North Korea 'artificial' quake believed to be nuclear test


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/09/08/north-korea.html


#2

All this hysteria of terrorism, while rogue states continue to make out like bandits unhindered.

WTF. Forget Iraq and Afghanistan, where’s Team America when it comes to Iran and South Korea? And bloody Israel, for that matter?

Fucking sick of being told to look out for the boogeyman while actual danger looms elsewhere.


#3

Nuclear test or possibly fracking.


#4

If this is indeed an explosion, the USGS National Earthquake Information Center cannot determine what type of explosion it may be, whether nuclear or any other possible type.

Don’t I recall reading the seismographs absolutely can tell a nuclear test from, say, a whole lot of dynamite? This statement might be for political reasons. Also, doesn’t Kim look like something of a short-fingered vulgarian?


#5

I’d hazard an uneducated guess that a lot of high explosives have a single distinct P-wave, while nukes have at least two. One for the explosive lens, and one for the actual nuclear fission explosion.


#6

It’s unbelievable! How does that guy get his shirts so white?


#7

My apologies, I’ve been drinking.


#8

We’ve been kicking this can down the road for generations. Something has got to change. Pyongyang holds Seoul hostage, not to nukes, just regular heavy artillery, because its so close to the DMZ. So it easy to do nothing and just hope things get better on their own, but that strategy does not seem to be working…

Maybe we should actually sign an official peace treaty instead of an armistice. I’m no expert, but I like to think I know a little more about the DPRK than the average yanqui. Being at war with the US seems to be the defining principle of their internal politics. If we could make that go away it might destablize them enough to collapse their current system and reunification might then become a possibility.

Either that or convince the Chinese to put their own puppet in charge. They seem to be really annoyed that we’ve been putting missile defense systems in the area. Removing those could be the carrot China needs to take their own action against the current regime.


#9

it looks like kim jong un rolled out of bed for this one. “couldn’t we do it in the afternoon?”


#10

He looks thinner too.


#11

The explosive in a nuke is only a few kilos, and must happen something of the order of a tenth of a millisecond before the main event. I doubt that seismographs are sensitive enough to distinguish the two.


#12

Yeah. That’s certainly true.

How about a different angle? An actual ton of explosives takes up a lot of space.

Here’s Operation Sailor Hat’s pile:

That’s 500 short tons of TNT meant to simulate a nuclear explosion with conventional explosives. It’s 20 feet high and 40 feet wide.

A nuclear bomb, say Fat Man on the other hand, can yield the equivalent of 21,000 tons of TNT, and Fat man was 10 feet 8 inches long, and 5 feet in diameter.

So, where I’m going with this is, it takes time for an explosion to propagate. The compact nature of even an enormous nuclear device will mean the explodey bit of the explosion will be over with quickly, while with conventional explosives, their nature of being much less energetically dense means the explodey part could take measurably longer to happen as the shockwave propagates through the material.


#13

Kim Jong-un is a great leader. He’s been a leader far more than our president has been a leader. He has great control over his country. Great control. He has an 82% approval rating.


#14

That’s all good healthy speculation, but when the USGS says…

If this is indeed an explosion, the USGS National Earthquake Information Center cannot determine what type of explosion it may be, whether nuclear or any other possible type.

… I’m willing to bet they already thought of this stuff. I imagine that because the waves are travelling underground through a range of materials with different densities that the signal is fairly blurred by the time it arrives at your measuring equipment in the next country over.


#15

It’s speculation. I’m spitballing. I’m not qualified in any related field. Not a geologist or nuclear weapons expert or anything.

Just looking for a job here


#16

Yah, me too. I just made up “blurry signal” but I bet it’s totally a thing.


#17

Ditching the seismology, what about neutrino observatories? Maybe they could pick up the signal. It’s not like the earth is really a thing to them.


#18

I mean sure, I already didn’t know what I was talking about so let’s keep going. I think the problem is that the earth isn’t really a thing to neutrinos and neither is your sensor. Neutrinos are hard to detect and you’d be lucky to pick up a single particle from a nuclear event.

I found this Wikipedia article about a neutrino observatory in Antarctica (they have a neutrino observatory in Antarctica? Neat), which mentions:

IceCube is sensitive mostly to high energy neutrinos, in the range of 1011 to about 1021 eV. Estimates predict a neutrino event about every 20 minutes in the fully constructed IceCube detector.

And:

[after three years’ operation] it was announced that IceCube had detected 28 neutrinos that likely originated outside of the Solar System.

So not exactly a continuous feed of radioactivity around the globe. Maybe if you cranked up the sensitivity it could do something for you, though I have no idea how crankable the sensitivity might be on one of these kajiggers.


#19

I’m quite the novice in N Korea politics but honestly is there ever an end game to what they do? Seems just a lot of phony posturing with literally no reasoning other than LOOK AT ME I’M BAD / STRONG / A POSSIBLE (not really) WORLD THREAT LOOOOOOOOKKKKKK!!!


#20

South Korea is already invaded by the US Army - even more boots on the ground than Iraq or Afghanistan ; )

But the pattern is rather clear: If a country owns nuclear weapons* (like Iran or North Korea) a democratisation by bombing is unlikey. I understand why proliferation is mostly dead, the deal (no war of aggression, economic cooperation for dismantling WMD programs) was off after the USSR collapsed.

* eta: this was too sloppy as wording. “owns or suspected to own” would have been better