Earthquake with magnitude of 5.8 detected near North Korea

A 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit an area about 100 miles from the North Korean coast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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The quake occurred below the surface of the East Sea, also known as the Sea of Japan, Yonhap reported Thursday, local time.

The quake also originated at a point about 311 miles below the seabed. John Bellini at USGS told Yonhap there is “no way it was caused by a nuclear test.”
Artificial quakes have taken place in areas of North Korea, following underground nuclear tests at the Punggye-ri site.

A 5.0-magnitude earthquake was detected near the site following North Korea’s fifth nuclear test last September, and an artificial earthquake of 5.0-magnitude was recorded following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January 2016.

The underwater quake that registered early Thursday at 4:18 a.m. near North Korea may have initially raised suspicions Pyongyang had conducted a sixth nuclear test, according to Yonhap.

The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center confirmed a 5.9-magnitude earthquake about 100 miles from the North Korean city of Chongjin.

Japan’s meteorological agency reported a 6.3-magnitude earthquake, but did not issue a tsunami warning.

In Seoul, South Korean government agencies have challenged North Korea’s claim of a “successful” Fourth of July ICBM test.

The National Intelligence Service said Tuesday Pyongyang has not fully secured the development of an ICBM, according to South Korean lawmaker Yi Wan-young who was briefed on the matter.

By Elizabeth Shim