Okhotsk Plate

The Okhotsk Plate is a minor tectonic plate covering the Sea of Okhotsk, the Kamchatka Peninsula, Sakhalin Island and Tōhoku and Hokkaidō in Japan. It was formerly considered a part of the North American Plate, but recent studies indicate that it is an independent plate, bounded on the north by the North American Plate.[1][2] The boundary is a left-lateral moving transform fault, the Ulakhan Fault.[3] On the east, the plate is bounded by the Pacific Plate at the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench and the Japan Trench, on the south by the Philippine Sea Plate at the Nankai Trough, on the west by the Eurasian Plate, and possibly on the southwest by the Amurian Plate.[4]

Okhotsk Plate
The Okhotsk Plate
FeaturesKamchatka Peninsula, Sakhalin Island, Sea of Okhotsk, Hokkaido, and parts of Honshu
1Relative to the African Plate


The boundary between Okhotsk Plate and Amurian Plate might be responsible for many strong earthquakes that occurred in the Sea of Japan as well as in Sakhalin Island, such as the MW7.1 (MS7.5 according to other sources) earthquake of May 27, 1995 in northern Sakhalin.[5][6][7] The earthquake devastated the town of Neftegorsk, which was not rebuilt afterwards. Other notable intraplate earthquakes, such as the 1983 Sea of Japan earthquake and the 1993 Hokkaidō earthquake, have triggered tsunamis in the Sea of Japan.

The boundary between Okhotsk Plate and Pacific Plate is a subduction zone, where the Pacific Plate subducts beneath the Okhotsk Plate. Many strong megathrust earthquakes occurred here, some of them among the largest on world record, including the Kamchatka earthquakes of 1737 (estimated M9.0~9.3) and 1952 (M9.0). Such strong megathrust earthquakes can also occur near the Kuril Islands, as the M8.3 earthquake of November 15, 2006,[8][9] Hokkaido, as the M8.3 earthquake of September 26, 2003[10][11] and the M9.0 2011 Tōhoku earthquake off the coast of Honshu.[12]

GPS measurements and other studies show that the Okhotsk Plate is slowly rotating in a clockwise direction. Models indicate that it rotates 0.2 deg/Myr about a pole located north of Sakhalin.[13]


  1. ^ Seno et al., 1996 Journal of Geophysical Research; https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/96JB00532
  2. ^ Apel et al., 2006 Geophysical Research Letters; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1029/2006GL026077/full
  3. ^ Mackey, Kevin; Lindauer, Susanne; Sedov, Boris; Hindle, David (2019-04-25). "The Ulakhan fault surface rupture and the seismicity of the Okhotsk–North America plate boundary". Solid Earth. 10 (2): 561–580. doi:10.5194/se-10-561-2019. ISSN 1869-9510.
  4. ^ http://www.stephan-mueller-spec-publ-ser.net/4/147/2009/smsps-4-147-2009.pdf
  5. ^ Tamura, Makoto; et al. (2002). "The ShalIow Seismicity in the Southern Part of Sakhalin" (PDF). Geophysical Bulletin of Hokkaido University. 65: 127–142.
  6. ^ "Earthquake Information for 1995". USGS.
  7. ^ Arefiev, S. S.; et al. (2006). "Deep structure and tomographic imaging of strong earthquake source zones". Izvestiya Physics of the Solid Earth. 42 (10): 850–863. Bibcode:2006IzPSE..42..850A. doi:10.1134/S1069351306100090.
  8. ^ Matsumoto, Hiroyuki; Kawaguchi, Katsuyoshi; Asakawa, Kenichi (2007). "Offshore Tsunami Observation by the Kuril Islands Earthquake of 15 November 2006". IEEE Xplore Abstract – Offshore Tsunami Observation by the Kuril Islands Earthquake of 15 November 2006. Ieeexplore.ieee.org. pp. 482–487. doi:10.1109/UT.2007.370767. ISBN 978-1-4244-1207-5. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  9. ^ "Magnitude 8.3 – KURIL ISLANDS". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  10. ^ Watanabe, Tomoki; et al. (2006). "Seismological monitoring on the 2003 Tokachi-oki earthquake, derived from off Kushiro permanent cabled OBSs and land-based observations". Tectonophysics. 426 (1–2): 107–118. Bibcode:2006Tectp.426..107W. doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2006.02.016.
  11. ^ "Magnitude 8.3 – HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION". Earthquake.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2016-01-01.
  12. ^ Zhao, Dapeng; Liu, Xin (2018-06-01). "Upper and lower plate controls on the great 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake". Science Advances. 4 (6): eaat4396. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aat4396. ISSN 2375-2548.
  13. ^ Apel et al., 2006; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/wol1/doi/10.1029/2006GL026077/full

External links

2007 Chūetsu offshore earthquake

The Chūetsu Offshore earthquake (Japanese: 平成19 年(2007 年)新潟県中越沖地震) was a powerful magnitude 6.6 earthquake that occurred 10:13 local time (01:13 UTC) on July 16, 2007, in the northwest Niigata region of Japan. The earthquake, which occurred at a previously unknown offshore fault shook Niigata and neighbouring prefectures. The city of Kashiwazaki and the villages of Iizuna and Kariwa registered the highest seismic intensity of a strong 6 on Japan's shindo scale, and the quake was felt as far away as Tokyo. Eleven deaths and at least 1000 injuries were reported, and 342 buildings were completely destroyed, mostly older wooden structures. Prime Minister Shinzō Abe broke off from his election campaign in Southern Japan to visit Kashiwazaki and promised to "make every effort towards rescue and also to restore services such as gas and electricity".

Amurian Plate

The Amurian Plate (or Amur Plate; also occasionally referred to as the China Plate) is a minor tectonic plate in the northern and eastern hemispheres. It covers Manchuria, the Korean Peninsula, the Yellow Sea, and Primorsky Krai. Once thought to be a part of the Eurasian Plate, the Amur Plate is now generally considered to be a separate plate moving southeast with respect to the Eurasian Plate.

The Amurian Plate is named after the Amur River, that forms the border between the Russian Far East and Northeastern China.

It is bounded on the north, west, and southwest by the Eurasian Plate, on the east by the Okhotsk Plate, to the southeast by the Philippine Sea Plate along the Suruga Trough and the Nankai Trough, and the Okinawa Plate, and the Yangtze Plate.The Baikal Rift Zone is considered a boundary between the Amurian Plate and the Eurasian Plate. GPS measurements indicate that the plate is slowly rotating counterclockwise.

The Amurian Plate may have been involved in the 1976 Tangshan earthquake in China.

Boso Triple Junction

Boso Triple Junction (also known as Off-Boso Triple Junction) is a triple junction off the coast of Japan; it is one of two known examples of a trench-trench-trench triple junction on the Earth (the other being the Banda Sea Triple Junction). It is the meeting point of the North American Plate (represented by the Okhotsk Plate) to the north, the Pacific Plate to the east and the Philippine Sea Plate to the south.

Eurasian Plate

The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate which includes most of the continent of Eurasia (a landmass consisting of the traditional continents of Europe and Asia), with the notable exceptions of the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian subcontinent, and the area east of the Chersky Range in East Siberia. It also includes oceanic crust extending westward to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and northward to the Gakkel Ridge.

The eastern side is a boundary with the North American Plate to the north and a boundary with the Philippine Sea Plate to the south and possibly with the Okhotsk Plate and the Amurian Plate. The southerly side is a boundary with the African Plate to the west, the Arabian Plate in the middle and the Indo-Australian Plate to the east. The westerly side is a divergent boundary with the North American Plate forming the northernmost part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is straddled by Iceland. All of the volcanic eruptions in Iceland, such as the 1973 eruption of Eldfell, the 1783 eruption of Laki, and the 2010 eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, are caused by the North American and the Eurasian Plates moving apart, which is a result of divergent plate boundary forces.

The geodynamics of central Asia is dominated by the interaction between the Eurasian and Indian Plates. In this area, many subplates or crust blocks have been recognized, which form the Central Asian and the East Asian transit zones.

Geology of Japan

The islands of Japan are primarily the result of several large ocean movements occurring over hundreds of millions of years from the mid-Silurian to the Pleistocene as a result of the subduction of the Philippine Sea Plate beneath the continental Amurian Plate and Okinawa Plate to the south, and subduction of the Pacific Plate under the Okhotsk Plate to the north.

Japan was originally attached to the eastern coast of the Eurasian continent. The subducting plates, being deeper than the Eurasian plate, pulled Japan eastward, opening the Sea of Japan around 15 million years ago. The Strait of Tartary and the Korea Strait opened much later.

Japan is situated in a volcanic zone on the Pacific Ring of Fire. Frequent low intensity earth tremors and occasional volcanic activity are felt throughout the islands. Destructive earthquakes, often resulting in tsunamis, occur several times a century. The most recent major quakes include the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the 2004 Chūetsu earthquake and the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995. Hot springs are numerous and have been developed as resorts.

Izanagi Plate

The Izanagi Plate (named after the Shinto god Izanagi) was an ancient tectonic plate, which began subducting beneath the Okhotsk Plate 130–100 Ma years ago. The rapid plate motion of the Izanagi Plate caused north-west Japan and the outer zone of south-west Japan to drift northward. High-pressure metamorphic rocks were formed at the eastern margin of the drifting land mass in the Sanbagawa metamorphic belt, while low-pressure metamorphic rocks were formed at its western margin in the Abukuma metamorphic belt. At approximately 95 Ma, the Izanagi Plate was completely subducted and replaced by the western Pacific Plate, which also subducted in the north-western direction. Subduction-related magmatism took place near the Ryoke belt. No marked tectonics occurred in the Abunkuma belt after the change of the subducted plate.

The discovery of an extinct Jurassic–Cretaceous spreading system in the north-west Pacific led to the introduction of the extinct Kula Plate in 1972. The Izanagi Plate was subsequently introduced in 1982 to explain the geometry of this spreading system. Knowledge of the now-subducted Izanagi Plate is limited to Mesozoic magnetic lineations on the Pacific Plate that preserve the record of this subduction.

Izu Peninsula

The Izu peninsula (伊豆半島, Izu-hantō) is a large mountainous peninsula with deeply indented coasts to the west of Tokyo on the Pacific coast of the island of Honshū, Japan. Formerly the eponymous Izu Province, Izu peninsula is now a part of Shizuoka Prefecture. The peninsula has an area of 1,421.24 km² and its estimated population in 2005 was 473,942 people. The populated areas primarily lie on the north and east.

Japan Trench

The Japan Trench is an oceanic trench part of the Pacific Ring of Fire off northeast Japan. It extends from the Kuril Islands to the northern end of the Izu Islands, and is 8,046 meters (26,398 ft) at its deepest. It links the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench to the north and the Izu-Ogasawara Trench to its south with a length of 800 km (500 miles). This trench is created as the oceanic Pacific plate subducts beneath the continental Okhotsk Plate (a microplate formerly a part of the North American Plate). The subduction process causes bending of the down going plate, creating a deep trench. Continuing movement on the subduction zone associated with the Japan Trench is one of the main causes of tsunamis and earthquakes in northern Japan, including the megathrust Tōhoku earthquake and resulting tsunami that occurred on 11 March 2011. The rate of subduction associated with the Japan Trench has been recorded at about 7.9-9.2 cm/yr.

Kamchatka-Aleutian Triple Junction

The Kamchatka-Aleutian triple junction is a triple junction of tectonic plates of the Fault-Fault-Trench type where the Pacific Plate, the Okhotsk Plate, and the North American Plate meet. It is located east of the Kamchatka Mys peninsula and west of Bering Island. Meiji Seamount is located to the southeast of the junction.

In the Kamchatka-Aleutian junction, the Kuril–Kamchatka Trench meets the Aleutian Trench. The former is a subduction zone while the latter is a transform fault in its western part.

Kamchatka earthquakes

Three earthquakes, which occurred off the coast of Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia and the Soviet Union in 1737, 1923 and 1952, were megathrust earthquakes and caused tsunamis. They occurred where the Pacific Plate subducts under the Okhotsk Plate at the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench. The depth of the trench at the point of the earthquakes is 7,000–7,500 m. Northern Kamchatka lies at the western end of the Bering fault, between the Pacific Plate and North American Plate, or the Bering plate There are many more earthquakes and tsunamis originating from Kamchatka, of which the most recent was the 1997 Kamchatka earthquake and tsunami originating near the Kronotsky Peninsula.

Kuril–Kamchatka Trench

The Kuril–Kamchatka Trench or Kuril Trench (Russian: Курило-Камчатский жёлоб, Kurilo-Kamchatskii Zhyolob) is an oceanic trench in the northwest Pacific Ocean. It lies off the southeast coast of Kamchatka and parallels the Kuril Island chain to meet the Japan Trench east of Hokkaido. It extends from a triple junction with the Ulakhan Fault and the Aleutian Trench near the Commander Islands, Russia, in the northeast, to the intersection with the Japan Trench in the southwest.The trench formed as a result of the subduction zone, which formed in the late Cretaceous, that created the Kuril island arc as well as the Kamchatka volcanic arc. The Pacific Plate is being subducted beneath the Okhotsk Plate along the trench, resulting in intense volcanism.

List of tectonic plates

This is a list of tectonic plates on the Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around 100 km (62 mi) thick and consist of two principal types of material: oceanic crust (also called sima from silicon and magnesium) and continental crust (sial from silicon and aluminium). The composition of the two types of crust differs markedly, with mafic basaltic rocks dominating oceanic crust, while continental crust consists principally of lower-density felsic granitic rocks.

Megathrust earthquake

Megathrust earthquakes occur at subduction zones at destructive convergent plate boundaries, where one tectonic plate is forced underneath another, caused by slip along the thrust fault that forms the contact between them. These interplate earthquakes are the planet's most powerful, with moment magnitudes (Mw) that can exceed 9.0. Since 1900, all earthquakes of magnitude 9.0 or greater have been megathrust earthquakes. No other type of known terrestrial source of tectonic activity has produced earthquakes of this scale.

Northeastern Japan Arc

The Northeastern Japan Arc, also Northeastern Honshū Arc, is an island arc on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The arc runs north to south along the Tōhoku region of Honshū, Japan. It is the result of the subduction of the Pacific Plate underneath the Okhotsk Plate at the Japan Trench. The southern end of the arc converges with the Southwestern Japan Arc and the Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc at the Fossa Magna (ja) at the east end of the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line (ITIL). This is the geologic border between eastern and western Honshū. Mount Fuji is at the point where these three arcs meet. To the north, the Northeastern Japan arc extends through the Oshima Peninsula of Hokkaidō. The arc converges in a collision zone with the Sakhalin Island Arc and the Kuril arc in the volcanic Ishikari Mountains of central Hokkaidō. This collision formed the Teshio and Yūbari Mountains.

The Ōu Mountains form the volcanic part of the inner arc. The volcanic front consists of Quaternary volcanoes, which extend the length of the range. It also includes the Quaternary volcanoes of southwestern Hokkaidō. The Dewa Mountains and the Iide Mountains are non-volcanic uplift ranges that run parallel to the west of the Ōu Mountains.

The outer arc ranges are the Kitakami and the Abukuma Mountains. These mountains are made from pre-tertiary rock. The mountains rose in the Cenozoic and have since been worn smooth by erosion.


Okhotsky (masculine), Okhotskaya (feminine), or Okhotskoye (neuter) may refer to:

Okhotsky District, a district of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia

Okhotsk Plate (Okhotskaya plita), a tectonic plate

Sea of Okhotsk (Okhotskoye more), a sea in the western Pacific Ocean

Philippine Sea Plate

The Philippine Sea Plate or the Philippine Plate is a tectonic plate comprising oceanic lithosphere that lies beneath the Philippine Sea, to the east of the Philippines. Most segments of the Philippines, including northern Luzon, are part of the Philippine Mobile Belt, which is geologically and tectonically separate from the Philippine Sea Plate.

Philippine Sea plate is bordered mostly by convergent boundaries:

To the north, the Philippine Sea Plate meets the Okhotsk Plate at the Nankai Trough. The Philippine Sea Plate, the Amurian Plate, and the Okhotsk Plate meet at Mount Fuji in Japan. The thickened crust of the Izu-Bonin-Mariana arc colliding with Japan constitutes the Izu Collision Zone.

To the east, Philippine Sea Plate meets the Pacific Plate, subducting at the Izu-Ogasawara Trench. The east of the plate includes the Izu-Ogasawara (Bonin) and the Mariana Islands, forming the Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc system. There is also a divergent boundary between the Philippine Sea Plate and the small Mariana Plate which carries the Mariana Islands.

To the south, the Philippine Sea Plate is bounded by the Caroline Plate and Bird's Head Plate.

To the west, the Philippine Sea Plate subducts under the Philippine Mobile Belt at the Philippine Trench and the East Luzon Trench. (The adjacent rendition of Prof. Peter Bird's map is inaccurate in this respect.)

To the northwest, the Philippine Sea Plate meets Taiwan and the Nansei islands on the Okinawa Plate, and southern Japan on the Amurian Plate.

Sagami Trough

The Sagami Trough (相模トラフ, Sagami Torafu) also Sagami Trench, Sagami Megathrust, or Sagami Subduction Zone is a 340-kilometre (210 mi)long trough, which is the surface expression of the convergent plate boundary where the Philippine Sea Plate is being subducted under the Okhotsk Plate. It stretches from the Boso Triple Junction in the east, where it meets the Japan Trench, to Sagami Bay in the west, where it meets the Nankai Trough. It runs north of the Izu Islands chain and the Izu-Bonin-Mariana Arc (IBM).

Megathrust earthquakes associated with the Sagami Trough, known as Kantō earthquakes, are a major threat to Tokyo and the Kantō Region because of the proximity to a population center (with over 36 million living in Tokyo's metro area, with a total of 43 million living in the Kanto Region) and the magnitude the Sagami Trough can create.

Sakhalin Island Arc

Sakhalin Island Arc is an ancient volcanic arc dating from the Early Miocene. The arc was a result of the Okhotsk Plate subducting beneath the Eurasian Plate in the convergence zone. The arc runs from mainland Asia through Sakhalin Island into central Hokkaido and the collision zone around the Daisetsuzan Volcanic Group, where the Kuril Island Arc and the Northeastern Japan Arc meet.

Ulakhan Fault

The Ulakhan Fault is a left-lateral moving transform fault that runs along the boundary between two tectonic plates in northeast Asia, the North American Plate, and the Okhotsk Plate. It runs from a triple junction in the Chersky Range in the west, to another triple junction with the Aleutian Trench and the Kuril Trench in the east.

Faults and rift zones
Trenches and troughs


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