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BBC News - Chile's long experience of quakes - 0 views

  • It is not possible to predict the time and magnitude of an earthquake, but certain places on the Earth know they are always at risk from big tremors. Chile is one of those places.

    It lies on the "Ring of Fire", the line of frequent quakes and volcanic eruptions that circles virtually the entire Pacific rim.

    The magnitude 8.8 event that struck the country at 0634GMT on Saturday occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates, just off shore and at a depth of about 35km (20 miles).

  • The Nazca plate, which makes up the Pacific Ocean floor in this region, is being pulled down and under the South American coast.

    It makes the region one of the most seismically active on the globe.

    Since 1973, there have been 13 events of magnitude 7.0 or greater.

  • French and Chilean seismologists had recently completed a study looking at the way the land was moving in response to the strain building up as a result of the tectonic collision. Their analysis suggested the area was ripe for a big quake.

    "This earthquake fills in an identified seismic gap," Dr Roger Musson, who is the British Geological Survey's Head of Seismic Hazard, told BBC News.

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  • "The last major earthquake that occurred in this area was in 1835. This was a famous earthquake observed by Charles Darwin during his voyage on the Beagle. This is a place where the stress has been gathering for 170 years, and finally it's gone in another earthquake that's repeated this famous historical quake."

    As is nearly always the case, the region was hit by a series of aftershocks. In the two and a half hours following the 90-second 8.8 event, the US Geological Survey reported 11 aftershocks, of which five measured 6.0 or above.

  • Saturday's quake was almost 1,000 times more powerful than the one to hit Port-au-Prince in Haiti. But size is not in itself an indicator of the likely number of deaths.

    One major factor which will limit the number of deaths in Chile will be its greater level of preparedness.

    Both the Chilean authorities and the Chilean people are generally well versed in how to cope in such an emergency.

  • The emergency response system is organised at national, regional and local level.

    "Chile is a seismic country. So, we must be prepared!" is the message from Onemi.

Teachers Without Borders

BBC News - Chile quake affects two million, says Bachelet - 0 views

  • Two million people have been affected by the massive earthquake that struck central Chile on Saturday, President Michelle Bachelet has said.
  • The 8.8 quake - one of the biggest ever - triggered a tsunami that has been sweeping across the Pacific, although waves were not as high as predicted.
  • Chile is vulnerable to earthquakes, being situated on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where the Pacific and South American plates meet.

    The earthquake struck at 0634 GMT, 115km (70 miles) north-east of the city of Concepcion and 325km south-west of the capital Santiago at a depth of about 35km. It is the biggest to hit Chile in 50 years.

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  • The US Geological Survey (USGS) has recorded numerous aftershocks, the largest of 6.9 magnitude.
  • As the tsunami radiated across the Pacific, Japan warned that a wave of 3m (10ft) or higher could hit the Pacific coast of its island of Honshu.

    The BBC's Roland Buerk in Tokyo says the waves so far have been small but officials say worse could still be to come.

    The biggest wave so far has been just over one metre.

  • Chile suffered the biggest earthquake of the 20th century when a 9.5 magnitude quake struck the city of Valdivia in 1960, killing 1,655 people.
Teachers Without Borders

1.5 Million Displaced After Chile Quake - - 0 views

  • More than 1.5 million people have displaced by the quake, according to local news services that quoted the director of Chile's emergency management office. In Concepción, which appeared to be especially hard hit, the mayor said Sunday morning that 100 people were trapped under the rubble of a building that had collapsed, according to Reuters.
  • While this earthquake was far stronger than the 7.0-magnitude one that ravaged Haiti six weeks ago, the damage and death toll in Chile are likely to be far less extensive, in part because of strict building codes put in place after devastating earthquakes.
  • Chileans were only just beginning to grapple with the devastation before them, even as more than two dozen significant aftershocks struck the country.
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  • The quake Saturday, tied for the fifth largest in the world since 1900,
  • Chile’s government had not yet requested assistance. All international relief groups were on standby, and the International Federation of Red Crosses and Red Crescents said the Chilean Red Cross indicated that it did not need external assistance at this point.
  • In Talca, 167 miles south of Santiago, almost every home in the center of the city was severely damaged, and on Saturday night, people slept on the streets in the balmy night air near fires built with wood from destroyed homes. All but two of the local hospital’s 13 wings were in ruins, said Claudio Martínez, a doctor at the hospital. “We’re only keeping the people in danger of dying,” he said.

    Dr. Martínez said the hospital staff had tried to take some people to Santiago for treatment in the morning, but the roads were blocked at the time.

  • Cellphone and Internet service was sporadic throughout the country, considered one of the most wired in Latin America, complicating rescue efforts.
  • The earthquake struck at 3:34 a.m. in central Chile, centered roughly 200 miles southwest of Santiago at a depth of 22 miles, the United States Geological Survey reported.
  • The Geological Survey said that another earthquake on Saturday, a 6.3-magnitude quake in northern Argentina, was unrelated. In Salta, Argentina, an 8-year-old boy was killed and two of his friends were injured when a wall collapsed, The Associated Press reported.
  • The most powerful earthquake ever recorded was also in Chile: a 9.5-magnitude quake struck in the spring of 1960 that struck near Concepción and set off a series of deadly tsunamis that killed people as far away as Hawaii and Japan.
  • But that earthquake, which killed nearly 2,000 people and left more than two million homeless at the time, prepared officials and residents in the region for future devastating effects.

    Shortly after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck in Valparaíso in 1985, the country established strict building codes, according to Andre Filiatrault, the director of the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research at the University at Buffalo.

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