2006 Kuril Islands earthquake
The 2006 Kuril Islands earthquake was an 8.3 magnitude
Moment magnitude scale
The moment magnitude scale is used by seismologists to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of the energy released. The magnitude is based on the seismic moment of the earthquake, which is equal to the rigidity of the Earth multiplied by the average amount of slip on the fault and the size of...

An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 that hit the Kuril Islands
Kuril Islands
The Kuril Islands , in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, form a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately northeast from Hokkaidō, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands and many more minor rocks. It consists of Greater...

 at 11:14 UTC (8:14pm JST
Japan Standard Time
Japan Standard Time or JST is the standard timezone of Japan, and is 9 hours ahead of UTC. For example, when it is midnight in UTC, it is 09:00 in Japan Standard Time. There is no daylight saving time, though its introduction has been debated several times. Japan Standard Time is the same as...

) on November 15, 2006. A small tsunami
A tsunami is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, typically an ocean or a large lake...

 hit the Japanese northern coast, with a larger wave following earlier small ones, due to reflection. The tsunami crossed the Pacific and did damage in the harbor at Crescent City, CA, USA. This earthquake was the largest earthquake having occurred in the central Kuril Islands since the earthquake in 1915 with an estimated magnitude of about 8. Post-tsunami surveys indicate that the local tsunami in the central Kuril Islands reached runup of 15 meters or more.


At about 11:45 UTC, tsunami warnings were issued in Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 for the north coasts of Hokkaidō
, formerly known as Ezo, Yezo, Yeso, or Yesso, is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectural-level subdivisions. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel...

 and Honshū
is the largest island of Japan. The nation's main island, it is south of Hokkaido across the Tsugaru Strait, north of Shikoku across the Inland Sea, and northeast of Kyushu across the Kanmon Strait...

, and a number of towns in this area were hurriedly evacuated. Tsunami warnings, advisories and watches were also issued for the coastal areas of Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, Hawaii
Hawaii is the newest of the 50 U.S. states , and is the only U.S. state made up entirely of islands. It is the northernmost island group in Polynesia, occupying most of an archipelago in the central Pacific Ocean, southwest of the continental United States, southeast of Japan, and northeast of...

, parts of British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, Washington, Oregon
Oregon is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located on the Pacific coast, with Washington to the north, California to the south, Nevada on the southeast and Idaho to the east. The Columbia and Snake rivers delineate much of Oregon's northern and eastern...

, and California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. JMA initially estimated tsunami waves to be as tall as 2 metres when it hit the Japanese northern and eastern coasts, but it turned out to be merely 40 centimetres when it reached Hanasaki Ko, Nemuro, Nemuro, Hokkaidō at 9:29 pm local time. The tsunami also hit the rest of Hokkaidō and Tōhoku Region
Tohoku region
The is a geographical area of Japan. The region occupies the northeastern portion of Honshu, the largest island of Japan. The region consists of six prefectures : Akita, Aomori, Fukushima, Iwate, Miyagi and Yamagata....

. The tallest wave recorded in Japan was at Tsubota (坪田), Miyakejima
is an island in the Izu group, southeast of Honshū, Japan, administered by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, with an area of 55.50 km². The island, 180 km south of Tokyo, is located at 34.5N and 139.34E. As of January 1, 2006, the population of the island is 2884...

 (三宅島) in the Izu Shotō of the Tokyo To, at 84 centimetres. Tsunami also hit as far as Anami in Kagoshima Prefecture
Kagoshima Prefecture
is a prefecture of Japan located on the island of Kyushu. The capital is the city of Kagoshima.- Geography :Kagoshima Prefecture is located at the southwest tip of Kyushu and includes a chain of islands stretching further to the southwest for a few hundred kilometers...

 and Naha in Okinawa Prefecture
Okinawa Prefecture
is one of Japan's southern prefectures. It consists of hundreds of the Ryukyu Islands in a chain over long, which extends southwest from Kyūshū to Taiwan. Okinawa's capital, Naha, is located in the southern part of Okinawa Island...

, and reached the Hawaiian and California coasts. A 176-centimetre wave in the Crescent City, California
Crescent City, California
Crescent City is the county seat and only incorporated city in Del Norte County, California. Named for the crescent-shaped stretch of sandy beach south of the city, Crescent City had a total population of 7,643 in the 2010 census, up from 4,006 in the 2000 census...

 harbor caused an estimated $10 million in damage to the docks there. The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 authorities had issued warnings for the Russian Far East
Russian Far East
Russian Far East is a term that refers to the Russian part of the Far East, i.e., extreme east parts of Russia, between Lake Baikal in Eastern Siberia and the Pacific Ocean...

, Japan, Wake Island
Wake Island
Wake Island is a coral atoll having a coastline of in the North Pacific Ocean, located about two-thirds of the way from Honolulu west to Guam east. It is an unorganized, unincorporated territory of the United States, administered by the Office of Insular Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior...

 and Midway Atoll
Midway Atoll
Midway Atoll is a atoll in the North Pacific Ocean, near the northwestern end of the Hawaiian archipelago, about one-third of the way between Honolulu, Hawaii, and Tokyo, Japan. Unique among the Hawaiian islands, Midway observes UTC-11 , eleven hours behind Coordinated Universal Time and one hour...


The nearfield tsunami struck islands with no current inhabitants. However, geologists and archaeologists had visited these islands the previous summer, and returned in the summers of 2007 and 2008. Because there were two central Kurils tsunamis in the winter of 2006-2007 (see 2007 Kuril Islands earthquake
2007 Kuril Islands earthquake
The 2007 Kuril Islands earthquake was a great earthquake that occurred east of the Kuril Islands on January 13, 2007 at 1:23 p.m. JST with a magnitude of 8.1 Mw. A tsunami warning was issued following the earthquake, and sea level gauges indicate that a tsunami was generated...

), the specific effects of each tsunami are difficult to determine; evidence is that the 2006 tsunami was the larger on all islands in the Kurils except Matua and parts of Rasshua

See also

  • 1952 Severo-Kurilsk tsunami
    1952 Severo-Kurilsk tsunami
    1952 Severo-Kurilsk Tsunami was a major tsunami that hit Severo-Kurilsk, Kuril Islands, Sakhalin Oblast, Russian SFSR, USSR, which occurred on 5 November 1952 at about 5 a.m...

  • 2007 Kuril Islands earthquake
    2007 Kuril Islands earthquake
    The 2007 Kuril Islands earthquake was a great earthquake that occurred east of the Kuril Islands on January 13, 2007 at 1:23 p.m. JST with a magnitude of 8.1 Mw. A tsunami warning was issued following the earthquake, and sea level gauges indicate that a tsunami was generated...

  • 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
    2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
    The 2011 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku, also known as the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, or the Great East Japan Earthquake, was a magnitude 9.0 undersea megathrust earthquake off the coast of Japan that occurred at 14:46 JST on Friday, 11 March 2011, with the epicenter approximately east...

External links

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