Chile 8.8 Earthquake Sends Tsunami Barreling Towards Hawaii!
February 27, 2010 Leave a comment
A massive earthquake has devastated Chile killing at least 78 people and sending a tsunami as fast a JET PLANE sweeping across the globe.
Tsunami warnings have been issued in 53 nations, including Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Antarctica and Australia.
British experts said a tsunami was now spreading from the epicentre in Chile towards the famous Easter Islands and then on towards Hawaii. The extent of the tsunami’s strength is not yet known, but it has already reached the southern Juan Fernandez Islands, about 400 miles off the coast of Chile, where it was reported to have caused “serious damage”.
A local resident from the city of Temuco said after the disaster: “Never in my life have I experienced a quake like this, it’s like the end of the world.”
The US Geological Survey said the earthquake struck 56 miles northeast of the city of Concepcion at a depth of 22 miles at 3:34 am. Chilean television and radio stations said several buildings collapsed in the city of Curico and that there was damage to buildings in the historic center of the capital Santiago, about 200 miles north of the epicenter. The capital’s international airport was forced to close, a highway bridge collapsed and chunks of buildings fell into the street. Television pictures showed cars crushed when part of a multi-storey parking garage collapsed. Broken glass and masonry were strewn across roads in Santiago and several strong aftershocks rattled jittery residents in the hours after the initial quake.
There were blackouts in parts of Santiago and communications were still down in the area closest to the epicenter. Emergency officials said buildings in the historic quarters of two southern cities had been badly damaged. An earthquake of magnitude 8 or over can cause “tremendous damage,” the USGS says. The quake that devastated Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince on January 12 was measured as magnitude 7.0.
Chile is at high risk of earthquakes because it lies on the boundary between the Pacific plate and the South American plate. The latest quake happened after the Pacific plate pushed down on to the South American plate. According to seismologists, there is usually around one quake of a magnitude of eight a year while one reaching 8.8 would only be expected every few years.
Dr Brian Baptie of the British Geological Survey said: “In global terms this is a very rare quake.
“Chile has experienced some very big quakes in the past.
“It was about 124 miles north east of the largest earthquake ever recorded – 9.5 – in 1960, which resulted in a destructive tsunami that killed many thousands of people around the Pacific.”
He said a 1.3m tsunami wave was observed at Valparaiso, 124 miles north of the epicentre, about 20 minutes after the earthquake.
“Tsunami waves in the deep ocean travel about the same speed as a jet plane and would take about 15 hours to reach Hawaii and about 20 hours to reach the other side of the Pacific,” he added.