North Korea’s nuclear tests are not only raising fears around the world, they are causing the peak under which the bombs are being detonated to suffer “tired mountain syndrome.”
Analysts are seeing signs that Mount Mantap, the 7,200-foot-high peak under which the tests are conducted, is suffering from the geologic malady, the Washington Post reported.
During a massive detonation that triggered a 6.3-magnitude earthquake, the mountain visibly shifted. Since then, the region, which is not known for natural seismic activity, has had three more quakes.
“What we are seeing from North Korea looks like some kind of stress in the ground,” said Paul G. Richards, a seismologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “In that part of the world, there were stresses in the ground, but the explosions have shaken them up.”
Chinese scientists have raised the alarm that additonal nuclear tests could cause Mount Mantap to collapse and release the radiation from the blast.
North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests since 2006, all of them under Mount Mantap at a site known as the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Facility.
Using satellite images, intelligence analysts and experts keep tabs on movement at the three entrances to tunnels for signals that a test is imminent.
After the latest test, on Sept. 3, dictator Kim Jong Un’s rogue regime claimed it had set off a hydrogen bomb and that it had been a “perfect success.”
Analysis group 38 North published images that showed “more numerous and widespread” disturbances at the site of the test than before, the BBC reported.
38 North said the pictures showed landslides as well as numerous areas of gravel and stone fields that were “lofted” by the tremors.
Lofting occurs when shockwaves force material to be ejected from the ground, and the material falls back down in the same place.
This story originally appeared in the New York Post.