8.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Chile

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A massive 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, collapsing buildings, killing at least 76 people and downing phone lines. President Michele Bachelet declared a “state of catastrophe” in central Chile and said the death toll was rising.

Tsunami warnings were issued over a wide area, including Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Antarctica and as far away as Australia.

The quake hit 200 miles (325 kilometers) southwest of the capital, Santiago, at a depth of 22 miles (35 kilometers) at 3:34 a.m. (0634 GMT; 1:34 a.m. EST), the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The epicenter was just 70 miles (115 kilometers) from Concepcion, Chile’s second-largest city, where more than 200,000 people live along the Bio Bio river, and 60 miles from the ski town of Chillan, a gateway to Andean ski resorts that was destroyed in a 1939 earthquake.

In Santiago, the capital, modern buildings are built to withstand earthquakes, but many older ones were heavily damaged, including the Nuestra Senora de la Providencia church, whose bell tower collapsed. An apartment building’s two-level parking lot also flattened onto the ground floor, smashing about 50 cars whose alarms and horns rang incessantly. A bridge just outside the capital also collapsed, and at least one car flipped upside down.

The largest earthquake ever recorded struck the same area of Chile on May 22, 1960. The magnitude-9.5 quake killed 1,655 people and left 2 million homeless. The tsunami that it caused killed people in Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines and caused damage to the west coast of the United States.

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14 Responses to 8.8 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Chile

  1. feminazi says:

    8.8? My God that’s a big quake.

  2. Seabec says:

    My best friend is in Honolulu and he just emailed to say the beach at Waikiki is closed out of concerns for a possible tsunami.

    The energy released in an 8.8 earthquake is about the same as 8 atomic bombs detonated at one time.

  3. Tiny Dancer says:

    Telemundo news coverage is much better than the blathering on cable. Luckily, I speak Spanish so I am able to listen.

    According to Telemundo, tsunami warnings have been issued for 53 countries. The death toll is over 200 and climbing.

  4. Harry says:

    Reuters: “California warns its coastal cities to prepare for possible tsunami waves after Chile quake.” I’m in San Diego and I’m worried.

  5. Tiny Dancer says:

    Again, from Telemundo. Chilean 8.8 earthquake is 7th biggest quake since 1700.

    Tsunami warnings extended to Japan and the east coast of Russia. All beaches in Hawaii are closed.

  6. Pechanga says:

    Tiny Dancer,

    So the epicenter isn’t in Santiago as they keep saying on MSNBC and CNN but, in Conception? How large a city is Conception?

    I hope the buildings there are built to some level of earthquake readiness.

  7. Brigadoon says:

    Jeez. In the past 8 weeks, Haiti, Japan and now Chile have experienced huge earthquakes. The Pacific Rim of Fire is on the move and taking no hostages. I am trying to get the CBN feed out of Toronto. BBC isn’t broadcast here until 6PM.

  8. Matteo says:

    Contrary to what CNN’s Rick Sanchez is erroneously reporting, the earthquake did not happen in the Santiago area. If you have friends or family in Chile, the epicenter is Concepcion.


    The 8.8 magnitude quake struck at 0634 GMT about 115km (70 miles) north-east of the city of Concepcion and 325km south-west of the capital, Santiago.

    President Michelle Bachelet declared a “state of catastrophe” in affected areas and appealed for calm.

    A tsumami set off by the quake has triggered warnings in Pacific countries from Japan to New Zealand.

    Sirens warned people to move to higher ground in French Polynesia and Hawaii.

  9. retahyajyajav says:

    This is so huge and such a tragedy.

    My heart goes out to the people of Chile. I hope the number of dead and injured turns out to be small and nothing like Port au Prince.

  10. Yaima says:

    Hello from Argentina. I read your tweet about the Chile earthquake and I wanted to make you aware of a Magnitude 6.3 quake hits Argentina, centered near Salta. The US Geological Survey reports not knowing of this fault line. We are very scared and afraid of more quake movement.

  11. R.J. says:

    I’m in the San Diego area but I’m not worried. Reports indicate the waves will be about 4ft higher than normal. Unless you live right on the water everything will be fine.

    I’m really concerned about that Chilean earthquake. The data reported it was a shallow quake, meaning a lot more energy than normal shook the surface.

  12. Estacada says:

    The tsunami is expected to hit Hawaii at 4p.m. EST.

    All the beaches in the islands are now closed and will not reopen until tomorrow. People living near the ocean are being told to move inland at least 3 miles.

    This is a serious event. I’m worried about Hawaii.

  13. Chad Lebanon says:

    Looks just like the freeway in Oakland after the 1989 Loma Prieta rattled the Bay Area.

  14. Adirondacky says:

    So much seismic activity of late. Haiti is struck by a 7.0 earthquake. Then, Japan is hit by a 7.0 earthquake last Friday night. Now, Chile gets flattened massive 8.8 earthquake. It’s scary and I hope this doesn’t mean a new rash of earthquake events. The planet is so crowded now.

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