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After 2 Earthquakes on Monday, Experts Say SK Still Safe From Strong Earthquakes

by YuGee / Sep 13, 2016 06:11 AM EDT
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JANUARY 06: Ko Yun-hwa, The Korea Meteorological Administration Administrator briefs seismic waves that were measured in South Korean cities, at the Korea Meteorological Administration center on January 6, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea.

On Monday evening, two strong earthquakes shook Gyeongju, a city in North Gyeongsang, 370 kilometers southeast of Seoul, Korea JoongAng Daily reported.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration, the first earthquake with a 5.1 magnitude, struck at 7:44 p.m. and was generally felt in the surrounding cities such as Ulsan, Daegu, Daejeon, and Busan. The second earthquake, which registered a 5.8 magnitude even affected the capital of Seoul.

KakaoTalk, a mobile app messenger that is used by more than 90 percent of smartphone users in South Korea, went out of service for a couple of hours after the initial earthquake. In a statement, its operator, Kako, said that the earthquake had "interrupted connection" to some of the app's servers which resulted in a delay in messaging.

Some high-speed KTX trains were grounded on the railway that connects Ulsan and Gyeongju while others are forced to slow down for a while. The trains resumed to their full speed shortly afterward.

In a related news from the Korea Herald, experts claimed that South Korea is still safe from strong earthquakes that could lead to extreme damage and major casualties. However, they also expressed concerns that the frequency of tremors that are being experienced by the citizens have increased over the past few years.

A researcher at Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM), Chi Heon Cheol said, "The latest earthquake seems to be linked to the massive quake that struck Japan in March 2011. Despite most earthquakes not being too dangerous, it is still worrisome that the numbers of such shocks have been rising." Chi also mentioned that the newest earthquake felt was caused by the strike-slip fault and that a release of energy from a side of the fault led to the quake in the country.

A professor at Yonsei University, Hong Tae Hyung, said more studies must be done to better estimate potential earthquakes that could occur in and around the country. He said, "The Gyeongju earthquake was the strongest one ever recorded in the country. The aftershocks of a major earthquake show a repetitive pattern of expansion. Monday's earthquake shows that the country is in an expanding phase, which can lead to the number of earthquakes rising."

Experts also said that the latest tremor took over the previous record made on January 8, 1980 when an earthquake with a 5.3 magnitude struck North Pyongan Province of North Korea. 

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