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Main page / The Kuril islands / Earthquakes

Earthquakes

About 1500 earthquakes per year, i.e. 4 earthquakes per day are fixed in Japan. Most of them are connected with the movement in the earth crust (tectonics). 223 destructive and 2000 average earthquakes have been marked and described for the last 15 centuries. In fact these are not full data because they began to use special equipment for measuring force of the earthquakes in Japan since 1888. The biggest part of earthquakes falls on to the Kuril islands region where they sometimes result in tsunami. Captain Snow who was hunting sea animals here during many years observed such phenomena at the end of the 19th century. Thus, on the 12th of July 1884 he ob-served gusty noise and shaking of a vessel which lasted for two hours with 15 minutes interval every 30 seconds. It happened 4 miles to the west of the Srednyova stones. At the same time there was no choppiness on the sea. The temperature of water was usual, about 2,25°.

16 destructive earthquakes were marked in this region between 1737 and 1888. In 1915-1916 there were 3 catastrophic earthquakes in the middle part of the ridge, in 1929 2 similar earth-quakes in the North.

Sometimes these phenomena are connected with underwater eruptions of lava. Time after time the destructive impacts of earthquakes cause huge waves (tsunami) which can take place several times. With enormous force it brings down the shores in addition to the destructions caused by the earthquake. One can judge about the size of a wave, for example, in a case with the vessel "Nataliya", sent by Lebedev-Lastochkin and Shelekhov with navigator Petushkov at the head to the 18th island: On the 8th of January in 1780 there was a terrible earthquake; the sea rose so high that the vessel standing in the harbour, was carried off to the middle of the island... (Berkh, 1823, page 140 141; Pozdneev, page 11). The wave caused by the earthquake in 1737, reached 50 high and struck the shore with terrible force, breaking the rocks. Some new rocks appeared in the second strait. During the earthquake on the Simushere island in 1849 , all sources of underground water ran dry, and people had to move to other places.

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