Scientists told what happened to the “nuclear mountain” in the DPRK

Scientists told what happened to the "nuclear mountain" in the DPRK

Broadcast news release with North Korean nuclear test personnel at the railway station in Seoul

MOSCOW, May 10 – RIA Novosti. The last nuclear tests conducted by the DPRK under Mount Mantapsan in September last year did not destroy the test site, but led to the fact that it "swelled" in the side by 3.5 meters and sagged by 50 centimeters, physicists claim in an article published in the journal Science.

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"The height of the mountain can decrease even more, since the process of its compression, which began after the explosion, has not yet been completed. Our data show that the explosion occurred at a depth of about 450 meters from the top of Mantapsana and evaporated so many rocks that could be placed on a football stadium. For a moment he lifted the height of the mountain by 3-4 meters"”Said Douglas Dreger of the University of California at Berkeley, USA.

North Korea has become "illegal" a nuclear power in October 2006 after its military and scientists conducted the first underground nuclear explosion, undermining a small nuclear warhead with a capacity of 1-2 kilotons at the Pungery training ground under Mount Mantapsan. In subsequent years, the DPRK military conducted five more tests.

The last of them took place on September 3, 2017, when the North Korean authorities announced a successful test of a thermonuclear warhead with a capacity of several hundred kilotons. Special services and scientists from all over the world followed this challenge to the international community. Both those and others recorded unusual strangeness – seismometers found traces of not one, but two explosions, which caused earthquakes of magnitude 5.2 and 4.5 on the MMS scale.

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Nevertheless, KTAK and other official DPRK press agencies reported only one explosion, which led scientists, politicians and experts to argue about what really happened under Mount Mantapsan. The oils were added to the fire by the messages of the Japanese television and radio company Asahi TV, which claimed that the explosion led to the collapse of the tunnel that led to the central chamber of the test site, its failure and the death of two hundred people, including leading specialists in the nuclear program.

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Дрегер and its colleagues have checked up these statements, having taken advantage of that at once two geodetic satellites, German apparatus TerraSAR-X and its Japanese "colleague" ALOS-2 flew over the mountain of Mantapsan at the time of the explosion. Both of these probes are equipped with powerful 3D radars, which enabled scientists to obtain three-dimensional "casts" mountains before the test and immediately after it.

Comparing these pictures, physicists could localize the place where the explosion occurred, calculate its exact power, understand what caused the second seismic shock and assess the overall consequences of the explosion.

As it turned out, the hydrogen bomb was located almost directly under the top of the mountain, and had a capacity of about 170-300 kilotons of TNT equivalent. Similar values ​​are close to those reported by the authorities of the DPRK and the Chinese government, but disagree with the predictions of seismologists who believed that the bomb was weaker and located one kilometer to the northeast of the actual site of the blast.

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The second source of tremors, as shown by physicists, appeared about 8.5 minutes after the first explosion and was about 700 meters south of the hydrogen bomb, closer to the surface of the mountain. These fluctuations, according to scientists, arose as a result of the collapse of a small underground cave that arose after previous explosions, or part of the tunnel through which the bomb was delivered to the center of Mantapsana.

This collapse, according to Dreger, hardly made the landfill unfit for work and led to massive loss of life. According to him, only half of the tunnel collapsed, and the remaining parts of the complex remained untouched, and the damage in the rocks of the mountain itself was not as large as that indicated only by seismic data.


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