North Korea Bomb Meme 1
Every time I hear about North Korea doing bomb testing, I can't help but think they're such try-hards. Twitter/StephenMauriceGraham

Given North Korea’s history of exaggerating its military claims to achieve its political ends, a forensic seismologist has suggested using science to ascertain if its latest test was actually a Hydrogen bomb.

According to Terry Wallace, principal associate director at Global Security, the specific characteristics of seismic energy are among the most important analytical factors in finding out exactly what made the earth move, whether North Korea blew up the bomb or it happened underground. “When you squeeze or stretch a rock, it propagates just like sound does,” says Wallace, who solves geopolitical mysteries by looking at signatures in the earth.

Based on analysis, most experts believe that the three previous tests reported by North Korea were atomic bombs and not hydrogen bombs. The difference between the two is that normal atomic bombs reply solely on fission (splitting an atom) to release energy, while hydrogen bombs use nuclear fusion (melding atoms together) to release much more explosive energy.

To ascertain the reason behind an explosion, seismologists take recordings from multiple sensors. The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (the agency responsible for monitoring atomic blasts) currently has 42 certified seismic stations distributed around the globe (plus over 100 auxiliary stations) to record any explosions.

The presence of radionuclides is one way of finding out if there has been a hydrogen bomb explosion. It is the ratio between different radionuclides that helps ascertain this, says Randy Bell, Director of International Data Center for CTBTO.

Analysts can also look at weather models to see how particles might have travelled in the wind to find out the nature of any explosion, reports

The speculation over the nature of the North Korean test comes as the United Nations prepares to implement "significant" punitive measures against the country, reports the CNN. The UN will begin working on a new resolution "immediately," a statement released by Security Council President Elbio Rosselli states.