The earthquake was registered in the city of Tongoy (Infobae)
A new tremor shook the streets of the Chilean city of Tongoy, when the earth began to move at 08:11 a.m. (local time) on Wednesday, February 1.
According to preliminary information from the National Seismological Center (CSN), the seismic activity had a magnitude of 3.2 and a depth of 18.0 kilometers.
The exact location of the epicenter was located 62.0 kilometers southwest of the city, with coordinates -72.002 degrees of longitude and -30.602 degrees of latitude.
Remember that in the event of any tremor follow information only from official sources, avoid falling into rumors or false news.
After an earthquake, check your home in search of possible damage, use your cell phone only in an emergency, avoid saturating the telephone lines, do not light matches or candles until you are sure that there is no gas leak. It is important to mention that after a major telluric movement, aftershocks can occur, so it is important to be alert.
An earthquake can occur at any time, so it is important to be prepared with the following measures: prepare a civil protection plan, organize evacuation drills, find safety zones at home, school or workplace and prepare a backpack emergency.
During an earthquake, remain calm and locate yourself in a safe place, stay away from objects that could fall, do not use the elevators, or stay in the stairwell, or in a door frame.
If you’re in a car, park and move away from buildings, trees, and utility poles; if you are on the coast, leave the beach and take refuge in high areas, in case of a tsunami; and if you are in a wheelchair and cannot move to a safe place, brake the wheels and protect your head and neck with your arms.
The most seismic area in the world
Chile is one of the countries with the most seismic activity in the world, this is due to its geographical and geotectonic location, since it is within one of the areas with the greatest release of energy, in the permanent convergence of the “Nazca Plate” and the “South American Plate”, in the so-called subdiction zone.
In addition, the country is located in a region known as the Pacific Ring or Ring of Fire, considered the region with the largest number of volcanoes and tremors on the planet.
This area gathers 75% of the volcanoes that exist in the world and includes more than 450 volcanic structures, not to mention that it is where 90% of the seismic activity occurs worldwide and 81% of the strongest earthquakes on the planet.
The Pacific Ring of Fire, the region with the most seismic and volcanic activity in the world (File)
The Pacific Ring of Fire reaches the entire Pacific coast, starting in Chile, passing through Central America, Mexico, the United States, touring the Aleutian Islands, then down the coasts of Russia, Japan, Taiwan and the Philippines, until it reaches New Zealand.
Some volcanoes that are located in the Pacific Ring of Fire and that have produced significant eruptions with extensive damage on a global scale are: Krakatoa in Indonesia, Mount Fuji in Japan, Mount Santa Elena in the United States, El Chichón in Mexico and the Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia, among others.
Every time a major tremor or eruption occurs in this region, the fear arises that the Pacific Ring of Fire will “activate” leaving more natural disasters in its wake, however, this is not possible, since each earthquake or activity volcanic are mostly independent of each other, that is, they have no direct relationship.
The worst earthquake ever recorded
Since 1570, around a hundred strong earthquakes have occurred in Chile, of which almost thirty were of magnitude greater than 8.
According to the Department of Risk Management in Emergencies and Disasters, on average, an earthquake of more than 8 magnitude occurs every decade. These are some of the most important tremors recorded in the history of Chile.
The strongest earthquake in history
On the afternoon of May 22, 1960, the strongest earthquake on record occurred, with a magnitude of 9.5. Its epicenter was the city of Traiguén, in the province of Malleco. However, it is known as the “Valdivia earthquake” because it was where the most damage occurred.
The telluric movement also caused a tsunami with waves up to 10 meters high that devastated a good part of the south of the country. The tsunami suffered beyond Chile, reaching Asia, in Japan, for example, it was hit by waves six meters high, leaving several deaths and significant damage in its wake.
The strongest earthquake in history occurred in Chile (File)
The last great earthquake
The last major tremor to hit Chile was the one known as “27F” that occurred on February 27, 2010, the second strongest earthquake in its history.
With a magnitude of 8.8, the seismic activity had as its epicenter the coasts of the Maule region and surprised the population during the early hours of the morning.
As in 1960, less than an hour after the earthquake, a tsunami hit the country, mainly in the Maule and Biobío regions. Outside of Chile, the tsunami reached Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Costa Rica, without major damage.
The most recent strong earthquake in Chile occurred in 2010 (Photographic and Digital Archive of the National Library of Chile)
On the night of January 24, 1939, the deadliest earthquake in the history of Chile occurred. An 8.3-magnitude tremor was felt from Valparaíso to Temuco, however, it was in Concepción and Chillán where there was more damage.
This telluric movement was called the Chillán earthquake because it was right there where it caused the most destruction, just to say that more than half of its buildings fell.
In 1939 the deadliest earthquake in Chile occurred (Photographic and Digital Archive of the National Library of Chile).
The 1939 Chillán earthquake is the earthquake that has claimed the most fatalities in Chile. The official number of deaths was 24,000, but some estimate that it was close to 30,000, although only 5,685 were identified.
In addition to the aforementioned earthquakes, there have been other important ones in the history of Chile.
For example, two other telluric activities with a magnitude greater than 8.5 have been recorded, however, these have occurred more than 100 years ago -not counting the aforementioned earthquakes-, according to CSN records.
On the morning of July 8, 1730, an 8.7-magnitude earthquake was recorded in Valparaíso that left around 3,000 dead. Another earthquake, this time of 8.8 magnitude, was felt in Arica on the night of September 16, 1615, which surprisingly left no deaths.
On the other hand, there are two more earthquakes that left a balance of more than 2,000 victims: on the night of May 9, 1877, in Iquique, an 8.5 magnitude earthquake was recorded; and the one on the morning of February 8, 1570, which had a magnitude of 8.3.