1963 Kuril Islands earthquake

Coordinates: 44°49′N 149°32′E / 44.81°N 149.54°E / 44.81; 149.54
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1963 Kuril Islands earthquake
1963 Kuril Islands earthquake is located in Sakhalin Oblast
October 13
October 13
October 20
October 20
UTC time1963-10-13 05:17:59
ISC event873239
Local dateOctober 13, 1963 (1963-10-13)
Local time15:17:59
Magnitude8.5 Mw
Depth47 km (29.2 mi)
Epicenter44°49′N 149°32′E / 44.81°N 149.54°E / 44.81; 149.54
Areas affectedSoviet Union
Max. intensityIX (Violent) [1]

The 1963 Kuril Islands earthquake occurred at 05:17 UTC, on October 13.[2] The earthquake had a magnitude of 8.5 and was followed by a Mw 7.8 event seven days later.[3] Both earthquakes triggered tsunamis that were observed around the northern part of the Pacific Ocean.

Tectonic setting[edit]

The Kuril Islands form part of the island arc formed above the subduction zone, where the Pacific Plate is being subducted beneath the North American Plate. This convergent boundary has been the site of many large megathrust earthquakes, including the second largest earthquake ever recorded.


No damage, deaths, or injuries were recorded for these two earthquakes or their associated tsunamis.



The earthquake was made up of three sub events, each of which is interpreted to represent the rupture of an asperity roughly 50 km in length along the subduction interface.[4]


The tsunami triggered by the earthquake of October 13, caused a 4.5 m wave locally. The tsunami was also observed in Canada, Japan, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska, California, and on many islands across the northern Pacific Ocean. The tsunami associated with the October 20 event was larger in the nearby area, with a maximum recorded run-up of 15 m at Urup, but was only observed in the western part of the northern Pacific.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b NGDC. "Search results page showing the two events". Retrieved 12 March 2010.
  2. ^ "M5.3 - Kuril Islands (BETA)" U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2014-9-4.
  3. ^ "Rupture process of the Great 1963 Kurile Islands Earthquake Sequence: Asperity interaction and multiple event rupture" SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System. Retrieved 2014-9-5.
  4. ^ Ruff, L.; Kanamori H. (1983). "Seismic coupling and uncoupling at subduction zones" (PDF). Tectonophysics. 99 (2–4): 99–117. Bibcode:1983Tectp..99...99R. doi:10.1016/0040-1951(83)90097-5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-07-23. Retrieved 2010-03-12.

External links[edit]