A large earthquake reaching a magnitude of 8.2 stuck off the coast of Chile near the area of Iquique at 20.46 local time on the 2nd of April 2014. It was followed by several violent aftershocks, the largest one to hit was of a magnitude of 7.6 and stuck just over a day later than the original earthquake. due to the epicentre of the earthquake being just of the coast of Chile, a tsunami warning was issued for Chile’s coastline as well as the Pacific ocean and Islands such as Hawaii. many people had to be evacuated from low-lying coastal areas to higher ground as a result. waves hit the coast with a height of around 6 ft which was enough damage some properties but no significant levels of damage as a result of large waves have been reported.
This earthquake is a result of activity on the destructive plate boundary between the Pacific plate and the South American plate which is located along Chile, making Chile vulnerable to large earthquakes. several have occurred in the past which have caused significant damage to people and property including the 9.5 magnitude earthquake that stuck Chile in 1960, killing thousands. However despite the high magnitude of this most recent quake in Chile, very few people have been reported dead as a result; the total at the moment is 6 which have been due to heart attacks or collapsing buildings. this is because as a result of the country’s previous high tectonic activity, the country has learnt to become prepared to deal with the hazards of earthquakes through ways such as efficient emergency responses, strict building regulations and earthquake-proof buildings.
There are still several relatively large aftershocks going on at the moment, however as it stands the damage involves effects from power cuts to landslides that have blocked several roads, which has restricted access to some areas. in another recent earthquake in 2010 there was a large problem with looting and so this time measures have been put in place to reduce this and special forces have been deployed to guard against looting of properties that have been damaged or left abandoned. troops have also been deployed to recapture 300 female prisoners who escaped from a prison when the earthquake struck.
we do not know the long-term implications of this earthquake yet, but there has been a lot of praise for the way that the responses to the earthquake have been coordinated and organised and the evidence is there to suggest that Chile has become a lot more resilient to earthquakes since the last major one in 2010 as the number of deaths is so low, and is a lot less than what people might have initially feared.
all information about the Chilean earthquake has been sourced from the following locations: