Seismotectonics of the Kuril-Kamchatka Arc
The Kuril-Kamchatka Arc extends approximately 2,100 km from Hokkaido, Japan along the Kuril Islands and the Pacific coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula, until terminating at its intersection with the Aleutian arc south of the Commander Islands, Russia. It marks the region where the Pacific plate subducts into the mantle beneath the Okhotsk mircoplate, a proposed regional subdivision of the larger North America plate. This subduction is responsible for the generation of the Kuril Islands chain, volcanoes along the entire arc, and the deep Kuril-Kamchatka Trench. Relative to a fixed North America plate, the Pacific plate is moving northwest at a rate that increases from 79 mm/yr near the northern end of the arc to 83 mm/yr adjacent to Hokkaido.
In the southern section of the Kuril arc oblique subduction results in the partitioning of stress into both trench-normal thrust earthquakes (e.g., the 12/03/1995 M 7.9 Kuril Island event) and trench-parallel strike-slip earthquakes (e.g., the 10/16/1994 M 6.7 Kuril Island event). This oblique convergence also drives the southwestern translation of the Kuril Arc, and its collision with the Japan Arc. The collision in turn drives the uplift of the Hidaka Mountains, and causes northwest-southeast oriented compressional earthquakes across Hokkaido.
Culled from earthquake.usgs.gov