Seismic Quiescence Precursory to a Past and a Future Kurile Island Earthquake

  • M. Wyss
  • R. E. Habermann
Part of the Contributions to Current Research in Geophysics book series (CCRG)


A systematic search was made for seismicity rate changes in the segment of the Kurile island arc from 45°N to 53°N by studying the cumulative seismicity of shallow (h = 100 km) earthquakes within 11 overlapping volumes of radius 100 km for the time period 1960 through beginning of 1978. We found that in most parts of this island arc and most of the time the seismicity rate as obtained from the NOAA catalogue and not excluding any events is fairly constant except for increased seismicity in the mid 1960s in the southern portion due to the great 1963 mainshock there, and for seismicity quiescence during part of the time period studied within two well defined sections of the arc. The first of these is a volume of 100 km radius around a 1973 (Ms = 7.3) main-shock within which the seismicity rate was demonstrated at the 99% confidence level to have been lower by 50% during 2100 days (5.75 years) before this mainshock. The second volume of seismic quiescence coincides with the 400 km long north Kuriles gap. In this gap the seismicity rate is shown (at the 99% confidence level) to be lower by 50% from 1967 to present (1978), in comparison with the rate within the gap before 1967, as well as with the rate surrounding the gap. We propose that the anomalously low seismicity rate within the Kuriles gap is a precursor to a great earthquake, the occurrence time of which was estimated by the following preliminary relation between precursory quiescence time and source dimension T — 190L 0,545. We predict that an earthquake with source length of 200–400 km (M > 8) will occur along the north Kurile island arc between latitude 45.5°N and 49.2°N at a time between now and 1994.

Key words

Earthquake Prediction Seismicity patterns Tectonics of Kuriles 


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Wyss
    • 1
  • R. E. Habermann
    • 1
  1. 1.Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental SciencesUniversity of Colorado/NOAABoulderUSA

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