8.8-magnitude earthquake strikes central Chile

February 27, 2010

(ChattahBox) – There have been studies that large distant quakes can weaken other fault zones and cause activity months later, but this happened fast. After a magnitude 7.0 earthquake rattles southern Japanese islands, within hours a massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, collapsing buildings and setting off a tsunami. Telephone and power lines were down, making it difficult to make an early assessment of the damage, but President Michelle Bachelet said there were 78 confirmed deaths and that more were possible.

The quake struck at 3:34 a.m. local time and was centered about 200 miles southwest of Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The epicenter was some 70 miles from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live. In the 2 1/2 hours following the 90-second quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported 11 aftershocks, five of them measuring 6.0 or above. Tsunami warnings were issued over a wide area, including South America, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand, Japan, the Philippines, Russia and many Pacific islands.

Chile has had other massive earthquakes including a magnitude 9.5 earthquake in 1960 in southern Chile with an ensuing tsunami that killed at least 1,700 people.


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