Chile — 26 March 2012

We had two separate earthquakes: today and yesterday–both you could say were strong.  Below are some impressions from our publisher and some news taken from various sources.  The Youtube video above is taken from an unknown source.  The guy in the video says “It’s a strong earthquake.”

Today we had a 7.1 earthquake in Talca.  That is 135 miles (218 KM) south of Santiago.

The walls here of my apartment were shaking so hard that I could hear them cracking.  I was laying on the couch.  A picture frame hanging over my head was moving about so much that I thought that it would fall.  The earthquake lasted 45 seconds.  I would describe my mood then as “excited” and not “scared”.

The buildings here are built with reinforced concrete and seismic events are frequent. A few days ago I hung a couple of pictures on the wall using concrete nails so I know how tough are even the interior walls.  Only one building fell down here in the capital in the monster earthquake of two years ago so my building should be O.K.

 Finally today I am hearing people calling this event using the more menacing word “terramoto” and not the more benign word “temblor”.   It seems it has to be a 7 point or higher to be called an “earthquake” and not merely a “tremor” in this country accustomed to seismic events

Here is some news from various sources:

TVN television showed Palestino and Colo-Colo soccer teams playing when the earthquake struck.  Such is the passion for soccer here that play was not interrupted even as the announcers said “there is an earthquake” and added that it was “strong”.   The forward drove for the goal and the goalie blocked the shot.

At first there was a call to evacuate the central coast but that was cancelled.  But now (10:00 PM) there is a call the evacuate the coast as a precaution in the VIIth region (i.e. Maule) because the ocean retreated 40 meters from the coastline.  A geologist on TV explained that there could be a tsunami.  But it need not be a monster sized tsunami.   It could be just one very long protracted ripple.

One person was hurt in a traffic accident in Bio-Bio attributed to the earthquake. An elderly lady was  hurt in Maipú when part of the roof the church in which she was attending mass came down–it was sort of a temporary roof.  And another elderly person died of a heart attack.

Cell phone service is affected due to heavy loads in certain areas to the south.   2,600 are reported without electricity in the metropolitan area because a feeder line is out.

The newspapers today (Monday) are calling this an aftershock from the 8.8 earthquake of February 27, 2010.

 

Yesterday was had a 5.1 Earthquake just 42 miles (68 KM) west of the city in the Casablanca, Valley.

At about 4 oclock in the morning I was awaken to the bed shaking back and forth.  The sliding glass doors were rattling.  There was noise outside.  The event lasted about 90 seconds.  At the end all the dogs in the neighborhood were barking in unison.

Finally, two weeks ago I was in the North of Chile in Iquique when we had a 4.1 earthquake only 15 miles away.  You could hear rattling of the building for a few seconds followed by one stiff jolt.  There are earthquakes here every week it seems of 5 to 6 on the richter scale.  Some of them just sway the apartment back and forth with a gentle motion.  Some you do not feel at all, especially if you are walking.  But that one in Iquique was so close it made its presence known bluntly.

 

Here are some relevant links:

 

USGS 5.1 event page:  http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc0008pgw.php

USGS 7.1 event page: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc0008pwq.php

University of Chile Seismic Service:  http://ssn.dgf.uchile.cl/events/sensibles/2012/03/20120325223705.html

Onemi (National Emergency Center):  http://www.onemi.cl/evento/sismo-de-mayor-intensidad-en-las-regiones-de-valparaiso-metropolitana-ohiggins-maule-biobio-a.html

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