Latest North Korea nuclear test 5-6 times more powerful than the last: Seoul

A woman walks past a television screen showing a news report on North Korea's latest nuclear test, at a train station in Seoul on Sept 3, 2017.
A woman walks past a television screen showing a news report on North Korea's latest nuclear test, at a train station in Seoul on Sept 3, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

SEOUL (AFP) - The "artificial quake" in North Korea Sunday (Sept 3), which is claimed by North Korea as a successful hydrogen bomb test, was five to six times more powerful than the tremor from Pyongyang's fifth test, the South's weather agency said.

US monitors measured a 6.3-magnitude tremor near the North's main testing site site at Punggye-ri.

"The scale of the energy was five to six times more powerful than the fifth nuclear test," Lee Mi Sun, head of the Korea Meteorological Administration's earthquake and volcano centre, told a televised briefing.

Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University, gave a higher estimation of the power of the test.

"The power is 10 or 20 times or even more than previous ones. That scale is to the level where anyone can say a hydrogen bomb test."

The North carried out its first nuclear test in 2006, and successive blasts are believed to have been aimed at refining designs and reliability as well as increasing yield.

Its fifth detonation, in September last year, caused a 5.3-magnitude quake and according to Seoul had a 10-kiloton yield - still less than the 15-kiloton US device which destroyed Hiroshima in 1945.

Sunday's explosion came just hours after the North claimed to have developed a hydrogen bomb that could be loaded onto the country's new intercontinental ballistic missile.