On February 12, 2013 the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) carried out an announced nuclear test, which was the third after tests conducted in 2006 and 2009. An important task in discriminating a man-made explosion and a natural tectonic earthquake is the analysis of seismic waveforms. To determine the isotropic and non-isotropic characteristics of the detonation source, I invert long-period seismic data for the full seismic moment tensor to match the observed seismic signals by synthetic waveforms based on a 3D earth model.
Here, I show that the inversion of long-period seismic data of the 2013 test reveals a clear explosive (isotropic) component combined with a significant release of shear energy by the double-couple part of the moment tensor. While the isotropic part of the nuclear test in 2009 was similar to that in 2013, the double-couple part was lower by a factor of 0.55 compared to the explosion in 2013.
Moreover, the ratio of the isotropic seismic moments of the 2013 and 2009 nuclear tests is 1.4±0.1 and lower than published estimations of the yield ratio, which indicates the importance of considering the relea ... mehrse of shear energy. The determined orientation of the double-couple fault plane is parallel to the dominating geologic fault structures NNE-SSW to NE-SW, but the calculated normal faulting mechanism does not correspond to the general tectonic strike-slip regime. Thus, explanations for the enhanced release of shear energy might be induced dip-slip motion pre-stressed by the previous test or near source damaging effects due to a changed containment of the nuclear explosion.