Earthquake in Chile – what were the effects?

A large earthquake hit Chile on the 27th of February 2010, where the Nazca plate is being subducted under the South American plate. At 8.8, it was one of the strongest ever recorded on the Moment Magnitude Scale, which has replaced the Richter Scale as a means of measuring the intensity of earthquakes (details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moment_magnitude_scale & here: https://dlgb.wordpress.com/2008/02/27/why-the-richter-scale-is-wrong/).

An outline of the event can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Chile_earthquake

Initial reports gave the time and scale of the earthquake: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8540321.stm

The earthquake damaged roads and other communication infrastructure: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8540754.stm, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8540353.stm

The humanitarian response was rapid and global: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanitarian_response_to_the_2010_Chile_earthquake, but the need for help is less than that required by Haiti, despite the fact that the earthquake was stronger.

The reasons for this include: the infrastructure and levels of development in Chile are much higher than those in Haiti, meaning that the damage is less and that the country is better placed to respond. Also, the earthquake occurred further from centres of population than the Haiti earthquake did. It was also a deeper earthquake, allowing more energy to dissipate before reaching inhabited areas. There are more details about this here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8543324.stm

Initially there was some looting: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8541724.stm, but authorities were quick to take control in most areas, although other areas experienced more unrest than others: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8544608.stm

The intense shaking was caught on CCTV cameras: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8540891.stm

Initially there were fears that the earthquake would cause a very damaging tsunami, but the impact was less than was feared: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8541833.stm and warnings were later lifted: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8540742.stm. There was anger that a warning had not been issued in time to help those most likely to be affected by a tsunami in Chile, leading to the sacking of the head of Chile’s oceanographic service.

For those involved, the earthquake has been a real tragedy and rebuilding is expected to take years: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8550140.stm, but many are left feeling lucky that the impact of such a large earthquake has not been greater: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8541410.stm

Chile is a country with a history of earthquakes, nevertheless, big earthquakes still cause considerable damage, like this one in November 2007: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7094999.stm and one in 1960, which is the most powerful ever recorded: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960_Valdivia_earthquake

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