1952 Severo-Kurilsk earthquake

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1952 Severo-Kurilsk earthquake
209 0943 SevKur heli View wiki.jpg
The site of Severo-Kurilsk before the 1952 tsunami, seen from a helicopter in 2006. The site of the modern town, rebuilt at higher level, is not visible.
1952 Severo-Kurilsk earthquake is located in Russia
1952 Severo-Kurilsk earthquake
UTC time1952-11-04 16:58:30
ISC event893648
Local dateNovember 5, 1952 (1952-11-05)
Local time03:58:30[1]
Magnitude9.0 Mw [2]
Depth21.6 km (13 mi)
Epicenter52°18′N 161°00′E / 52.3°N 161.0°E / 52.3; 161.0Coordinates: 52°18′N 161°00′E / 52.3°N 161.0°E / 52.3; 161.0 [2]
Max. intensityXI (Extreme) [2]
Tsunami18 m (59 ft) [3]
Casualties2,336 dead

The 1952 Severo-Kurilsk earthquake struck off the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula. The 9.0 Mw earthquake triggered a major tsunami that hit Severo-Kurilsk, Kuril Islands, Sakhalin Oblast, Russian SFSR, USSR, on 4 November 1952 at 16:58 (UTC).[4] This led to the destruction of many settlements in Sakhalin Oblast and Kamchatka Oblast, while the main impact struck the town of Severo-Kurilsk.[citation needed] It was the sixth most powerful earthquake on record, and to date, the most powerful earthquake in Russian history.


The tsunami was generated 130 kilometers (81 mi) offshore Kamchatka, impacting Severo-Kurilsk with three waves about 15–18 meters (49–59 ft) high.[5] After the earthquake the majority of the Severo-Kurilsk citizens fled to the surrounding hills, where they escaped the first wave. However, most of them returned to the town and were killed by the second wave.[5] According to the authorities, out of a population of 6,000 people, 2,336 died.[1] The survivors were evacuated to continental Russia. The settlement was then rebuilt in another location.[citation needed]

Earthquakes continue to happen in the area, including a M7.5 event that occurred at ~56km depth on 25 March 2020.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Сливное землетрясение (цунами) 1952 года" [The 1952 drainage earthquake (tsunami)]. Local history bulletin 4 (in Russian). Sakhalin Regional Museum of Local Lore and the Sakhalin Branch of the All-Russian Cultural Fund. 1991. Archived from the original on 20 April 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Utsu, T. R. (2002), "A List of Deadly Earthquakes in the World: 1500–2000", International Handbook of Earthquake & Engineering Seismology, Part A, Volume 81A (First ed.), Academic Press, p. 706, ISBN 978-0124406520
  3. ^ USGS (September 4, 2009), PAGER-CAT Earthquake Catalog, Version 2008_06.1, United States Geological Survey
  4. ^ "M 9.0 - off the east coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia". earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  5. ^ a b "1952 Kamchatka Tsunami". Western States Seismic Policy Council. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
  6. ^ https://earthquaketrack.com/quakes/2020-03-25-02-49-21-utc-7-5-56


External links[edit]