Anatolian tectonic plate, north anatolian fault, historical earthquakes Greece, Attica, Earthquakes, Tsunami, , Hurricanes, Volcanic Eruptions and other Natural and Man-Made Hazards and Disasters - by Dr. George Pararas Carayannis

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MAJOR EARTHQUAKES IN JAPAN AND THE SOUTHERN KURIL ISLANDS IN THE 20TH CENTURY

George Pararas-Carayannis

Tectonic Setting of the Northern Japan/Kuril Island Region

The overall tectonics of northeast Asia are very complicated. Whether the Sea of Okhotsk and the northern Japanese islands are part of the North American plate or of a separate Okhotsk plate has not been determined. On the Pacific Ocean side, earthquake slip vectors along the Kuril and Japan trenches are consistent with either a Pacific-North America or a Pacific-Okhotsk plate motion. We will assume that the Pacific-North America plate motion is better supported.


The Kuril island arc is located between the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The Kuril Trench has been formed by the subduction of the Pacific plate under the North American plate. It extends from the offshore central area of Kamchatka to Hokkaido.


The plate tectonics of the Southern Kuril islands-Northern Hokkaido region are very different than those along the southern portion of the Japanese Trench. The South Kuril Islands are part of the Kuril arc in the Okhotsk plate which has been colliding westward against the Northeast Japan arc, along the Hidaka Collision Zone (HCZ), where new continental crust is created by active arc-arc collision.


Deep seismic reflection studies (Ito, Kazuka @Abe, 2001) show the lower crust of the Kuril arc to be delaminated at a depth of about 23 km. These studies indicate that the upper half (above 23 km) - consisting of the earth's upper crust and the upper portion of lower crust of the Kuril arc - is thrusting over the Northeast Japan arc along the Hidaka Main Thrust (HMT). However, the lower half (below 23 km) - consisting of the lower portion of lower crust and upper mantle material - is descending downward.

As a result of such kinematic processes, the wedge of the Northeast Japan arc is intruded into the delaminated Kuril arc, as the Pacific plate is subducting northward beneath both of the above mentioned structures, thus continuing the arc-arc collision (and continental crust production). The complex, seismo- tectonic kinematic process of this region has been named "Delamination-wedge-subduction system" - which may apply also to other areas where active arc-arc collision and concurrent subduction take place.


Accordingly, Hokkaido - Japan's northernmost island - extends northeast into Kuril Islands and is composed of multiple compressed island arcs. The northern half of Honshu (north of Tokyo), which is Japan's main island, represents a typical mature island arc, while the southern half of the island represents also a typical mature island arc, as the Philippine Sea plate subducts below the Eurasian plate.


On the western side, the Sea of Japan is a complex basin between Japan and the Korea/Okhotsk Sea Basin. It represents another subplate with apparent rotational movement as it interacts against the Okhotsk plate, along the inland sea boundary of the Hidaka Collision Zone (HCZ).


Sakhalin island, north of Hokkaido, which separates the Sea of Japan from the Sea of Okhotsk, is probably the result of transpressional tectonics along the North America-Eurasia boundary.

 

Subduction and Arc-Arc Collision

Subduction and volcanic arc-arc collision along the Japan and Kuril Trenches have been primarily responsible for many large historical earthquakes, on the Pacific side of Northern Japan and the South and Central Kuril island region


The Pacific plate converges into northeastern Asia (the Okhotsk subplate which is part of the North American plate, separated from the Eurasian plate by the Hidaka Collision Zone (HCZ)). The rate of tectonic convergence along the Kamchatka, Kuril and Japan trenches is estimated at about 8-9 m per century - which is a very high. Hokkaido, which extends northeast into Kuril Islands is composed of multiple compressed island arcs.


In the past two centuries this fast rate of subduction has triggered several large earthquakes with magnitudes of up to 8 or more along the southern Kuril trench, near the island of Hokkaido. However, these historical earthquakes have ruptured segments of the trench and of the forearc region that have been only in the range of 100-200 km long. Thus, these must be considered as characteristic of most plate-boundary earthquakes for this volcanic arc region.


The recent earthquake of November 15, 2006 - like those of 1994 and of 1963 - occurred on the Pacific side boundary of the smaller tectonic subplate which includes the Sea of Okhotsk and possibly a portion of the northern part of the Sea of Japan (Pararas-Carayannis, 1995).


Apparently, the grinding motion of the North Pacific Plate against this subplate, results in larger earthquakes - such as those of 1963 and 1994 - but apparently with less vertical subduction and more rotational movement. For example, the 1994 quake resulted in only about 50 cm of land subsidence but in extensive lateral movement at Shikotan Island. A greater amount of subsidence would have been expected, given the earthquake's large magnitude.

Seismicity of the Northern Japan/Kuril island Region

The Southern Kuril islands and Japan is one of the world's most earthquake-prone regions in the world. Around 20 per cent of the world's earthquakes take place in this region. The seismicity of Northern Japan is the result of a double seismic zone (DSZ), and compressional deep trench and outer rise events and is caused by the magmatic effects of plumes or superplumes which, originally, may have hydrated the subducting oceanic lithosphere. Usually, shallow normal faulting occurs in the trench-outer rise region.

 


MAJOR EARTHQUAKES IN JAPAN AND THE SOUTHERN KURIL ISLANDS IN THE 20TH CENTURY


* 1923 - SEPTEMBER 1, : Tokyo, Magnitude 8.3, 140,000 dead.

* 1933 - MARCH 2 : Tsunami caused by quake off northeastern coast, Magnitude 8.9, 2,990 dead.

* 1946 - DECEMBER 21: Shikoku, Western Japan, Magnitude 8.0, 2,000 dead.

* 1948 - JUNE 28 : Fukui, Western Japan, Magnitude 7.1, 3,769 dead.

* 1952 - MARCH 4 : Hokkaido, Magnitude 8.2, 8,233 dead.

* 1963 - OCTOBER 13 - Southern Kuril Islands (MS=8.1, I=2.5) - Urup tsunami.


* 1964 - JUNE 16: Sea of Japan - (MS=7.5) - Niigata tsunami (26 dead).


* 1968 - MAY 16 : Tokachi, Eastern Hokkaido, Magnitude 7.9, 52 dead.


*
1969 - AUGUST 11 - Kuril Islands (MS=7.8, I=2.0) - Shikotan tsunamis.


* 1983 - MAY 25 : Northern part of Sea of Japan, Magnitude MS= 7.7 (104 dead).

* 1993 - JANUARY 15 : Kushiro, Hokkaido, Magnitude (MS=7.8), Kushiro tsunami, one dead.

* 1993 - JULY 12 : Japan Sea - Okushiri, Hokkaido, Magnitude (MS=7.8) - Okushiri tsunami ( Maximum Wave Height 30.2m) (more than 200 dead).


* 1994 = OCTOBER 4 : South Kuril Islands/Northern Japan Hokkaido, Magnitude (MS=8.1) , - Shikotan tsunami (8 dead in Kuril Islands).

* 1994 - DECEMBER 28 : Hachinohe, Northern Japan, Magnitude 7.5, 2 dead.

* 1995 - JANUARY 17 : Kobe, Western Japan, Magnitude 7.2, more than 1,800 killed.

U.S. Geological Survey Map of Major Earthquakes in Japan including the 1995 Kobe Earthquake

The Kobe Earthquake of 17 January 1995

Seismograms of the 1995 Kobe Earthquake

Earthquakes in the Northern Japan/Southern Kuril Island Region (since 1963)

Review of the historic record indicates that the following major and great earthquakes occurred since 1963 near the Southern Kuril Islands, Northern Japan and the Sea of Japan:


October 13, 1963 - Kuril Islands (MS=8.1, I=2.5) - Urup tsunami.
June 16, 1964 - Sea of Japan - (MS=7.5) - Niigata tsunami (26 dead).
August 11, 1969 - Kuril Islands (MS=7.8, I=2.0) - Shikotan tsunamis.
May 25, 1983 - Northern part of Sea of Japan (MS= 7.7) - (104 dead).
January 15, 1993 - Japan / Hokkaido (MS=7.8) - Kushiro tsunami, one dead.
July 12, 1993 - Japan Sea (MS=7.7, I=3.0) - Okushiri tsunami ( Maximum Wave Height 30.2m) (more than 200 dead).
October 4, 1994 - South Kuril Islands/Northern Japan Hokkaido(MS=8.1, I=2.6) - Shikotan tsunami (8 dead in Kuril Islands).


The Earthquakes of 13 and 19 October 1963 - A pair of large magnitude earthquakes occurred north of Hokkaido, in the southern Kuril Islands on the 13 and 19 of October 1963. The 13 October earthquake had an Ms = 8.1 and an Mw = 8.5 while the 19 October earthquake had an Ms = 7.2 and an Mw = 7.8. Both quakes generated tsunamis.

Epicenter of the 1994 Earthquake

The Earthquake and Tsunami of October 4, 1994 - Most affected by this earthquake and the tsunami that was generated were the islands of Shikotan, Kunashir and Iturup, in the South Kurils - and the small islands between Shikotan and Hokkaido (Yeh et al, 1995). Maximum tsunami runup on Shikotan Island was reported to be approximately 10 m (about 30 feet) high. Hokkaido was only affected by the tsunami. Maximum tsunami runup along the coast of Hokkaido, Japan, was 1.8 meters (at Nemuro).

REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING

The following are selected references for further reading on the kinematics of tectonic interactions along the Japanese and Kuril Island arcs and in the Sea of Japan which historically have produced numerous destructive earthquakes.

Aida, I. (1984), A source models of the 1983 Nihonkai-earthquake tsunami, Proceeding of 3rd UJNR(UnitedStates-Japan Cooperative Program in Natural Resources) Tsunami Workshop, pp. 57-76.


GELABERT, B., SABAT, F., RODRIGUEZ-PEREA, A. , and FORNS, J., 2001. ON THE ORIGIN OF ARCUATE FOLDED BELTS AND BACK-ARC BASINS, GSA Annual Meeting, November 5-8, 2001 Session No. 137


Nakamura, K., V. Renard, J. Angelier, J. Azema, J. Bourgois, C. Deplus, K. Fujioka, Y. Hamano, P. Huchon, H. Kinoshita, P. Labaume, Y. Ogawa, T. Seno, A. Takeuchi, M. Tanahashi, A. Uchiyama, and J. L. Vigneresse. Oblique and near collision subduction, Sagami and Suruga troughs -Preliminary results of French-Japanese 1984 KAIKO cruise, leg 2 Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 83 229-242 1987.


Kawakatsu, H., and T. Seno, 1983. Triple seismic zone and the regional variation of seismicity along the northern Honshu arc. J. Geophys. Res. 88 4215-4230 1983

Ogawa, Y., T. Seno, H. Akiyoshi, H. Tokuyama, K. Fujioka, and H. Taniguchi, 1989. Structure and development of the Sagami Trough and off-Boso triple junction. Tectonophysics 160 135-150, 1989

Nakasa, Y., and T. Seno. Compensation mechanism of the Yamato Basin, Japan Sea J. Phys. Earth 42 187-195 1994

NIDP (1999), Study on tsunami hazards mitigations along the Korean eastern coast(I), Report of NIDP (National Institute for Disaster Prevention), 192 pp.

Ogawa, Y., T. Seno, H. Akiyoshi, H. Tokuyama, K. Fujioka, and H. Taniguchi. Structure and development of the Sagami Trough and off-Boso triple junction Tectonophysics 160 135-150, 1989

Kawakatsu, H., and T. Seno. Triple seismic zone and the regional variation of seismicity along the northern Honshu arc. J. Geophys. Res. 88 4215-4230 1983

Renard, V., Nakamura, K., J. Angelier, J. Azema, J. Bourgois, C. Deplus, K. Fujioka, Y. Hamano, P. Huchon, H. Kinoshita, P. Labaume, Y. Ogawa, T. Seno, A. Takeuchi, M. Tanahashi, A. Uchiyama, and J. L. Vigneresse. Trench triple junction off central Japan - Preliminary results of French-Japanese 1984 KAIKO cruise, leg 2 Earth Planet. Sci. Letters 87 243-256 1987


Pararas-Carayannis G. 1983, The Earthquake and Tsunami of 26 May 1983 in the Sea of Japan
http://drgeorgepc.com/Tsunami1983Japan.html

Pararas-Carayannis G. 1994, The Earthquake and Tsunami of The Earthquake and Tsunami of October 4, 1994 in the Kuril Islands

http://drgeorgepc.com/Tsunami1994RussiaKurils.html

Pararas-Carayannis G. 1999. Assessment of Tsunami Generation from Earthquakes in the Taiwan and the Southern Ryukyu Islands Region,

http://drgeorgepc.com/Earthquake1999Taiwan.html

Pararas-Carayannis, G. 2006. THE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI OF 15 NOVEMBER 2006 IN THE KURIL ISLANDS

http://drgeorgepc.com/Tsunami2006Kurils.html

Seno, T. 1999. Is northern Honshu a microplate? Tectonophysics 115 177-196, 1985

Seno, T. Syntheses of the regional stress fields of the Japanese islands The Island Arc 8 66-79 1999

Seno, T., and Y. Yamanaka. 1998. Arc stresses determined by slabs: Implications for mechanisms of back-arc spreading. Geopys. Res. Lett. 25 3227-3230, 1998


Seno, T., and Y. Yamanaka. 1996. Double seismic zones, compressional deep trench - outer rise events and superplumes in Subduction Top to Bottom, edited by G. E. Bebout, D. W. Scholl, S. H. Kirby, and J. P. Platt Geophys. Monogr. 96 347-355, 1996

Seno, T., T. Sakurai, and S. Stein, 1996. Can the Okhotsk plate be discriminated from the North American plate? J. Geophys. Res. 101 11305-11315, 1996

Seno, T. Intraplate sesmicity in Tohoku and Hokkaido and large interplate earthquakes: A possibility of a large interplate earthquake off the southern Sanriku coast, northern Japan J. Phys. Earth 27 21-51 1979


Seno, T. 1979. Pattern of intraplate seismicity in southwest Japan before and after great interplate earthquakes Tectonophysics 57 267-283 1979


Seno, T., Shimazaki, K., Somerville, P., Sudo, K., and T. Eguchi. Rupture process of the Miyagi-Oki, Japan, earthquake of June 12, 1978 Phys. Earth Planet. Inter. 23 39-61, 1980

Seno, T., and B. Pongsawat, 1981. A triple-planed structure of seismicity and earthquake mechanisms at the subduction zone off Miyagi Prefecture, northern Honshu, Japan Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 55 25-36, 1981

Seno, T., and G. C. Kroeger. 1983. A reexamination of earthquakes previously thought to have occurred within the slab between the trench axis and double seismic zone, northern Honshu J. Phys. Earth 31 195-216, 1983


Seno, T., and T. Takano, 1989. Seismotectonics at the trench-trench-trench triple junction off central Honshu. Pure Appl. Geophys. 129 27-40, 1989

Seno, T. and D. G. Gonzalez. 1987. Faulting caused by earthquakes beneath the outer slope of the Japan Trench. J. Phys. Earth 35 381-407 1987


Tanioka, Y., and K. Satake (1996). Fault parameters of the 1896 Sanriku tsunami earthquake estimated from tsunami numerical modeling, Geophys. Res. Letters, 23-13,1549-1552.

Watanabe, T., T. Koyaguchi, and T. Seno. Tectonics stress controls on ascent and emplacement of magmas J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res. 91 65-78, 1999

BIBLIOGRAPHY ON THE SEISMOTECTONICS OF THE KURIL ISLAND/HOKKAIDO REGION



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Belyaevsky N. A., Rodnikov A. G. (1972).
Crustal structure of the island arcs and Far Eastern Seas. Article 1. Island Arcs. International Geology Review, v. 14, No. 2, 1972.


Bikenina S. K., Anosov G. I., Argentov V. V. and Sergeev K. F. (1987).
The Earth crust structure of the southern part of Okhotsk Sea according to seismic data. Nauka, Moscow, 1987, 87 pp., in Russian.

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