Abstract

The Pacific coast, including the Kamchatka Peninsula, the Kuriles, the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Bering Sea, is the main tsunami-prone area in Russia. The Far East tsunamis are much more frequent, extensive, and devastating than those in the Black, Caspian, Baltic, and White Sea coasts, as well as in major inland lakes of Baikal, Ladoga, etc. The tsunami catalog of the Russian Far East from 1737 to present lists 110 events with mainly near-field and few far-field sources (105 and 5 events, respectively). Most of the catalogued tsunamis (95 cases) were induced by earthquakes, and few events had volcanic (3), landsliding (2), meteorological (3), and unknown (2) triggers. Altogether there were eleven devastating tsunamis for the period of observations, with >10 m heights, two of which were great events in 1737 and 1952, when the waves exceeded 20 m. The wave heights were in the range 2.5–10 m in fifteen hazardous tsunami events and within the tidal range (~1–2 m) in thirteen cases; the other events were small and detectable only instrumentally. Thus, the average recurrence times for tsunamis of different magnitudes in the Russian Pacific coast are 25 years for devastating events and 10–15 years for hazardous tsunamis; small tsunamis occur almost every year, according to statistics for the last sixty years collected at the regional network of tide stations. The topics discussed in the paper concern the completeness and reliability of the Far East catalog; distribution of tsunami events in space and time; correlation between the intensity of tsunami and the magnitude of the causative undersea earthquake; tsunami recurrence; tsunami warning; and long-term hazard assessment and mapping.

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