Historic Earthquakes

2003 May 26 09:24:32 UTC

World Location
Regional Location

At least 104 people injured, some damage and landslides occurred in the Sendai area. Felt in much of northern Japan and as far south as Tokyo. Recorded (6L JMA) in Iwate and Miyagi; (5L JMA) in Aomori, Fukushima and Yamagata; (4 JMA) in Akita, Chiba, Ibaraki, Saitama and Tochigi; (3 JMA) in Gumma, Kanagawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Tokyo and Yamanashi Prefectures. Also recorded (4 JMA) in south- central Hokkaido and (3 JMA) throughout southern and central Hokkaido.

This thrust earthquake occurred near the north-east shore of the island of Honshu, Japan. In this region, the convergence of the Pacific plate and the Eurasian plate generates numerous earthquakes. The Pacific plate is moving west at a rate of about 9 cm per year relative to the Eurasian plate. The surface expression of the boundary between these plates is the north-south trending Japan trench which is about 220 km east of the epicenter. Given the earthquake's fault mechanism and depth, it likely resulted from the release of compressional stresses within the Pacific plate that continuously develop as it descends into the mantle.