Chilean Earthquake Reaches 8.2 on Richter Scale

Posted on April 22, 2014 by

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Many places located around the Pacific Ocean experience earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Seventy-five percent of the volcanic eruptions and 90% of earthquakes happen around this belt in the Pacific, known as the “Ring of Fire.”  These earthquakes happen because the ring of fire is the area where tectonic plates rub and collide together, causing earthquakes.

The largest earthquake ever recorded was in Chile, which is located on this ring. This earthquake was a 9.5 on the Richter scale. Recently, Chile, which is one of the most earthquake-prone countries, received another large earthquake. The Iquique Province was shaken with this earthquake for 40 seconds on 1 April. This earthquake was an 8.2 on the Richter scale and caused damage to the coast of Chile.

Millions of residents were asked to evacuate the area while landslides damaged roads and houses; power and phone outages also occurred. Fires occurred in many collapsing buildings, and looters even entered abandoned stores.  Besides this, hospitals were evacuated, and three hundred inmates in a women’s prison located in Chile escaped. Although all this damage had been done, only six deaths have so far been reported.

As the night went on, armed forces were dispatched to help the city, and police went on search for the escaped prisoners. Although the damages is being cleaned up, aftershocks continue to threaten the area. These aftershocks reach all the way up to a 6.2 magnitude, and the shock was felt as far away as Bolivia and Peru.

Because of the earthquake and aftershocks, a tsunami warning was issued for the coast of Chile. In the past, enormous tsunamis have occurred in Chile after an earthquake causing more damage than the earthquake itself. So far, waves up to 6 feet high have been seen on shores, worrying the people of Chile. The U.S. National Tsunami Warning Center also has been working hard to determine if any tsunami damage will occur in the United States, such as Hawaii, which has a warning about ocean currents.

Besides the damage that has already been done to Chile, scientists wonder if this was just a foreshock of another earthquake to come. Scientists think that this earthquake was not big enough to release all energy stored on the plates. Large aftershocks, or even a larger earthquake, could occur in Chile, leaving many people on edge for what may come.

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