April 19, 2013 – A Powerful 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake Struck the Kuril Islands in Russia: The quake struck at 3:05AM GMT on April 19th, at a depth of 122 kilometers (76 miles). The deep quake precluded a tsunami; however, it was felt over a very wide area.
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 micro plate, 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.
Today’s 7.2 magnitude quake is very close to the “Ring of Fire” pictured below:
A significant portion of the world’s major earthquakes and volcanoes occur along the “Ring of Fire.” For example, the March 11, 2011 Japanese mega-quake and tsunami struck in the northwestern portion of the Ring of Fire.
The Juan de Fuca fault, near northern Washington State and Vancouver, is the only area that has not seen a major quake in 300 years. A 9.0 magnitude quake in this area would be cataclysmic and destroy a good portion of the northwest United States and southwestern Canada.
The Master of Disaster