participation at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Diplomatic activity flourished during the next few months, with the suspension of nuclear and missile tests by North Korea, and the 2018 inter-Korean summit in late April which culminated in the signing of the Panmunjom Declaration on April 27, 2018. An unprecedented bilateral summit between Kim and Trump was held in Singapore on 12 June 2018. It resulted in a joint declaration calling for the "full denuclearization of the Korean peninsula". A second summit between Kim and Trump took place in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 27–28, 2019.Induced seismicity
Induced seismicity refers to typically minor earthquakes and tremors that are caused by human activity that alters the stresses and strains on the Earth's crust. Most induced seismicity is of a low magnitude. A few sites regularly have larger quakes, such as The Geysers geothermal plant in California which averaged two M4 events and 15 M3 events every year from 2004 to 2009.Results of ongoing multi-year research on induced earthquakes by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) published in 2015 suggested that most of the significant earthquakes in Oklahoma, such as the 1952 magnitude 5.7 El Reno earthquake may have been induced by deep injection of waste water by the oil industry. "Earthquake rates have recently increased markedly in multiple areas of the Central and Eastern United States (CEUS), especially since 2010, and scientific studies have linked the majority of this increased activity to wastewater injection in deep disposal wells."Induced seismicity can also be caused by the injection of carbon dioxide as the storage step of carbon capture and storage, which aims to sequester carbon dioxide captured from fossil fuel production or other sources in earth’s crust as a means of climate change mitigation. This effect has been observed in Oklahoma and Saskatchewan. Though safe practices and existing technologies can be utilized to reduce the risk of induced seismicity due to injection of carbon dioxide, the risk is still significant if the storage is large in scale. The consequences of the induced seismicity could disrupt preexisting faults in the Earth’s crust as well as compromise the seal integrity of the storage locations.The seismic hazard from induced seismicity can be assessed using similar techniques as for natural seismicity, although accounting for non-stationary seismicity. It appears that earthquake shaking from induced earthquakes is similar to that observed in natural tectonic earthquakes, although differences in the depth of the rupture need to be taken into account. This means that ground-motion models derived from recordings of natural earthquakes, which are often more numerous in strong-motion databases than data from induced earthquakes, can be used. Subsequently, a risk assessment can be performed, taking account of the seismic hazard and the vulnerability of the exposed elements at risk (e.g. local population and the building stock). Finally, the risk can, theoretically at least, be mitigated, either through modifications to the hazard or a reduction to the exposure or the vulnerability.Korean People's Army
The Korean People's Army (KPA; Chosŏn'gŭl: 조선인민군; MR: Chosŏn inmin'gun, lit. "Korean People's Military") is an institution of the Workers' Party of Korea, and constitutes the de facto military forces of North Korea. Under the Songun policy, it is the central institution of North Korean community. Kim Jong-un is its Supreme Commander and the Chairman of the Central Military Commission. The KPA consists of five branches: Ground Force, the Navy, the Air Force, the Strategic Rocket Forces, and the Special Operation Force.
The KPA faces its primary adversaries, the South Korean military and United States Forces Korea, across the Korean Demilitarized Zone, as it has since the Armistice Agreement of July 1953. As of 2016, with 5,889,000 paramilitary personnel, it is the largest paramilitary organization on Earth. This number serves as 25% of the North Korean population.List of North Korean missile tests
There have been a number of North Korean missile tests. North Korea has also fired a number of short-range missiles into the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea), in what have been interpreted as political gestures.As of 30 November 2017, North Korea has carried out 117 tests of strategic missiles since its first such test in 1984. 15 were carried out under the rule of Kim Il-sung and 16 under Kim Jong-il. Under Kim Jong-un, more than 80 tests have been undertaken.Mantapsan
Mantapsan (or Mount Mant'ap, Chosŏn'gŭl: 만탑산) is a mountain in the south of North Hamgyong Province in North Korea. The granite peak, which reaches an elevation of 2,205 m (7,234 ft), is part of the Hamgyong Mountains. It is located on the border between Kilju County, Myŏnggan County and Orang County.
Political prisoners were reportedly forced to dig tunnels into the southern side of the mountain, at the nuclear test site near P'unggye-ri. The horizontal tunnels are believed to be two to three meters wide and high and hundreds of meters long. This is where the detonations of the North Korean nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016 occurred.International analysts believe that the sixth and largest explosion, to this date the last, "made the mountain bulge sideways by about 12 feet and collapse vertically by about a foot and a half", with one seismologist describing the subsequent reaction as the mountain "pancaking".Hwasong concentration camp, at 549 km2 (212 sq mi) the largest North Korean concentration camp, is located between Mantapsan and Myŏnggan (Hwasŏng).Nuclear weapon yield
The explosive yield of a nuclear weapon is the amount of energy released when that particular nuclear weapon is detonated, usually expressed as a TNT equivalent (the standardized equivalent mass of trinitrotoluene which, if detonated, would produce the same energy discharge), either in kilotons (kt—thousands of tons of TNT), in megatons (Mt—millions of tons of TNT), or sometimes in terajoules (TJ). An explosive yield of one terajoule is equal to 0.239 kilotonnes of TNT. Because the accuracy of any measurement of the energy released by TNT has always been problematic, the conventional definition is that one kiloton of TNT is held simply to be equivalent to 1012 calories.
The yield-to-weight ratio is the amount of weapon yield compared to the mass of the weapon. The practical maximum yield-to-weight ratio for fusion weapons (thermonuclear weapons) has been estimated to six megatons of TNT per metric ton of bomb mass (25 TJ/kg). Yields of 5.2 megatons/ton and higher have been reported for large weapons constructed for single-warhead use in the early 1960s. Since then, the smaller warheads needed to achieve the increased net damage efficiency (bomb damage/bomb mass) of multiple warhead systems have resulted in decreases in the yield/mass ratio for single modern warheads.Nuclear weapons testing
Nuclear weapons tests are experiments carried out to determine the effectiveness, yield, and explosive capability of nuclear weapons. Throughout the twentieth century, most nations that developed nuclear weapons tested them. Testing nuclear weapons can yield information about how the weapons work, as well as how the weapons behave under various conditions and how personnel, structures, and equipment behave when subjected to nuclear explosions. Nuclear testing has often been used as an indicator of scientific and military strength, and many tests have been overtly political in their intention; most nuclear weapons states publicly declared their nuclear status by means of a nuclear test.
The first nuclear device was detonated as a test by the United States at the Trinity site on July 16, 1945, with a yield approximately equivalent to 20 kilotons of TNT. The first thermonuclear weapon technology test of an engineered device, codenamed "Ivy Mike", was tested at the Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands on November 1, 1952 (local date), also by the United States. The largest nuclear weapon ever tested was the "Tsar Bomba" of the Soviet Union at Novaya Zemlya on October 30, 1961, with the largest yield ever seen, an estimated 50–58 megatons.
In 1963, three (UK, US, Soviet Union) of the four nuclear states and many non-nuclear states signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, pledging to refrain from testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater, or in outer space. The treaty permitted underground nuclear testing. France continued atmospheric testing until 1974, and China continued until 1980. Neither has signed the treaty.Underground tests in the United States continued until 1992 (its last nuclear test), the Soviet Union until 1990, the United Kingdom until 1991, and both China and France until 1996. In signing the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996, these states have pledged to discontinue all nuclear testing; the treaty has not yet entered into force because of failure to be ratified by eight countries. Non-signatories India and Pakistan last tested nuclear weapons in 1998. North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016, and 2017. The most recent confirmed nuclear test occurred in September 2017 in North Korea.Timeline of the North Korean nuclear program
This chronology of the North Korean nuclear program has its roots in the 1950s and begins in earnest in 1989 with the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the main economic ally of North Korea. The Chronology mainly addresses the conflict between the United States and North Korea, while including the influences of the other members of the six-party talks: China, Russia, South Korea, and Japan.
The North Korean nuclear program can roughly be divided into four phases. Phase I (1956–80) dealt primarily with training and gaining basic knowledge. Phase II (1980–94) covers the growth and eventual suspension of North Korea's domestic plutonium production program. Phase III (1994–2002) covers the period of the "freeze" on North Korea's plutonium program (though North Korea pursued uranium enrichment in secret) and Phase IV (2002–present) covers the current period of renewed nuclear activities.United Nations Security Council Resolution 2375
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2375 was adopted on 11 September 2017. The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted a new sanctions resolution against North Korea, a response to its sixth nuclear test on September 3. The resolution reduces about 30% of oil provided to North Korea by cutting off over 55% of refined petroleum products going to North Korea.Vancouver Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on Korean Peninsula
The Vancouver Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on Security and Stability on Korean Peninsula was held on January 16th, 2018 in Vancouver, Canada. The meeting was to allow "foreign ministers to discuss ways to increase the effectiveness of the global sanctions regime in support of a rules-based international order."