Poster of the Northern Honshu, Japan Earthquake of 13 June 2008 - Magnitude 6.9

Tectonic Summary

The earthquake occurred in a region of convergence between the Pacific and the Okhotsk section of the North American Plates in northern Japan, where the Pacific plate is moving west-northwest with respect to North American Plate at a rate of approximately 8.3 cm/yr. The hypocenter of the earthquake indicates shallow thrusting motion in the upper (Okhotsk) plate, above the subducting Pacific plate, which lies at approximately 80 km depth at this location.

The earthquake occurred in a region of upper-plate contraction, probably within the complicated tectonics of the Ou Backbone Range, known to have hosted several large earthquakes in historic times. The largest of these events occurred in 1896, approximately 70km north of the June 13th event, and killed over 200 people in the local area.

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