2010 Chilean Earthquake

The Chilean earthquake occurred on February 27, 2010. It registered 8.8 on the moment magnitude scale. The earthquake was caused by the Nazca and South American Plates converging. Thrust-faulting by the South American Plate as it overrides the Nazca Plate created the megathrust earthquake.

2010 Chilean Earthquake, USGS

2010 Earthquake in Chile USGS

Length of fault line rupture
The rocks ruptured along the fault line for 430 miles. The rocks moved 30 feet during the earthquake. It was the strongest quake to hit the region since the Chilean Valparaiso earthquake in 1960. That earthquake registered 9.5 on the moment magnitude scale and is the largest ever recorded on seismographs.

Movement of Conception, Chile
GPS data indicated that the entire city of Conception, Chile moved westward 10 feet. The country's capitol, Santiago moved 10 inches westward. Waves in Lake Pontchartrain just north of New Orleans were caused by the earthquake 4,700 miles away.

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More powerful than Haitian earthquake
Eighty percent of the people living in Chile experienced severe shaking. The earthquake is estimated to be between 300 and 500 times more powerful than the Haitian earthquake. Chile has strict earthquake building codes that saved many people's lives.

Falling buildings deadly during an earthquake
There is a saying about earthquakes. Buildings kill people not earthquakes. Even so, the earthquake was so powerful it damaged 370,000 homes and 486 people died. It was the strongest earthquake worldwide since the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake.

More Pacific Ring of Fire Links

Island Arcs  Island arcs are a string of volcanic islands in the ocean. Find out more about these islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Strike Slip Fault Learn more about strike slip faults that are boundaries between crustal plates including the San Andreas Fault.

Subduction Zones Find out why the Pacific Ring of Fire has so many subduction zones. 

Aleutian Trench Learn more about this long trench which parallels the Aleutian Islands.

Tectonic Plate Movement Find out about tectonic plate movement and how it relates to the Theory of Plate Tectonics.

2010 Chilean Earthquake Another megathrust earthquake struck Chile in 2010. Find out why these earthquakes occur so frequently there.

Pacific Ring of Fire Learn more about the Ring of Fire which is home to towering volcanoes and great earthquakes.

Kids Fun Science The links on our home page include information about volcanoes, science activities, plate tectonics, the rock cycle and much more.

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