Today, a powerful 8.3 earthquake struck Russia’s Far East with tremors felt as far away as Moscow, about 4,400 miles west of the epicenter. You are probably thinking that with an earthquake of that magnitude there must be damage – not really! This was epicentered beneath the Sea of Okhotsk, Russia. Emergency agencies in the Far East issued a tsunami warning for Sakhalin and the Kuril islands, but lifted it soon afterwards.
At the latitude of this earthquake, the Pacific and North America plates are converging at a rate of approximately 78 mm/yr in a west-northwest – east-southeast direction, resulting in the subduction of the Pacific plate beneath Eurasia at the Kuril-Kamchatka trench.
The Kuril-Kamchatka arc extends approximately 2,100 km from Hokkaido, Japan, along the Kuril Islands and the Pacific coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula to its intersection with the Aleutian arc near the Commander Islands, Russia. It marks the region where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the Okhotsk microplate, part of the larger North America plate. This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Kuril Islands chain, active volcanoes located along the entire arc, and the deep offshore Kuril-Kamchatka trench. Relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving towards the northwest at a rate that increases from 75 mm/year near the northern end of the arc to 83 mm/year in the south.
- 362km (225mi) WSW of Esso, Russia
- 383km (238mi) WNW of Yelizovo, Russia
- 400km (249mi) NW of Vilyuchinsk, Russia
- 406km (252mi) WNW of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy, Russia
- 2374km (1475mi) NNE of Tokyo, Japan