NORTH KOREA Claims to Have Successfully Tested H-Bomb [First estimate of the Yield]

“The institute recently succeeded in making a more developed nuke. Kim Jong-un watched an H-bomb to be loaded into a new ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile).”

KCNA — North Korea State News Agency

Sunday September 3 2017

North Korea said on Sunday it has developed a more advanced nuclear weapon that has “great destructive power” and leader Kim Jong Un inspected a hydrogen bomb that will be loaded on a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Considering the magnitude of the event as reported by the US Geological Survey,  I have estimated the yield of the device at about 126.8 kilotons of TNT equivalent. However the estimate based on the data reported by South Korea is much lower. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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Pyongyang said it had tested a hydrogen bomb – a device many times more powerful than an atomic bomb.

Analysts say the claims should be treated with caution, but its nuclear capability is clearly advancing.

Initial reports from the US Geological Survey put the tremor at 5.6 magnitude with a depth of 10km (six miles) but this was later upgraded to 6.3 magnitude at 0km. This would make it the North’s most powerful nuclear test to date.

Bruce Bennett, a defence analyst at public policy group the Rand Corporation, told the BBC that the size of the tremor was significant.

“If it really does prove out to be 6.3, that’s a very big weapon, much bigger”.

“It’s still not a true hydrogen bomb but it’s certainly much closer to that than anything they have ever done before.”

CTBTO Preliminary Statement

The Director of the CTBTO has issued the following statement:

Vienna, 3 September 2017

“Our monitoring stations picked up an unusual seismic event in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) today at 03:30 (UTC). So far over 100 of our stations are contributing to the analysis. The event seems to have been larger than the one our system recorded in September last year and the location is very similar to that event. Our initial location estimate shows that the event took place in the area of the DPRK’s nuclear test site. ( 03-SEP-2017 03:30:06 LAT=41.3 LON=129.1 )

Our experts are now analysing the event to establish more about its nature and we are preparing to brief our Member States today in Vienna.

“If confirmed as a nuclear test, this act would indicate that the DPRK’s nuclear programme is advancing rapidly. (…) “

The Facts

The USGS is reporting a Magnitude 6.3 event near the site where North Korea has detonated nuclear explosions in the past.

Magnitude       uncertainty
6.3 mb               ± 0.0

Location                            uncertainty
41.343°N 129.036°E      ± 6.1 km

Depth     uncertainty
0.0 km   ± 1.7

Origin Time
2017-09-03 03:30:01.940 UTC

Yield of the explosion

Based on Nevada underground explosion tests conducted in granite, the magnitude of body waves is proportional to the logarithm of the yield in kilotons:

Mb = 4.26 +0.97 log (Y).

The yield T is expressed in kilotons unit. A kilotons is equivalent to 1,000 tons of TNT.

According to the above equation, the magnitude reported by the US Geological Survey translate in a yield of 126.8 kilotons of TNT equivalent.

Data from South Korea

South Korea Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected a 5.7-magnitude earthquake around 12:39 p.m. at North Korea’ nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, Kilju-gun, North Hamgyong Province. It said the earthquake was artificial. The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) also detected the artificial seismic event.

Both the JCS and KMA initially announced that the quake had a magnitude at 5.6 but corrected it to 5.7.

The magnitude reported by the JCS and KMA is significantly lower than the 6.3 published by the USGS. No exact yield was announced so far.

“I can’t predetermine, but it is believed to be 100 kilotons at the most,” said Rep. Kim Young-woo, who chairs the National Assembly National Defense Committee.

However, based on the above equation, I estimated that the magnitude reported by the JCS and KMA translate in a yield of 30.5 kilotons of TNT equivalent.

North Korea claims new bomb has ‘great destructive power’

REFERENCES

North Korea nuclear test: Hydrogen bomb ‘missile-ready’ — BBC News

N. Korea claims successful H-bomb test for ICBM  — Korea Times

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NORTH KOREA Claims to Have Successfully Tested H-Bomb [First estimate of the Yield]

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