Topographic image of the northwest Pacific including the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench.
This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Japanese Wikipedia. (June 2012)
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Map of earthquake locations, showing depth contours on top of downgoing slab
At the Kurile-Kamchatka Trench, the Pacific Plate is subducting beneath the Okhotsk Plate, a microplate formerly considered to be part of the North American Plate. The convergence rate ranges from ~75 mm/yr in the north to ~83 mm/yr at the southern end. Obliquity of convergence increases to the south, where the transpressional stress is partitioned into trench-normal thrust earthquakes and trench-parallel strike-slip earthquakes. This partitioning results in westward translation of the Kurile forearc relative to the North American Plate.