Its first nuclear test was in 2006. That was followed by one in 2009 and another in 2013. The most recent test was in January this year.
Experts say the tests are likely aimed at refining designs and reliability as well as increasing yield.
Outside monitors will analyze the yield from Friday's test to try to determine whether it signals any fresh breakthrough.
How advanced is North Korea's weapons program?
The four confirmed tests so far have resulted in artificial quakes of increasing size. Friday's quake followed that pattern, registering 5.3 magnitude.
Seoul said the 10-kiloton yield was the "most powerful to date."
The bomb that destroyed Hiroshima had a yield of 15 kilotons, and the most powerful nuclear test ever was a Russian blast in 1961 with an estimated yield of 50,000 kilotons.
Pyongyang claims its January test was of a miniaturized hydrogen bomb, which has the potential to be far more powerful than other nuclear devices.
RELATED: Does N. Korea Have 'H' or 'A' Bomb?
However, scientists say the six-kiloton yield was far too low for a thermonuclear device.
But experts caution Pyongyang is clearly making progress -- regardless of whether or not it has mastered hydrogen bomb technology.
"With each test they can learn a lot," atomic scientist Siegfried Hecker said in January.
The claim of miniaturization is a significant worry for the international community, especially in the light of an apparently stepped-up missile testing program over recent months and years.
If Pyongyang can make a nuclear device small enough to fit on a warhead, and can bolster the range and accuracy of its missiles, it might one day achieve its oft-stated aim of hitting U.S. targets.
How will the international community react?
Condemnation from the United States and its allies will likely be swift and sharp, and will almost certainly include calls for action from the United Nations Security Council.
However, the world will be watching most keenly for what China does.
RELATED: American Student Sentenced to 15 Years Hard Labor in North Korea
Beijing has been North Korea's main diplomatic supporter and protector for decades, shielding its errant ally from harsh international action.
But its patience is running thin. It strongly opposes Pyongyang's nuclear program, which it sees as a source of instability.
And China's seeming inability to rein in Kim Jong-Un is increasingly embarrassing for Beijing: the North's latest missile tests this week came as China was hosting a G20 summit.
However, Beijing's problem is that while it wants Pyongyang to stop causing trouble, it is desperate to avoid anything that might imperil the stability of the regime.
Its nightmare scenario is that if the regime collapses, millions of hungry North Koreans might flood over its border -- and the U.S.-allied South would take over, meaning American troops could be stationed right on the Chinese border.
SEE PHOTOS: A VILLAGE MADE OF BOMBS