Email The Conversation By Neil Wilkins, University of Bristol Posted September 04, 2017 11:41:24 Photo: Seismologists can determine whether shockwaves came from an explosion or an earthquake. (Reuters: Kim Hong-ji) Related Story: US warns of ‘massive military response’ after North Korea’s biggest nuke test Related Story: What can actually be done to deal with nuclear North Korea? Map: Korea, Democratic People’s Republic Of North Korea’s latest nuclear test — its biggest to date — sent seismic shockwaves around the world.Within hours, both South Korea and Japan were able to independently confirm the test was of a nuclear weapon.So what can seismic science tell us about such tests?History of forensic seismologyThe use of what’s called “forensic seismology” to detect and identify nuclear tests dates back almost to the birth of nuclear weapons themselves. In 1946, the US conducted the first underwater test of a nuclear bomb at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The shock waves created by the huge explosion were picked up at seismometers all over the world, and scientists realised that seismology could be used to monitor these kinds of tests.In 1963, at the height of the Cold War, nuclear testing moved underground. The seismic waves from underground… Read full this story
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