A small earthquake has been detected in North Korea in the same part of the country where previous nuclear tests were conducted.
The United States Geological Survey said the 2.9 magnitude earthquake was recorded 14 miles northeast of Sungjibaegam.
It explained: 'This event occurred in the area of the previous North Korean Nuclear tests.
'The event has earthquake like characteristics, however, we cannot conclusively confirm at this time the nature (natural or human-made) of the event.'
The earthquake was described as being 'shallow', with a depth of just over three miles.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said earlier today that the Trump administration thinks the threat posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons is currently manageable but Pyongyang cannot be allowed to develop the ability to strike the US homeland.
'A state that has developed a pretty good ICBM (missile) capability and is developing a pretty good nuclear re-entry vehicle, I would believe ... that that state simply cannot have the ability to reach the homeland,' Kelly said.
'Right now we think the threat is manageable but over time if it grows beyond where it is today, well, let's hope that diplomacy works,' said Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general.
The totalitarian regime's previous nuclear tests have resulted in much stronger earthquakes than today's, however, with all of them being higher than 4.3 magnitude.
In September the Stalinist regime detonated a hydrogen bomb that sparked a powerful 6.3 magnitude quake.
Its five other tests occurred in 2006, 2009, 2013 and two in 2016.
The earthquakes caused by the tests have risen in strength with each detonation - from 4.3, 4.7, 5.1 (twice) to 5.3 and finally 6.3.
But he warned: 'The distance between North Korea and Seoul is very very small - they could basically vaporise large parts of the South Korean population even with conventional weapons.'
Following the blast US president Donald Trump slammed North Korea as a 'rogue nation' which is a 'great threat and embarrassment to China' - finishing with the thinly-veiled threat: 'They only understand one thing.'
He wrote on Twitter: 'North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States.
'North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success.
'South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!'
It comes after news today that the United Arab Emirates will stop issuing new visas to North Korean workers, becoming the latest Gulf country to limit Pyongyang's ability to evade sanctions and raise money abroad amid tensions with the US.
A volcano in Japan has erupted for the first time in six years sending up a towering 5,600ft plume and coating nearby cities and towns with ash.
Toxic smoke and ash spewed from the crater of Mount Shinmoedak in the south western Miyazaki prefecture.
Students making their way to a school at the foot of the volcano had to wear helmets and masks as the dramatic eruption unfolded.
Residents also described hearing rumbles and ash fell in at least four cities and towns in the region.
On Thursday, an ash plume rose 5,600ft from the crater, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
The agency has raised the volcanic alert level from 2 to 3 on a scale of 5. Level 3 warns people to not approach the volcano.
Pyroclastic flow, which is an emission of hot gases and volcanic matter at a high speed, is possible within 1.2 miles of the crater.
Emissions of ash and volcanic rocks were forecast until Friday for a wider area, but the locations at risk would depend on wind conditions and altitude.
The seismically active area around the Pacific known as the 'Ring of Fire' includes active volcanoes in Japan as well as two causing mass evacuations in Indonesia and Vanuatu in recent weeks.
Firefighters began to gain ground on Thursday against wildfires that have killed at least 26 people in Northern California and left hundreds missing in the pandemonium of mass evacuations in the heart of the state’s wine country.
The latest casualty figures, revised upward by three fatalities on Thursday, marked the greatest loss life from a single California wildfire event in 84 years.
Authorities have warned that the death toll from a spate of more than 20 fires raging across eight counties for a fourth day could climb higher, with hundreds of people in Sonoma County alone still listed as missing.
Extreme wind conditions that had been forecast for Wednesday night and early Thursday failed to materialize, giving fire crews a chance to start carving containment lines around the perimeter of some of the blazes.
Some 8,000 firefighters hurried to extend those buffer lines before another bout of dry, gusty weather was expected to return this weekend across much the state, said Ken Pimlot, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).
Red Flag Warning: These California Wildfires Are ‘Among The Most Destructive Fire Events In US History’ And They Are About To Get Even Worse