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S. Korea no longer 'earthquake-safe' zone... two magnitude 5.0+ quakes in two consecutive years Updated: 2017-11-16 20:23:00 KST

South Korea was once again hit by an earthquake above magnitude five.
The tremors from the magnitude 5.4 earthquake were felt as far as Seoul, 300-kilometers away from the epicenter in Pohang.

The earthquake in Pohang comes around a year after the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that hit Gyeongju last year. So amid growing concerns among the public that South Korea may not be an "earthquake-safe" zone, here is what the expert has to say.

"When we look at the earthquake patterns recorded throughout South Korea's history, quakes have occurred everywhere on the peninsula. They aren't limited to certain areas. So we need to prepare for the possibility of the whole country being prone to big earthquakes and take necessary precautions."

The expert explains that Pohang, where Wednesday's earthquake hit, is situated along what is called an "active fault," a fault that has seen seismic activity during the last 10,000 years.

"Through this earthquake, the fact that the fault is active is now undisputable. An active fault is always prone to earthquakes so we must keep a close watch on the region."

More than 40 aftershocks have occurred so far since the main tremor. And although it had a lower magnitude than last year's quake, the Pohang quake has actually caused more damage.
The main difference is that the depth of the of last year's Gyeongju earthquake was between 11 and 16 kilometers, and its epicenter was in a less populated area near the reservoir, but Wednesday's quake was just nine kilometers below the city in Pohang.

Experts say that for now, earthquakes are nearly impossible to predict, but scientists are trying to improve earthquake prediction technology and to come up with more diverse ways to warn the public so as to minimize fatalities.

Lee Jeong-yeon, Arirang News

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