on January 5, 2016 10:20 pm
(Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
North Korea may have just conducted its fourth nuclear test since 2006. Seismic activity in the country was first detected by monitors in South Korea, which reported a 5.1 magnitude "artificial" earthquake around 9PM ET on Tuesday. Earthquake agencies in other countries noted the abnormalities in the apparent quake that point to a nuclear test — Japan's national meteorological agency said it had a particularly shallow focus point and a strange waveform, while according to the US Geological Survey, the epicenter of the quake occurred near the country's Punggye-ri nuclear test site.
North Korea last conducted a nuclear test in 2013 in an underground site 20 miles west of the town of Hoemun. The move was largely political — North Korea has infamously used its nuclear ambitions as part of its belligerent posture toward its rivals. The country has yet to confirm that it tested a new weapon today, but according to AFP, North Korean leadership is soon to make a "special" announcement.