"The event has quake like characteristics, however, we can not conclusively confirm at this time the nature of the event".
South Korea has detected a fourth small natural disaster near North Korea's main nuclear test site after the country's sixth and most powerful nuclear test explosion last month. According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the quake originated some 10 kilometers away from where the communist regime conducted its sixth and largest nuclear detonation.
It was centred very close to North Korea's Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, which previous weapons tests have been detected at through the earthquakes they generate.
Maps showing the epicentre of a 2.9 quake in North Korea, left, along with the location of the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site, right.
The quake took place at 16.41 (UTC) at an estimated depth of 5km, and while the USGS said the quake appeared natural, it did not rule out the possibility of a nuclear test.
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September's nuclear test was so strong that it shook buildings in Russian Federation and China and was described as a "perfect success" by North Korea's state-run media.
"I think the Punggye-ri region is now pretty saturated".
Hong Tae-kyung, a professor of earth system science at Yonsei University in Seoul, said: "The reason why Punggye-ri has become North Korea's nuclear testing field is because this area was considered stable and rarely saw tremors in the past".
All of North Korea's nuclear explosions since 2006 caused earthquakes with a magnitude of 4.3 or above. On September 3, Pyongyang announced a successful test of a hydrogen bomb. Since North Korea began testing its nuclear capabilities, experts have debated whether explosions at Punggye-ri could trigger another volcanic eruption.