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The 4.8 magnitude earthquake near Buan marked the largest earthquake in Korea this year

The 4.8 magnitude earthquake near Buan marked the largest earthquake in Korea this year
The 4.8 magnitude earthquake near Buan marked the largest earthquake in Korea this year


The epicenter of the 4.8-magnitude quake is shown four kilometers outside Buan, North Jeolla, on this map provided by the Korea Meteorological Administration. [NEWS1]

The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) announced that a 4.8-magnitude earthquake struck four kilometers (2.5 miles) outside Buan City in North Jeolla on Wednesday morning.

Wednesday's earthquake was the largest on the Korean Peninsula and the surrounding area so far this year. This was also the first time in more than a year that a 4.5-magnitude earthquake occurred near Korea, since the quake struck 52 kilometers off the coast of Donghae, Gangwon, on May 15 last year. An emergency earthquake alert was issued via text message at 8:27 a.m. The Korea Meteorological Agency initially estimated the magnitude of the quake at 4.7 but revised it to 4.8 after additional analysis.

Students at a high school near Buan gather outside the school building where emergency warnings were issued after the earthquake. [JEONBUK STATE OFFICE OF EDUCATION]

More than 290 reports of shaking caused by the first earthquake were received across the country as of Wednesday afternoon. Most reports came from the Jeolla and Chungcheong regions, but reports also came from the Gyeonggi region and seven of Seoul. No injuries or casualties were immediately reported. However, the wall of a warehouse in Buan was left cracked, and the window of a residence in Haseo-myun near Buan was damaged. Additional reports of property damage in North Jeolla included a crack in the floor of an underground parking lot at a guest house near Buan and an exterior wall in Iksan left leaning sideways. Some school facilities in Bouan suffered other damage, with a cafeteria roof structure falling at an elementary school and a room at a middle school destroyed.

A wall at a Buan Myun warehouse near Buan is showing cracks after a 4.8-magnitude earthquake struck on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

An official from the North Jeolla Fire Department said on Wednesday morning: “It has been confirmed that there have been no casualties due to the earthquake so far.” “We maintain our readiness to respond immediately to prepare for potential emergencies.” Citizens heading to work on Wednesday were shocked when the earthquake struck, with many expressing their surprise and concern on social media. “I thought there was an explosion,” one post on X, formerly Twitter, said, while another said: “The whole building shook, I've never felt anything like this before.” Four schools closed their doors on Wednesday, and many chose to resume online classes.

An employee at the Buan Celadon Museum clears debris from the exhibition space after Wednesday's earthquake. [NEWS1]

Wednesday's quake was also the 16th strongest nationwide based on instrument observations and the 12th strongest since 1999 when digital observations began. The epicenter of the quake was at 35.70 degrees north latitude and 126.71 degrees east longitude in Jingdong-ri, Haingan-myun and Puan. Its depth is estimated at eight kilometers. President Yeon Suk-yul, who is currently on a visit to Kazakhstan, was informed of the earthquake and ordered relevant ministries to “quickly identify damage to national infrastructure and take all necessary measures, including conducting safety inspections.” Prime Minister Han Dak Su also issued an emergency response order to relevant ministries regarding the earthquake.

Fallen tiles were seen near Jihwa-myeon, Buan, after a 4.8-magnitude earthquake struck on Wednesday. [NEWS1]

Han ordered the Ministry of the Interior and Safety to carefully manage the overall situation, inform residents of action plans so that they can quickly evacuate when danger signs are detected in preparation for additional aftershocks, and conduct a comprehensive inspection and prepare for the expected operating condition and warning facilities. In addition, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Science and the Ministry of Lands were required to inspect national infrastructure such as nuclear power plants, electricity, communications and transportation to ensure that no disturbances occur and take comprehensive emergency preparedness measures in the event of an emergency. The KMA announced that Wednesday's quake was caused by a “slip fault” movement, where the fault moves horizontally. The problem is that determining which fault caused the earthquake is difficult due to the lack of information about faults in the Jeolla region. Experts warned that an earthquake with a magnitude of up to 7 degrees could occur anywhere on the Korean Peninsula. To date, the Honam region is said to have the most stable geological structure on the Korean Peninsula that is relatively earthquake-free, so there are no fault investigations. “The ground motion, or ground shaking, observed near the earthquake that occurred was about 0.15 g (about 15 percent of the gravitational acceleration), and given that the seismic design standard for nuclear power plants is 0.3 g, that was a fairly large number.” “. “Vibration,” said Hong Tae-kyung, a professor in the Department of Earth System Sciences at Yonsei University. “A 4.8-magnitude earthquake can occur anywhere in Korea, and particularly large earthquakes can occur even in the Seoul metropolitan area where there are faults,” said Kim Young-seok, a professor of geology at Pukyung National University. “There is an urgent need for geological research and preparation.”

Written by Lim Jeong-won, Jeong Eun-hye [[email protected]]




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