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How Seismologists Are Keeping Tabs on North Korea's Missile Tests

How Seismologists Are Keeping Tabs on North Korea's Missile Tests Read Transcript


US intelligence has concluded that it's quote,

"highly probable" that North Korea did test a hydrogen

bomb last weekend.

But even before that test, one group of scientists

had been watching for earthquakes.

That's to see if the North Koreans might be

testing powerful new weapons.

Erik Rosales brings us that story.

When an earthquake happens, a seismologist

with the help of instruments can usually pinpoint its epicenter

and tell people how large it was.

But they do a lot more than that.

According to the Seismological Society of America,

most of what we know about North Korea's past nuclear tests

come directly from the work by seismologists.

[LOUD EARTH SHAKING]

These scientists study earthquakes and the energy

waves moving through the ground.

[EXPLOSION SOUND]

When a nuclear blast occurs, energy waves

are created and studying them can pinpoint

where the explosion happened.

On September 10th, 1996 the UN General Assembly

adopted the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty,

which banned nuclear explosions anywhere on earth,

preventing nuclear testing in the atmosphere, under water,

and even underground.

Our signature, along with that of Russia,

China, France, the United Kingdom,

and the vast majority of nations around the world,

will create an international barrier

against nuclear testing.

However North Korea's rogue regime is the only country

to ignore the rules.

Lassina Zerbo is the executive secretary of the Comprehensive

Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization,

located in Vienna, Austria.

It has more than 300 monitoring sites around the world.

He adds it was his organization that

discovered and relayed information

about North Korea's testing of nukes in 2006, 2009, and 2013.

And that data was sent to all 183

countries who were part of the organization

within a few hours--

faster than North Korea could go public about its own tests.

Countries get information like its location, its magnitude,

the time, and depth of the shock waves.

It's important to note, the organization

never tells a country which policies to create.

Scientists simply give the country its data

and let them reach their own conclusions.

Erik Rosales, CBN News, Washington.

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