By: Taylor Berman
According to reports from the U.S. Geological Survey, there was a small, 4.9 magnitude earthquake in North Korea earlier tonight. The tremor's epicenter was reportedly near North Korea's previous nuclear test sites, where nuclear devices were detonated in 2006 and 2009
, fueling rumors that the quake was the result of a nuclear explosion.
South Korean media is reporting a "man-made earthquake" and the South Korean Defense Ministry raised its alert level after the quake was reported.
The Associated Press reports that a U.N. Nuclear test monitoring organization called the tremor an "unusual seismic event."
"There is a high possibility that North Korea has conducted a nuclear test," said Chi Heoncheol, an earthquake specialist at the institute. Chi said a magnitude 3.9 magnitude earthquake and a magnitude 4.5 earthquake were detected in the North's 2006 and 2009 nuclear tests.