North Korea's sixth nuclear test blast in 2017 was seventeen times more powerful than the atomic bomb detonated over Hiroshima in 1945, according to a paper published in the Geophysical Journal International.
A trio of scientists from the Indian Space Research Organization used satellite posters to estimate the size of the hole left by the North Korean bomb to calculate how much energy was released.
The eruption exploded a 132-meter-long pit in the northeast region near the Nuclear Testing site in Punjab, which led the team to believe the thermonuclear bomb fired 245 to 271 kilotons of TNT. By comparison, a little boy, the one who fell over Hiroshima, exploded with energy equivalent to 15 kilos of TNT.
The data were captured from the ALOS-2 satellite launched by Fasa, the Japanese space agency, using a technique called Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry for imaging. Radar readings showed that Mount Montap, a granite mountain near the nuclear test site, moved part of its surface within a few meters and one side of the post-blast site.
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Nuclear bombs normally detect seismometers. The eruptions have telling signs that its measurements beneath the surface of the earth are artificial rather than natural earthquakes. But satellites like ALOS-2 allow researchers to study secret nuclear tests when they do not have access to seismic data.
"Satellite-based radars are very powerful tools for measuring changes in the surface of the earth and allow us to estimate the location and yield of underground nuclear tests," said KM Straight, lead author of the study. "Unlike conventional seismology, estimates are indirect and depend on the availability of seismic monitoring stations."
The team is hoping that more satellites, including the upcoming NASA-ISRO Synthetic Radar Aperture, or NISAR for short, will help track events related to nuclear explosions. NISAR is expected to catch major changes in the country's environment, such as ice sheet collapse or landslides. NASA hopes to launch the satellite in 2022
Wireless Computer London – November 6-8, 2019