Deep and Massive
Earthquakes happen where plates are forced into contact. Deep earthquakes happen at subduction zones where one plate plunges into the mantle. These deep earthquakes are large but less damaging at the surface than other types of quakes.
Amazing But True!
- The largest deep earthquake ever recorded: 374 miles (600 km) deep, M 8.3. The shaking lasted around 5 minutes.
- At the Kuril-Kamchatka Trench, the earthquake was due to subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the North American Plate.
- Some geologists think the plates have subdivided into microplates in this region.
Can You Apply It?
With the links below, learn more about the Sea of Okhotsk Earthquake, 2013. Then answer the following questions.
- Dutchsince, 5/24/2013-8.3M earthquake-Sea of Okhotsk, Russia (video): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hIf0efpGK0E
- Livescience, Earth’s Biggest Deep Earthquake Still a Mystery (article): http://www.livescience.com/39791-biggest-deep-earthquake-a-mystery.html
- Poster of the Sea of Okhotsk Earthquake of 24 May 2013 – Magnitude 8.3 (webpage): http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqarchives/poster/2013/20130524.php
- What is the plate tectonic setting where the earthquake epicenter is?
- Why was the earthquake so deep?
- Why are deep earthquakes less hazardous than shallower ones? Over how great a distance are they felt and why?
- Why is it difficult to understand how earthquakes can take place at such a great depth?
- How might a fluid have caused an earthquake at such a great depth?
- How might a mineral transformation have caused an earthquake at such a great depth? What evidence is there for this to be the right explanation?